Petites usually run into a few different fit issues, but what tops the list? If you’re petite like me, you know that inseams are probably your biggest enemy when it comes to clothing! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in front of a dressing room mirror laughing at how long a pair of pants were on my 5’3” frame. But why is the right length important? How do I find my own petite inseam? Here are some helpful tips for finding the inseam that's perfect for you.

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What is an Inseam & Why Does it Matter?

Inseam is the measured length that runs from the crotch to the hem of a garment—this can be a pair of pants, shorts, or anything with a “bottom” attached, like jumpsuits or overalls. Getting the inseam right is especially important for a petite stature because the most common problem we run into is finding the correct length.  You try to cuff or fold the excess material to make it better, but that often makes things a bit too chunky at the hem, further shortening your legs because they end up cut off by the bulk.

When you wear something with the right inseam, everything changes. You look taller and just so much more sleek and put-together when you wear clothes that fit well. Petite options are specifically made with our proportions in mind and Short Story carries a wide range of inseams to choose from for the best fit!

How Do You Measure Your Inseam?

No idea what your inseam is? Don’t worry, I didn’t know mine for the longest time because I was so used to settling for anything that didn’t drown me too badly. That is until I tried on my first pair of petite pants which was a total gamechanger!

In order to get your inseam, you’ll need a soft measuring tape and a friend if possible because you’ll get a more accurate measurement with the extra help. Hold the top of the measuring tape at the top of your inner thigh and without pulling it, check the number that hits at your ankle bone. The average inseam for petites is about 26”, but that can vary depending on your height, your proportions, and the type of bottom you're wearing.

Petite Stylist Tip: If you are finding it hard to measure your inseam on yourself, select of pair of jeans that already fit well lengthwise. Lay those jeans flat and use a soft measuring tape to measure the inseam from the crotch to the hem  

Skinny & Straight

Once you have your inseam, keep in mind that the inseam of a garment will also depend on the style and silhouette. This is important in getting the most flattering fit and look. For skinny and straight legs, look for an inseam that’s just about the same as your measured inseam for the best fit so that you don’t have anything bunching up at the hem. I personally like to find a pair an inch above so I can really show off my cute shoe collection.

Plus, these silhouettes are so flattering. With the right inseam, skinny and straight styles will smoothly run down your legs, creating a streamlined look that compliments petite frames!

Boyfriend & Cropped

One of the best things about boyfriend jeans is that you have more flexibility with the inseam since they’re styled folded or cuffed. The inseam still matters though! You want boyfriend jeans to hit about 3” above your ankle for the most flattering look. Cropped pants usually look best with a similar length to boyfriend jeans so that the length looks intentional. However, they can still look great a little longer. Plus, cropped pants that flare out at the hem do wonders for balancing out wider hips.

Go too short and that's considered an ideal capri-length. But go too long and you look like you're wearing a pair of unfortunately shrunken pants. To avoid looking like they’re just pants you forget to take out of the dryer, be mindful of the silhouette in comparison to the inseam.

Bootcut & Flares

While petite tend to run from these wider silhouettes thinking they’re too overwhelming, they are absolutely amazing at helping create the illusion of a taller frame! When shopping for these styles, you’ll usually find that they’re about 2 to 3 inches longer than your usual skinny or straight-leg inseam. This is because bootcut and flares are made to accommodate heels!

To get the most length out of these styles, always try to style these wider silhouettes with some sort of heel, no matter how short. Flatforms are great options too! Avoid buying bootcut or flares that you’re going to need to hem. This will take away from the shape of the leg which can completely change the style and look you’re going for.

Your inseam no longer has to be your biggest obstacle when selecting pieces that fit. Finding petite options shouldn't be hard and we here at Short Story are making it our mission to help solve common petite fit issues. We all deserve great fitting clothes no matter our size or height!

Want us to help you find inseams that flatter you? Request your next Short Story box today and we will send petite styles your way!

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