Friday, February 8, 2013

Short and Stylish-Resources for Petite Juniors Fashion

Short is Beautiful!

Natalie Portman 

Hayden Panettiere

Kim Kardashian

But clothes that do not fit are not beautiful at all!  

What's a short girl to do at the mall?  I am a tiny 5 feet 0 inches tall, so I know how difficult and frustrating it can be trying to find youthful and stylish clothes that fit a petite frame.  That's why I wanted to share some of my go-to stores, tricks, tips and observations for petite girls who are too short to fit junior's clothing, but are too young and stylish for the "petite" department. 

It took me quite some time to discover how poorly-fitted clothes can ruin a look.  My biggest clothing problem is pant length.  I spent a lot of my younger years in jeans and pants that bunched and bagged at the bottom and dragged on the ground.  Sometimes I cuffed my jeans, sometimes I cut them off and frayed the edges.  Other times, I found that perfect pair that, with the right high heels, would just barely clear the ground.  Every now and then, I found a glorious pair of pants that fit just right and I wore them until they fell apart.  Out of desperation, I even bought kid's jeans at times.  However, as the years passed, I realized that there were certain stores where I could get pants in lengths that could actually fit well right off the hanger!  

Here's a list of STORES to check out, as well as my personal experience with their merchandise:

Alloy and Delia's-are online junior's stores (Delia's also has some mall stores) that carry jeans and pants in lengths.  Some of the brands they sell in shorter lengths are typical inexpensive junior's brands such as "Revolt" and "Paris Blues."  Since I'm familiar with the fit of those brands, it makes it easier to order them online.  Delia's also carries their own denim line.  Both stores often have sales where you can get jeans and pants for as low as $14.99, and if you order from them, they occasionally send you free shipping offers.   

Express and Limited both sell some pants in lengths.  They are good if you need professional work wear or maybe some black pants, but I find that they don't have much in the way of stylish denim.    

All of the sort of "preppy" mall stores sell basic jeans in lengths: Abercrombie, American Eagle, Aeropostale, Gap, Old Navy.  The jeans from these stores are usually very classic and decent quality, but I don't usually fit them well, since they tend to be cut for a different body type than mine.  I have a small waist and a bigger butt and legs, so they are usually really tight in the legs and rear, and loose in the waist.  Also, their short lengths can either run too long for me (brands like Abercrombie and AE) or too short (Gap, Old Navy). 

Charlotte Russe sells some basic jeans in lengths.  I've gotten a few good pairs there.  I also found a pair of fold-over yoga pants in a "short" length there once!

Forever 21 sells different inseams of jeans and pants. They actually carry more pants in lengths than you  might realize...Some of their pants/jeans are marked with an inseam length on the tag, others aren't.  If you shop their website, all the inseams are listed, so you can go through items you might like and see if they could work.  I think it's much easier to buy their pants online, rather than search for random short lengths that sometimes aren't marked in the chaos of a Forever 21 Store.

Discount Department stores such as Ross, Marshall's, and TJ Maxx: I have found some jeans in lengths in all of these stores at one time or another, so it pays to scan the juniors jeans in your size.  Since they sometimes sell close outs from mall stores I have mostly found brands such as American Eagle, Abercrombie and Express. I also found a few short length juniors' brands such as Paris Blues.

New York and Company- Sells pants in lengths.  This is a good place for work pants, khakis, sweats, and yoga pants.  Their fit is more "misses", so their clothes run larger than junior's, which is sometimes a problem for me since I am already on the low end of the size scale. 

  • Sadly, when buying pants in lengths, you are usually confined to the basic, plain styles.  You will never find denim in trendy washes or with embellishments in short lengths.
  • I always try on "cropped" or "ankle" cuts of regular jeans, sometimes they fit like regular pants for me.  I have a few awesome pair of jeans that I found that way.
  • If you wear a size 3 or smaller, the children's department is an option.  A size 3 can fit a girl's size 14 or 16.  The bad thing about kids clothing is that the cut is made for a little girl's body.  It may "fit" measurement-wise but it might not be flattering, sexy, or cute.  Finding girls'-sized jeans without weird kiddie embellishments (like pink flowers on the pockets) is also an issue.

Tops and Dresses:
Tops and dresses don't always fit me like they are supposed to.  My fit problems include shoulders that hit in the wrong place, necklines that gape and dip too low, waists that hit at the wrong spot and sleeves that are too long.  My solution to this is simple...I just try everything on and don't buy tops and dresses that don't fit me.  I haven't gotten into buying petite sizes for these items.  Even though my selection is more limited than a taller girl, I'm able to find plenty of things that fit fine without looking for special sizes. 
But if you are looking for a store that sells smaller proportioned tops and dresses (as well as pants and jackets) Ann Taylor Loft and Asos sell pretty decent looking petites, although I have never bought anything from either site yet.


  • Fully adjustable spaghetti straps are a short girl's best friend!
  • So are camis and bralettes for necklines that dip too low.  I prefer bralettes instead of full camis.  I find that layering adds bulk.  You can find my current favorite bralette on Ebay >>>HERE
Last year, my boyfriend and I toured New York City and Washington DC at Christmastime.  When I looked through the hundreds of outdoor winter pictures we took, the fit of my coat made me cringe.  I never thought I needed to be concerned about the fit of my jackets.  It was something I hadn't considered.  Sleeves were always long on me, but I hadn't realized how the shoulders and entire shape of my coats overwhelmed my frame and made me look like a little girl playing dress up in a grown-up's coat!  Since then, I vowed to only wear petite jackets and coats.  They have proven VERY difficult to find.  Here are the few places I can suggest:

Burlington Coat Factory stores (in person) were my best source for coats over the past year. Their internet petites section was mostly frumpy misses styles..I suggest you don't even bother!  Burlington Stores only carry a few random petite sizes, but they are usually designer coats at a big discount, so the price is right and the fit is nice, if you manage to find anything.  While shopping at Burlington Coat Factory, I tried on a few Guess petite coats, and they were by far my favorite brand for fit and trendy styles.  Guess Petites are hard to find..they are sort of randomly sprinkled throughout department stores.  I wish I could buy them online somewhere, but the Guess website doesn't sell any petite coats, that I saw.  Luckily I snagged a really cute Black Guess wool military coat at Burlington.   

Ross and Marshall's carry things similar to Burlington Coat Factory, although they have even fewer discount designer petite coats and jackets, but since their coat sections are so small it's worth a quick look.  It is possible to find some good things.

Old Navy has some really low-priced petite coats.  I haven't bought from them, so I'm not sure about their fit and quality.

Macy's has a fair selection of Petite designer coats, watch for their sales though, because their prices go up and down constantly.

I am a 34A bra.  That's not a totally obscure size, but still not as common as a 34 B or C.
Some Tips:

  • I think trying a bra on is a must for all women, but even more so for a petite girl.  
  • I found I can often fit a size 32B, which gives me more options if my size isn't available.  
  • Bras with fancy straps are a no-no for me, because they are not fully adjustable and they fall off of my shoulders.  
  • Girls' bras come in A cup sizes, and are often much less expensive.  I used to buy girls' bras, but I noticed that like girl's jeans, although the sizing is right measurement-wise, the shape of girls' bras is not made to emphasize a little girl's chest.  So if you want a sexy look, girl's bras do not deliver.
  •   One thing I have found at discount department stores such as Marshall's, Ross, and T.J. Maxx is that you can often find regular A cup bras mixed into the girls' section.  I always check.  Once I found piles of great Vassarette women's push-up bras in the girl's section of Conway that were priced at $1.99.  These bras usually run for about $15-$20 each, so I racked up!

One final tip: Chinese sellers on Ebay usually sell "one size" clothing.  These items are usually cut small and short, and I found that this "one" size is usually "my" size!  Ditto with Korean one-size.  While my other foreign co-workers in Korea complained about not being able to fit the clothes, I was in heaven!

Please, if you are a petite girl with another shopping resource or tip, leave a comment and let us know!

(I apologize to my international readers that my post uses all US measurements, sizing, and stores.  I don't mean to leave you out.  If you are a petite girl outside of the US please help my post be more global by leaving a comment with your favorite shops, too!!!)  


  1. I'm 5'1" but live in Canada so my options are limited. I'm too small for Gap Petite etc. and most petite clothings lines here are aimed at older woman. Topshop opened up here and although their peitite line is limited it's a godsend. I've bought trendy pants and a trendy coat all in a petite size. ASOS Petite is also amazing and I managed to find some great maxi skirts and dresses.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Don't you hate that it is so hard to find petite sizes that aren't made for much older women? I hadn't realized Top Shop sold petites!!!(I'm shopping their site right now and LOVING it!) And Asos is another great one...I just discovered their petites recently and I feel like I'll be ordering a lot from them in the future! Awesome suggestions Christine :-)

  2. What a well-written and informative post, well done!

    1. Thanks sweetie, and your blog is adorable btw!

  3. Great entry! I love buying dresses with a halter top because often times you can tie it higher to fit your frame. I'm definitely not endowed so the extra space for my girls isn't necessary. And I love going to consignment/thrift shops to find pants because sometimes the pants are already cropped to fit me perfectly!

  4. Oh yeah-great tip!!! I love that Halter tops are really adjustable...and you reminded me, I also like tube top dresses since they eliminate any shoulder/neckline fit issues :-) thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Irene!

  5. Thank you for posting this! My daughter is 20, 5' tall and a size 2. I have such a hard time finding her pretty, fashionable dresses. I found a lot on ASOS! I'm a plus size, average height. Many people don't realize that it's just as hard for smaller people to find nice clothes as it is for big people! At 40, it's hard for me to find clothes that aren't "too young" or "too mature" for me. I wish I'd find a blog like this for my size and age :)

  6. Wow! What an informative site this is for me. My daughter just started public high school after being in private school since K-4 (uniforms only) You can imagine our excitement when we headed out to begin our first "school clothes shopping" adventure. Well, this quickly turned from blue skies to stormy skies. My daughter and her main interest in school as well as out, is acting and musicals, so she has a very I"ll use the word "artistic" way of dressing....lots of black and to my chagrin, a fair amount of skull prints.She does this skillfully however and does her best to make it all look nice. However, her jeans (sigh) even with Dr. Martin boots are at least 6 to 8 inches too long. Mostly purchased at Buckle and of course they rarely have short in stock, they will hem the jeans at "no charge" but as you commented above, my daughter has more of a pear shaped body and all the jeans we have found are just so tight in her rear end and her thighs? What's your best recommendation for curvy and petite jeans, leggings, jeggings, etc.? Also, we were recently in London and the Topshop was heavenly ( I had to drag my daughter out of there on the 3 occasions we shopped) 4 floors and amazingly an entire 1/2 of one floor was dedicated to petites only and their sale section was AWESOME. Sadly, we didn't realize they had a petite section until our last day in England, never thought to shop online at topshop..that will be my next stop..Ok, this is getting long.. My final question: My daughter receives the Delia and Alloy catalog but her style is a little more as I explained above dark; I wouldn't say gothic but ripped jeans, leggings with crosses, alot of the Affliction type shirts at Buckle (which are almost the length of a short mini on her.....with all that being said....does anyone know of or recommend stores anywhere in Florida or online that would carry her type of style...and jeans for a 5' pear shaped high schooler? I'm 5'9" and tell my beautiful daughter all the time that boys like petite girls much better than Amazonian ones, and they can wear beautiful high heals and look absolutely fabulous and NOT looking like they work somewhere between a street corner and a men's nightclub (if you get my drift), and finally, they will NEVER tower over their date which occasionally makes a "tall" girl want to shrink; and the absolute worse is that most tall girls on one of their best days ever, their prom, have to wear FLATS, so they won't tower over their man/boy date who hasn't finished growing yet. So you beautiful petites; Rock those stilettos and leave some of the men for us tall women :) Stand "petite" and be proud! You all Rock!

  7. very nice blog i liked it and i find it awesome because this a very informative post about halter top dresses for juniors

  8. Hi,
    I love asos as well! I'm 4"11 and 90 pounds, so shopping is a chore for me. I have found that anthropologie has some great petite pants in great styles for 20-30 somethings. They can be pricey, but not always! Their inseams are usually shorter too.

  9. Hi,
    I love asos as well! I'm 4"11 and 90 pounds, so shopping is a chore for me. I have found that anthropologie has some great petite pants in great styles for 20-30 somethings. They can be pricey, but not always! Their inseams are usually shorter too.

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  11. So I read your blog and looked at size charts and i'm so confused. I'm 5'0 and 135 lbs (naturally dense it runs in the family) with a 25 inch inseam and a 34 B bust and a 36 inch waist so my body shape is unique and so confusing plus I just turned 16 so I need all the help I can get.

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