Dressing as a Petite Woman

At a petite 5ft 2″ I’ve always struggled when it comes to clothes shopping. Recently I went shopping and failed to buy anything in the four highstreet shops I visited – the clothes were either too long in the arms, too long in length or too boxy for my small frame.

The outfits left me feeling like I was wearing someone else’s clothes. Someone’s hand me downs you used to get as a child that never really fitted right.

Tips for shopping

Shop at places that specialise in petite clothing. Not all places offer this (yet?) and there is only one store in my home town that currently does which is Dorothy Perkins but the selection is rather limited in my local store.

If you’re after a list of petite clothing stores in the UK, I’d highly recommend Alice’s post Petite Fashion: The Best Stores for Short Ladies.

Outside of my home town I have found some good options in Debenhams petite range and I like Primark’s jeans that come in a 28″ leg length! That hits just below my ankle.

Fit for a small frame.

I’ve read that for most people the hem of your top should end around the mid hip and not too far past the crouch of your bottoms. Which elongates your leg line.

When wearing separates, fashion experts advice that your bottoms should cover 2/3 of your body and tops cover the remaining 1/3. Preventing you from ending up with a shorter silhouette.

Here’s a photo for comparison.

Both of these tops were in size 10 but I think I could have sized down in the petite range.

The photo on the right is a regular sized top and the other is the same top but in a petite fit – can you see the difference the length makes?

Sleeve length is also an important factor and most fashion experts believe sleeves should end above your wrist – not like the photo below! Unfortunately I couldn’t find this photo in the petite range for a comparison.

V-shaped necklines are your friend.

Not only great for bustier women, v-neck tops help elongate your neck making them great for petite women.

Colour matching

If you want to appear taller try matching your shoes to either your skin tone or the colour of your tights. This makes your legs look longer as it is continuing the vertical line of your pants.

The same can also be said for belts although I love using them for a pop of colour.

Figure-conscious Vs. baggy clothing.

Too avoid looking drowned in your clothes or like you’ve raided someone else’s wardrobe(!), try to avoid a baggy fit. This will hide your petite frame and make you appear shorter and wider than you are.

I hope these tips helped! Please share any others you have for dressing as a petite woman?


  • Helen C

    September 15, 2018 at 08:45

    Very interesting post Kim, a lot of thought and time has gone into it. I think Dorothy Perkins is a great shop because they provide clothes for all shapes and sizes. Maybe you could do a click and collect at your local store for more choice? Next, Topshop and M&S can also be good for different frames. I’m very tall and my general day to day style is leggings, a dress and boots. For me I find it hard to get shoes to fit sometimes, and boots are much easier. I like hearing what Gok Wan has to say on body shapes/frames because he’s very good at styling women. He has some books out which are helpful too. 🙂 xx

    Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

    1. Kim

      September 15, 2018 at 09:22

      Thanks for the idea Helen – I can’t believe I didn’t think of click and collect! Lol. I used to follow Gok Wan’s show ‘How to Look Good Naked’, and found it very inspiring. I’ll have to check out some of his books, thanks for the recommendation and I’ll also try looking in M&S.

  • October’s Lallu

    September 13, 2018 at 08:06

    As a petite woman myself, I know how it feels when you don’t find the perfect match! Thank you SO much for sharing these amazing tips =) I’ll keep them in my mind <3

    1. Kim

      September 15, 2018 at 09:30

      Thanks for your comment. I’m happy to hear you found it helpful. x

  • Entertainingly Nerdy

    September 12, 2018 at 17:32

    I can relate to this too. I’m 5ft 2″ also and I tend to not shop anymore because it’s always hard finding things that actually fit right.

    1. Kim

      September 15, 2018 at 09:12

      I know what you mean! I get tired of going into stores trying on a load of clothes but never being able to buy anything.

  • Bexa

    September 12, 2018 at 11:00

    I can definitely relate to this! I’m 5 ft 5” and sometimes shop in the petite range too. That’s such a great tip about avoiding baggy clothes, I’ve noticed that when I wear skinny jeans and a fitted top I do look a bit taller. Thank you for sharing your advice, also the red and black flowery top is so pretty and really suits you in petite <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Kim

      September 15, 2018 at 09:11

      Thank you! I didn’t end up buying it as they didn’t have the smaller size in petites, but I’m going to cheap checking back.

  • Michelle

    September 11, 2018 at 21:54

    Also it’s harder with pants as I always have to get them hemmed :/ It does drain the wallet but alas, dressing your size and your body type does wonders.

    1. Kim

      September 15, 2018 at 09:10

      Definitely, I always find it funny how some manufacturer’s charge more for less material. 😅

  • Joy abou zeid

    September 11, 2018 at 19:45

    Nice post, so helpful!! I am tall but my bestfriend is petite!!

    1. Kim

      September 15, 2018 at 09:09

      Thank you. 😊 I’m glad you found it helpful.

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