petite woman seating on a table

Petite Style Guide: What To Wear If You're 5ft3 And Under

July 4, 2020

The average size of the American woman is 5 foot 4 inches (1m62), it is, however, an average which means that some are taller and others smaller. We will focus on the second category. If for a man a small size can be complex, this is by no means the case for a woman, the only difficulty will be to find brands and well-cut clothes. Nothing prevents you from cheating a little to gain a few centimeters by using tips that will be detailed in this article.

Choose your clothes, shoes and accessories wisely

The objective is to create verticality thanks to the patterns of clothes and their shape. The secret is there, play on verticality and not on horizontality! Simple geometry: everything that has a vertical line elongates while the horizontal will broaden. So, remember to choose shapes, accessories, patterns that go from top to bottom and not from right to left. Here are the explanations:

#1 The bottoms 

The high waisted bottom piece is strongly recommended if you are not a fan choose a regular fit. This is valid for pants, shorts, or skirts. Contrary to popular belief, unlike the cropped pants, the 7/8 lengthens the figure. Your skirts or shorts should be rather short to highlight your legs. 

Skinny pants will be precious allies, unlike wide or too flowing pants. If a bootcut is the shape that best suits your body type, it will be important to wear it with heels. 

You will forget the large exterior cuffs made by hand on your pants or jeans, a clean-cut and sewn cuff is essential. The principle is not to weigh down the silhouette with fabric details. 

Shop here, 33.78 €

Shop here, $39.99

Shop here, $59.00

#2 The tops 

Coats and jackets must be short as well for sweaters or tops. An open cardigan, a buttoned dress elongate because they enhance the verticality of the silhouette, it is the same concerning tops and sweaters, it is better to favor the V-neck which creates an optical effect of grandeur. 

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#3 Shoes 

Obviously,  the best tip for gaining centimeters remains the heels  and if the height scares you the sneakers or shoes with a platform in the front are a good alternative. We mistakenly believe that wearing high heels will benefit the silhouette but it is a false good idea, it is better not to exceed 10 cm if you do not want to give the impression of being perched on stilts. 

Nude or skin color shoes

Nude shoes are a must for girls with petite feet.  They visually extend your legs by the length of your heels!  If you have to wear flats, wear flats with pointed toes in nude color will make your legs look so much longer.

Shop here, 27,00 €

Pointed toe shoe

This is the most flattering style for petite women with small feet!  Pointed toe shoes seem to be just one inch difference at the toes, but they makes a whole world of difference and make your legs look so much longer.

Shop here, $37

Platform sneakers

Think platforms,per se, or even summer-ready espadrille sneakers. While you don’t think of them as and they likely weren’t designed with strictly small girls in mind, they happen to do wonders anyway. 

Shop here, $59.50


-Be aware that if you wear tights the same color as your shoes, your legs will look longer. Another little optical effect that helps to gain length! 

-When your legs get tired and you dream of flat, do not rush on a pair of classic ballerinas with round toes, choose it with a pointed toe and a small square heel, this model also lengthens the silhouette. 

-Watch out for the ankle straps that break the leg ! You will often find them on summer sandals but they will tend to weigh down by cutting the ankle length. As for the boots, it is better to wear them under the pants so as not to "break" your figure. Or to choose boots with the same color as your skin or pants. 

-Start from the darkest shade at the bottom (shoes) to the lightest at the top (hat). For example: dark brown shoes, light brown pants and jacket and beige hat. And on the hairstyle side, don't hesitate to wearthe bun which will make you gain a few cm.

#4 Accessories 

For a matter of harmony, you will head for rather small bags and rather fine jewelry. With the exception of the scarf, the longer they are the more they will "stretch" your size (verticality). And the same goes for necklaces: use and abuse the necklaces. 

#5 Colors and prints 

When it comes to colors, choose monochrome or camaïeu( two or three tints of a single color, other than gray). Wearing colors of the same family or of the same color all over the silhouette will also create the optical illusion of elongating your body.. Small bonus: it also makes you look thinner! The prints should be small. If you like flowers for example, prefer liberty to large floral prints that may "bury you". As for the timeless sailor it is not recommended, the vertical stripes want the best for you! 

The 4 style mistakes NOT to make when you are small 

  • The low waist 

Jeans, skirts and shorts with low waist will make your bust appear longer and thus reduce the length of your legs. Your buttocks will seem lower than they are. Elevate everything and give a pin-up look to your figure with the high waist! 

  • Clothing layering

Layering, which involves putting on several layers, is the same as wearing loose clothing because you will create volume around your figure and at the same time make it small. Loose sweater, a loose dress, a ball skirt, a maxi XXL waistcoat ... these clothes have the sole ambition of making you disappear! Instead, think of straight, curved shapes. 

  • Prohibited lengths

Skirts or dresses midi or below the knee aren't a good choice, same with the cropped pants.

Where to find clothes for my petite size?

  • Sewing 

Making your clothes is the dream of many women, yet many do not dare to start of fear or lack of time. It's a shame because in the end it only requires a machine, thread and fabric with the key a unique garment that you will not find on anyone. Why don't you get started? In the same vein, you can also have a seamstress reproduce models that you like in another color or other fabric (we talk about this a little below). 

  • Children's signs 

You have the right to demand clothing that will not put you out of step with your age. Brands such as Monoprix, Zara, Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, will offer you stylish collections with an important asset: the price! And yes it costs much less than the adult department! 

  • Online 

Some stores offer special collections. This is the case of English e-shops like Asos, New Look, Topshop with their “small” range. In general, the following brands also cut small: 

-Petit Bateau 


-Zara (especially for the tops) 

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