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How About Myself Who is Really Petite at 4' 9"?

by Stephanie
(British Columbia, Canada)

I find the regular Petite styles are still too big for me, especially sleeve lengths and pant lengths, even in Petite I still have to have 4 - 5 inches shortened - this is not fair to real Petites not someone who is under 5' 4".

The same happens with skirts and dresses - they still have to be shortened. I am sure there are many really Petite women who feel the same way. What can be done? Don't the clothing manufacturers care about us?

By the way I am a young senior who looks about 10 - 15 Years younger.

Jane's answer... Stephanie, I'm sure you're right when you say there are many really petite women for whom even petite sizes don't work.

Typically western manufacturers design their petite range for women who are between 5.4" and 4' 11" (162cm and 149cm) and who have balanced vertical proportions. I do wonder if there are Asian manufacturers of western clothes who design for other heights and proportions? Many Asian women are shorter than 4'11", especially older women, since we typically get shorter as the effects of gravity and time shrink our spine. Please post a comment below if you can shed any light on this question.

If you find that waists, darts and other styling details in petite clothing typically work for your proportions, then count yourself lucky! Most women have to take up hem lengths for a good fit (even if they're not petite). And finding a hem is too long is, of course, preferable to finding lengths too short, as happens for tall women or those with long legs.

When you think about it, it's actually amazing that off-the-rack clothing fits as many women as it does. However, I guess that's no consolation if you have a body shape, proportion, or height that means ready-to-wear clothing doesn't work as well for you.


If you have a petite frame, but find that off-the-rack petite clothes typically don't fit your shape well here are some suggestions for you:
  • Get to know a really good alterations person. Work out the types of alterations you typically need (hems, sleeves, bust darts, crotch depth and so on) and ask her (or him) for approximate prices for each item. Then add the amount of the alterations into any garment you buy to work out if you still want to buy it.

  • If you enjoy being creative, and want to save money, learn how to alter your own clothes to fit.

  • Buy petite clothes where the fit is less important, so that you only have to alter a hem. For example a dress that has minimal tailoring and flows through the waist

  • Shop online for petite ranges to get greater choice -- many main brands now offer a petite range, and there are also online store dedicated to petite clothing. See below for some examples

  • Make your own clothes from scratch -- learn how to alter patterns to fit your proportions.

  • Find a good dress maker and have your clothes made -- or at least ones for special occasions. Note: in my experience a good alterations person is not necessarily a good dress maker and vice versa -- each requires different skills and one person may not have both.

Where to buy petite clothing?

I've started a listing of petite clothing stores here. There's also a link at the bottom of that page where you can add your favorite places for finding petite clothes.

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More quality please
by: Anonymous

With respect, and as far as I can see, there is no designer or even superior highstreet petite clothing available for those of us who would like better quality. Why not?

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