Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Super Petite

It occured to me today that most people wear clothes to cover themselves. You try on jeans, they fit okay, and you buy them. You try on shoes, they fit, you buy them. I could at this point go on a tirade and say, "IF ONLY I HAD THE LUXURY TO SIMPLY FIND THINGS THAT FIT!" but in all honesty, there are more things that fit me than I actually buy.

The reason is that I buy clothes that not only "fit" me, but also fit my body type. I know I am very short (4'10"!) and very slender. I'm in proportion, but because I am so thin, I have a VERY difficult time finding pants, jackets, and shoes that fit. I'm assuming there are other girls out there with my same problem! So, I thought I'd make a list of basics for super petites and squash some rumors about what you should and shouldn't wear to make the most out of your height.


The most important things to keep in mind with tops is the length and fullness. Either keep tops shorter (an inch or so past the top of your pants) or long (tunics that go to the bottom of your butt). I know long tank tops are in style now, but they do make us shorties look shorter because of the horizontal hem cutting our body line in half! In general, stay away from fuller tops. You want a balanced look on top and bottom so if you want a big fluttery top, wear a thin belt around your natural waist to pull the weight back in. Above all, you want the attention to go upward to your face, not down to short-looking legs.

Good examples

Bad example

Keep jackets to a "cropped" or "petite" length. This will help keep your torso in proportion and you don't lose your leg line. A jacket too long will make your legs look short and a long torso and short legs makes you look even shorter, but a nice-fitting jacket will make you look clean, professional, and put together.

Good example

Bad example

Dresses should either be short or floor-length. Empire waistlines will give you added height, as well as any vertical lines in pattern or fabric draping. Just beware of too much fullness. Sheath and A-line dresses are always a good standby. Always go for a natural waistline over a dropped waist. Never wear a pattern where the main element is larger than your fist, but solids always look good.

Good examples

Bad example

Petite girls are lucky in that they can wear more styles of pants, but keep in mind balance. Try to stay away from a large flare in a light wash, since this will bring the visual focus downward. A light-colored skinny jean with a heel is okay, but darker, slimmer pant cuts are always a safer bet. Thin or wide straight-leg pants are good. For jeans, try to find one where the knee break is higher so your legs look longer. Go with either a very high waist or a low rise. Keep the length past your ankle, always!

Good examples

Bad examples

Finally, keep a closet of good heels with some killer ball-of-foot and heel cusions. Heels always look good on short girls, plus we don't have to worry about being TOO tall like tall girls do. I have size 4 feet (actually more like 3.5) in womens and wear size 2 in kids and excellent stores for small feet are Nordstrom,,, and Cinderella of Boston. For flats, I recommend the girls' section at Payless. They are actually pretty comfy and some styles are exactly the same as womens. Some styles do run a bit big, so try them on at the store but I usually fit a 1.5 there.

I hope this helps any of the shorter petite girls out there when they are out looking for what style of jean to buy or if they are getting a new jacket. Just keep in mind, you want the attention to go up, not down, and you don't want too much bulk. All of the examples are from which just goes to show you that many shapes are popular now, but not all are flattering! Now, some rules are meant to be broken but keep this general guideline in your head the next time you are in that fitting room. Good luck shopping!


  1. thanks for the advices! it's always good to keep this kind of things in mind while we're shopping to choose the outfits that will fit us the best =)
    i'm about 168 cm (is it 5'6?).do you think i can take these advices too for a taller look?

  2. oh my! this is exactly what I needed, being about 5'... Thanks HEAPS Jen. To be honest, before you4r revealed your height on soompi, I always thought you were tall from your pics! (which is a really good thing)I'm going to try and put these tips to use. I'm just wondering, what do you think of babydoll tops? I quite like them... but I dunno what they do for a shorty lol.
    thanks <3

    @cherrygirl: 168cm is quite tall lol. Lucky!

  3. Thanks for posting this! I'm five feet short, really thin (but proportional), and always have a hard time finding clothes that fit.

    Where do you get your jeans at? I've been on a never-ending quest to find jeans I can wear with flats.

    Also, I think it would be really helpful for us petite girls to list our fav places to shop at!

    I usually buy tops/dresses from Forever 21-type places, although their sizes seem to be getting bigger and bigger every year.

    abercrombie kids/ruehl/hollister is good for denim skirts and shorts.

    Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's sells designer denim (7, True Religion) in girl's sizes.

    Armani Exchange has nice jackets in XS.

  4. OMG jen you are SO AMAZING! I LOVE YOU so much for doing this! even though I'm not short (5'4 and 1/2) I just love how you totally know what you're talking about! this is such a smart post and I hope all the shorties out there listen!! it always irks me when i see a petite girl walkin around trying to do the layered tank top look with LONG ass tanks and shorts, omg they look like they have super short legs and a reeeeally long torso (not a good thing,. unless you're a supermodel with the matching long legs!) i especially love the good examples and bad examples, super informative. you go, jen!!!

  5. thank you! :) super helpful. i'm going to save it.

    do you think some necklaces/jewelry can help?

  6. thanks for the advice! :) i'm short too and this helps a lot.

    btw, where is this dress? is it still available to buy? it is super cute!


  7. Hey Jen, I didn't realize that you were 4'10! You pull it off great even in your full body pics (in Myspace)! I used to tell people I was 5 feet but in reality I am 4'11 lol because we all know that "4'10 is technically a midget" UGH, I hear that a lot from retarded boys. You have made me feel so good and confident about my height (there are so many of us shorties out there and there's nothing to be embarrassed about).

    I loved your tips and I wish I had a body type like yours!!! Instead I am curvy and busty (34D at 4'11 imagine that) :( The only thing that looks good on me seem to be the empire babydoll tops. Anyway, kudos for a wonderful blog!!

    Also, one added tip: because us petites are small, it's important to always WEAR SMALL PRINTS as well as carry SMALL bags! Small accessories are always a good idea too.

  8. oh, someone mentioned about accessories & bags. What do you think is good for petites in those departments. Thanks muchie!

    And I just had a question,
    would you consider this top a good length for petite girls?

    It kinda reminds me of this
    is this gd or not? I think its so cute haha!
    Thanks <3

  9. cherrygirl: absolutely! you can use any of this advice if you want to look taller, no matter what height you are. :)

    lilsweetkaz: Yes, I think it's funny how I look taller in pictures, but it's all about proportion and dressing while being aware of yourself. Haha. Babydoll tops are okay as long as they aren't too long or too full. Like I mentioned before, keep top lengths to the top of your hip or the bottom of your butt. The example pic you asked about, the length is OKAY but an inch or two would be better. See how the white hem cuts straight across her hips against the black jeans? It's that in-between length that we have to be careful about. :P

    aquadisia: I get my jeans at abercrombie kids mainly, but I do have one magic pair from wet seal (a 00 that ran small). I get most my tops from f21 and my basics at af or af kids because they run skinny, but their style is a bit boring don't you think? And actually, there are some stylish dressy jackets in the kids department at Macy's.

    tiff: Haha. Can you believe "petite" is technically 5'4" and under? That's half of all (if not most) women! Thanks girl. :)

    plee: Long necklaces are good for elongating your body, but stay away from chunky, shorter necklaces. They can overwhelm a small frame. Feel free to rock some big earrings though! Just keep it to one big thing. If you have big earrings, wear a modest necklace or none at all. Big necklace, wear studs. And for nicer jewelry, a shorter, thinner chain always looks nice.

    Anonymous: I love that dress! You can get that dress at but I can't seem to find it. It must've sold out since I posted.

    Lilli: Petite Pride! My fiance is 6'1" (hehe) and I think the person inside is much bigger than one's stature. I used to say I was 4'11" and my driver's license says 5' but the doctor always says I am 4'10" flat footed. I'm probably more like 4'10.5" but who's counting. ;P

    With being small and busty, I recommend you try wearing a collared button-up with a high-waisted thin belt. Halter tops also look better with bigger boobs too. And cropped cardigans! I bet the currently popular safari-style button up dresses look great on you, not to mention wrap dresses. Don't worry, you aren't stuck with just babydolls!

    And I agree with the prints and bags. Like I said in my post, never wear a print bigger than your fist and keep bags proportionate. That means small handbags, and our slouchy hobos are actually medium-sized. They just look large when we wear them. It's okay to wear a "large bag" as long as it's actually medium-sized. Maybe I'll do a post just on accessorizing so you can see what I mean about the petite's "large bag."

  10. Hi Jen!

    I'm drawing portraits of other bloggers. You can see one previous drawing on my blog. Would you like me to draw you?

    Contact me if you are interested. Also, tell me what picture you would like me to use as reference.

  11. Hey,Jen

    You're so lucky that your slim and in proportion. I'm 5'0 but my body is not in proportion cause my thighs are the largest part of my body. Any advice what kind of jeans I could wear?

  12. can you do a post about how your skin cleared up after taking meds? I'd really appreciate it--what products worked for you? And does oral medication really clear your skin up? what are the side effects?

  13. your blog has inspired me to take better care of myself. yay for jen! :)

  14. anonymous 1: I would recommend a pair of dark denim that is a trouser fit, as in going straight down from from your hips/thighs. Wearing this with heels will create a long leg line. You can also wear a bootcut jean, but I would avoid getting anything TOO narrow like skinnies or anything too light. Keept it simple and dark.

    Anonymous 2: Sure, I will try to dig up my deep, dark past and post about it. :P

  15. Omg I love this post!!! Thanks so muuuch for the tip!! And definately like what others said, I never would've thought you were only 4' 10"!!! I'm 4' 10.5" too (even though I also put 5' on my license, lols), and I've always had the hardest time finding clothes that FIT!! x_x I usually shop at some of the places you listed (mainly A&F and a&f kids), and although I do manage to find shirts that fit, pants are still a huge problem to find!!! I've found that a lot of times kid's pants just don't fit me properly and junior pants are usually too large (unless I get lucky and find a 00 that runs small). With kids pants I've commonly ran into the problems of A) Length is perfect, but the width is too large (especially in the butt area usually) B) The overall pants fit, but the length is TOO short C) The legs fit, but the hips and waist are too tight. =S And also, could you recommend any places that sells dress pants that actually fits and doesn't need drastic alterations? Currently I don't own any pairs of dress pants which I'm in dire need of because I simply can't find any that fits. =\

  16. Thanks for this! This is really informative and refreshing. I'm super petite also and have an extremely long torso and short legs. So I can't wear shirts that are too long or long capris.

  17. I was wondering if you could recommend some good ball-of-foot and heel cushions =)

  18. 雪雪: I think we may be close to the same size! I think I was once measured at 4'10-and-1/3 completely flat-footed but those darn doctor's office things always tell me 4'10". My driver's license still says 5' too. For dress pants, there is no one place that is good, sadly. I have one pair I found at Marshall's and hemmed, one from Frankie B in a size 0, and maybe one from bebe. I'd try looking at wet seal in case they happen to have a 00 that fits right. Until then, maybe stick to office skirts since they are easier to fit or taper. I've had lots of luck with forever 21's pencil skirts in xs. Oh, and for the record I wear 12 slim or 10 at af kids but even there I have to try on every single style to maybe find one that fits right. I feel your pain girlie. If you want, I can keep an eye out for you and post items you might fit in my shop. :)

    Anonymous: Maybe I should do a post about this, but I really love insolia inserts. As for ball-of-foot, I recommend just getting the cheap foam or fabric kind as opposed to gel because it's a bit more breathable and doesn't get sweaty.

  19. i'm 5' 11" and its just as hard fainding clothes that fit!!!

    the thing is -- there is no perfect size.

  20. Lols, yeah! XD I remember I'd gone to the doctor's office back in 7th grade and she measured me to be 4' 10 1/2", but then those measurements are kind of out of date because that was about 5 years ago. ^^" Yeah, I've tried looking at wet seal a couple of times recently, but lately I haven't been able to find any 00 that relatively fits, a lot of them tend to be really wide, especially the short ones. >.<" Ohhh really? I've always found Forever 21's bottoms a bit large, and especially with their sizes getting bigger and bigger, I haven't really bothered to look there anymore. xD Thanks for hte tip! Omg! XD I wear 10 and 12 slims from af kids too, lols! Yeah, I've noticed that sizes tend to vary from style to style, and sometimes even color to color, which is strange. >.<" I've been meaning to go through the whole store to try on a ton of pants to see what fits, but I haven't done it yet because my BF's always with me when I'm shopping and he gets a bit impatient. Being tiny is such a pain to find clothes in America! XD Oh that'd be wonderful if you could! =D Thanks a bunch hun! <3

  21. Oh, I absolutely love your blog! I have the exact same problem; 5' on license but technically 4'10. Same difference, right? :) Another place I suggest on buying jeans to fit "super petite" bodies is Hollister. Their jeans fit so well on our bodies; I usually wear 0S or 1S and all you have to do is to get it hem! Anywho, I love reading your blog, Congrats to you -- Happy Wedding girl!

  22. LOL, i totally need this. i'm like 5 feet tall :(

  23. Wow I just totally stumbled upon this and it helped me a lot. Thanks Jen! I'm 4'10", really thin and I have a very short torso and longer legs (and arms)so I reeeeaaaallly like your advice, lol.

    Yay for the super-petite! ^__^

  24. omfg. I just HAD to reply to your post. I'm a 25 y/o asian gal from Orange County, CA and bumped into your blog.

    You're gorgeous AND I CAN'T believe you're only 4'10"! I'm 4'10.5" and I feel so much better about myself after reading that you're as tall as me! I could've sworn you were 5'8"!

    Keep up with the awesome posts! =D

  25. I M Rashi,
    I think here the example is wrng (the 1st one only) open shoulder makes a petite looks more skinny if she is under weight.the jeans one looks (bad example) better.also petite should try to elongate upper part of body ad wear low waist with high heals

  26. Thanks for all the great examples. I am a petite women and its great to see what I would look better in. I have found some great petite shirts here.

  27. Hi Jen!
    I'm 5 feet , but a little bit on a curvier side. I love to shop at White House Black Market, they've got sze XXS dresses that fit me perfectly. Bebe is not bad,I've got one xs dress from there. And I recently bought AE jeans 0 short, no need to cut the hem )))

  28. wow thank you :D I'm exactly your size and my feet are the same size as yours and it is really hard to find a good pair of shoes thanks for the tip

  29. I'm not quite as petite in height as you (I'm 5'3") but thank goodness there's someone out there with tiny tiny feet like me :) I can never find cute shoes that don't have glitter craze going on everywhere or light-up barbie detail. Whenever there's a sale on shoes, they never have my size, so I have to pay oodles to get a good pair to fit x_x

    Thanks for sharing all these tips :D

  30. Thanks for this post! I am also super petite, 4'10.5" and size 3.5-4 as well and can relate!

  31. Just found your blog.. love it so far! I'm 4'10" too and can totally relate with how hard it is to find clothing that fits well. I have to get all my pants hemmed! Thank you for the style ideas!

  32. this is my first time seeing this and i really love it!(ahhh) i'm still a student so my clothes are mostly shirts and jeans but still this will help me a lot, with my height of 4'7". although i keep telling people i'm 4'10" XD


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