ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Petite Means SHORT, Not Skinny!

Updated on August 30, 2009
A 5'11 Brooke Hogan standing next to a petite 5'2 Fergie.
A 5'11 Brooke Hogan standing next to a petite 5'2 Fergie.

Ok, I’m sorry for yelling that title at you, but it’s super duper important.

Unless you’re a fashion maven (and possibly, even if you are), you probably think “skinny” when you see the petite section. This is such a common misconception, I just have to set it right.

Let’s start by saying Isabella is just shy of 5’4. Not that anyone I know realizes this, as I’m always wearing 4-inch heels. Nevertheless, I’m short - which makes me petite.

Yes, that means I should be wearing clothes with a little P marked on the tag.

And no, I’m not skinny – I’m built like a female, not a prepubescent boy/runway model. If I weren’t, however, it wouldn’t matter. Petite sized clothing covers the whole spectrum of body sizes. Remember, it’s about height, not girth!

That said, let me explain something else which is very, very important.

It’s possible to petite both above and below the waist – but it’s also to possible to be petite in only one area.

This is sooooo important!! Even though I’m only 5.399999999’, my legs are still average length. And even if they weren’t, I still wear high heels, and a 29” inseam would look silly on me. That said, if I’m wearing flats, a 32” inseam makes me look like I’m playing dress-up. So realize that petite women may still very well want regular length jeans.

Also, keep in mind, petite isn’t just length.

For jeans it also affects the rise – the part that goes from crotch to navel. What might be super-low-rise on some women could be all the way to petite girl’s navel. I totally have this problem. Which means I purposely buy super-low rise.

It also affects the knee - if you're 5'2, the knee should not at the same place you'd see it on a 5'11 model!

Many women are petite just in the torso!

How can you tell? Put a shirt on and see where the shoulder seams line up. If you’re petite and wearing a regular shirt, the shoulder seams will probably be too wide for your build. The main problem this creates is constantly having to shove your sleeves back up, because the armpit is always sliding down toward your wrists.

That should not be happening, the armpit and shoulders should line up and shouldn’t move – if they don’t, you are either wearing clothing way too big for you, or, you’re petite!

Ok, fine, I'm petite – but can I find clothes I like in this size?

Take heart, clothing manufacturers are finally starting to admit that most of the country is actually 5’4 (you didn’t really think most women were built like Giselle, did you?) and does not fit into 34” pants or regular tops made for 6’2 women. Which means you now have options you didn’t have in the past.

So what are these options?

The Gap has petites for both tops and bottoms. Victoria’s Secret does as well. So do Banana Republic, Liz Clairborne, J. Crew, J. Jill, Chadwicks and Ann Taylor. There are plenty of others, all you have to do is Google it.

I’ll be honest here and say I don’t go out of my way to buy petite clothing, but that’s only because I like the way the super-low-rise fits my waist, so I don’t feel I need to. If low rise weren’t available, however, I certainly would. I do pay careful attention to inches when buying a skirt, however – they are often much longer on me due to my being petite in the torso.

Note: If you’re petite in the torso and have large breasts, you should try all tops on, regardless, because sometimes the regular sizes are just better suited in the chest.

Extra Tip: If you’re petite in the legs and buying boots online, always be conscious of the boot shaft (length).

Measure yourself from knee to instep to be sure the boots will sit where you want them to.


Right, there you are. If you're one of the millions who hates having to "put up with" clothing sizes that dont' make the most of your figure, it's time to try petite!

xx Isabella


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)