Shopping isn’t always easy when you’re petite. Bottoms and sleeves are too long. Mini dresses end up looking like midi dresses. Sometimes even the smallest size ends up too big for you. But it’s not all bad – as long as you know where to shop. I’ve put together this petite shopping guide with the go-to stores and brands I’ve discovered after years of trial and error.
Stores With Petite Lines
This may seem really obvious, but I’ve met a surprising amount of women who don’t know that some stores have petite lines. My favourite is Topshop, because I like Topshop’s style in general and they have a good denim selection. Tip: if you’re a bit taller (5’2 or over) and you can’t find the jeans you like in petite, the regular size in 30 length should work too. I also find their regular sized crop tops are pretty short, I have a couple that end right at my waist and I have a shorter torso.
Wearing a Topshop petite bomber jacket & jeans
Other stores that have petite lines are Asos, J Crew, Anthropologie, Express, and Banana Republic. There are also some stores in other countries with petite lines, like Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins in the UK. The ones I mentioned are more or less international. If we have them here in Canada, they’ve most likely expanded into other parts of the world too. Apologies if they’re not in your country, but maybe I’ve given you an idea for your next vacation.
Stores and brands from Asia and Europe tend to cut their clothes smaller than American brands. I know a girl who’s 5′ with size 4 shoes who specifically goes to Korea to stock up on clothes. Well, that might not always be an option but in most major cities it’s not hard to find a Zara or H&M. These stores are better for tops/mini skirts/shorts. Their pants tend to be cut longer, though I’ve had some lucky finds at Bershka and H&M that fit me perfectly.
Wearing an Aliexpress jacket & shorts
I’ve also found some great stuff on Aliexpress. Just make sure you measure yourself before you order! A lot of their shoe stores carry small sizes (starting from size 4) which is great if you have small feet. The only downside is that shipping can take a while, but it’s worth it when you receive something that fits well and was very affordable.
The Girl’s Section
This might not work for everyone, but if you’re extra petite you can shop in the girl’s section. It’s cheaper too! I’m a bit too curvy to pull this off (I know I’m no Beyonce, but my butt is too big for girl’s clothes) but I know some petite women who can comfortably fit in the bigger sizes from the girl’s section at Zara.
Manipulating Regular Clothes
Sometimes petite versions aren’t always available, and that’s fine. I definitely don’t get all my clothes in petite cuts because even though my local Topshop petite department is pretty big, sometimes I want more. And you shouldn’t feel too limited! I think pants are the most important things to get from the petite section, but most other things can be easily manipulated.
If a top is slightly big, it’s as easy as tucking it in for some extra shape. Some things work out perfectly like crop tops that end up a perfect regular length or ultra mini skirts/short shorts that are a decent length on you.
For me the worst case scenario is getting clothes altered. The last thing I want to do is run another errand. Sometimes you can get away with doing it yourself though, even if you’re not super crafty. I’m definitely not. Get a pair of fabric scissors so you can hem things yourself. Depending on the fabric just a cut can be sufficient – the red suede dress in the photo above used to be an awkward knee length, so I just cut it a bit shorter.
Another easy trick for dresses is simply sewing the straps up. That’s what I did for the slip dress above (created a loop to shorten them and then sewed over it) so none of the pretty print got cut off.
Thanks for reading! Hope you found this helpful and let me know if I missed any other petite-friendly places to shop.