While a growing movement to meet the demands of the plus-size market in America is proof that retailers are taking note of the diversity in women's bodies, one sector that has been lagging in terms of design is petites, broadly defined as a womenswear category for ladies 5'4" and under. However, we're happy to report that in recent seasons, we've noticed a rising number of brands — both new and established — offering options tailored specifically for shorter women. Check out the list below for eight brands doing petites right.
Petite Studio New York
"I'm a petite girl, and when I moved to the U.S. three years ago, I felt like it was such an underserved market," explains Jenny Wang, who founded Petite Studio New York last August. "The brands that carried petite sizes had a very 'office' look, and so I wanted to make clothes that would flatter the petite body but also be trendy and fashion-forward." The direct-to-consumer label carries everything from statement items to everyday pieces, and specializes in items that have been historically tricky for a petite consumer: outerwear, dresses, pants and skirts. It's also not one to shy away from bright color or a fun print: "When petite girls style themselves, you don't want people to pay attention to how tall you are, but instead be like, 'You have great style,'" says Wang.
The accessibly priced mass-market brand began offering petites this past January, and honestly, we wish this existed a whole lot sooner. "It was a natural extension for our brand and for our customers who want to be able to shop designs that are perfectly proportioned – from tops, jackets and dresses to jeans, skirts, dress pants and shorts," said Express president and CEO David Kornberg via email. The range is currently available exclusively online, but we're hoping that will change in the months to come.
Plus-size online brand Eloquii is currently a pioneer in the petites-plus category, a specific market for women who are above a size 12 but below 5'4". Their offerings include Aidy Bryant-approved printed dresses, separates, knitwear and denim.
While Aritzia doesn't actually have a designated "petites" line, it remains one of this writer's go-to destinations for everything from jackets to intimates due to its impressive size range, which starts at XXS and extends to XL. Plus, it has multiple brick-and-mortar locations, making trying on pieces IRL a snap.
British high-street brand Topshop was an early purveyor of petites and regularly reproduces styles from its main collections to properly fit the shoulders, hips and heights of a shorter shopper. In this writer's experience, Topshop's petite offerings have regularly come through for special-occasion attire at an accessible price point. Keep it up, guys.
While also not entirely new to the petite market, J.Crew has stepped up its game by adding more seasonal, trend-based offerings that allow for more experimentation outside the realm of classic separates and office-approved pieces.
Asos's petite collection is a treasure trove for hard-to-find petite garments like jumpsuits, maxidresses and rompers. Plus, it also offers a selection of maternity wear for petite women. And because it curates a selection of third-party brands alongside Asos's in-house label, it's basically a one-stop-shop for all your petite needs.
For pieces with a lived-in, vintage vibe, look no further than Anthropologie's petite section, which makes finding oversize silhouettes like wide-leg trousers and flowy blouses that won't swallow a small frame much easier. (Yes, it can be done!)