This week we borrow a question from Danae in our VIP group who asked if she should be shopping in the petite section. She’s 5’4″ (and a half!!) and it can be tricky when you’re right on the line, so I share a couple of tips for figuring it out.
Also, I share how women who traditionally aren’t petite can use petite sizing to fix fit issues.
If you’re petite, share your favorite petite brand or tip (or challenge) with us on social media!
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Today’s episode of Office Hours is sponsored by Living Wonder. Living Wonder uses premium non-gmo ingredients, and all of their products undergo rigorous safety testing to bring you the best supplements on the market. I use Living Wonder Collagen Boost Plus everyday to help keep my skin looking good, and I love it–I hope you will too.
Everyday Style School listeners can take 15% off their purchase by going to mylivingwonder.com/style and using code STYLE15. As always you can visit our show notes for the link.
Welcome back to Office Hours–the weekly show of the Everyday Style School podcast, where we answer just one, submitted by our lovely listeners, to help make style easier, and getting dressed more fun.
This week’s question was actually asked in our member community by Danae in our Weekly Q&A session, but it was such a good question, that I thought we should cover it here, too.
Danae said I’m 5’4” and a half, should I be shopping petites.
Now, I’m lining up a petite blogger to do an episode with me about tips for dressing a petite body, so we’re going to dive deeper into all things petite in the future, but today, we’re going to cover the biggest thing petites need to know, and that is, when to shop petites.
Now, obviously if you’re 5’1”, you should be shopping petites, pretty much exclusively. I’m not going to say you can never shop regular misses sizing, but the petite section should be your go-to, the misses section the exception, not the other way around.
But for women who are in the 5’3, 5-4, even 5-5 range, it’s a little more complicated.
Before I share my thoughts, let’s talk about what Petite means. It is not just smaller. You can be a size 20 and petite. Petite has to do with height not size, but it’s not just shorter tops and inseams. Every measurement on petite clothing is altered. Shoulders are narrower, armholes are higher, sleeves are shorter, waistbands on dresses are placed higher. On pants, kneecaps are placed higher, and yes, inseams are shorter.
This is why, if you are petite, you need to be shopping petites. Can you alter a pair of regular pants? Yes, but if it has any distressing or fading, it can look really odd to have fading on what was supposed to be the thigh going below your knees instead.. If you’ve got a bootcut or skinny pants, cutting off the bottom can turn them into a straight leg, because you’re messing with the proportion. So, if you need petite sizing you’re going to find you get much better results from the petite section.
Now, back to those cuspy ladies. Just like with misses vs plus sizing, the cusp is the hardest place to be, fit wise. You might feel like goldilocks–petites are too shrunken, misses are too oversized, and nothing feels just right. But, here are a few tips to figure it out.
First, know what the brand considers petite. Some brands say petites are 5’4” and under, some say 5”3 and under. While an inch may not seem like a big deal, it can help you find things that are better right off the rack, or when you need to head straight for the misses section.
Second, know your body. I could put 10 5”4 and a half women in a line, and they’d all have different needs.. Some would need petite tops, and some would need petite bottoms some would need neither, and some would need both. Its all in how your body is built. If you’re 5’4 and a half with long legs and a short torso, you might need petite tops, but not petite pants. If the opposite is true, you might do better in regular tops and petite pants.
Because of this, I put a lot of women who were over 5’5: in petites. Especially high waisted pears and hourglasses. Petite tops seem to just fit them better–the waists are in the right place, the armholes aren’t saggy–it just shrinks the item to fit them better. I’ve put women with really long torsos in petite pants, even if they’re not technically petite. This is a good way to customize a fit. I’ll never forget a client I struggled to fit for about an hour–she was 5’7 but tops were really tricky. Mediums were too small, larges were too big. She was really reluctant to try petites, but I said, just try..just give it a shot. What do you know, the large petite was perfect. I did this a lot with dresses too, if my client had a high waist, and dresses weren’t working, we’d try peties, and often, they were perfect. It’s just another reminder to use sizing as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to play around with sizing, and use it to your advantage to get a custom fit. Just keep in mind petite size conversions, when you go to petites, you size up, so a medium misses is a large petite, an 8 in misses is a 10 petite.
Finally, my last tip is just to try. Once you know a few brands that work for you, and where you should definitely be in petites, and where you can fudge a little, the only thing left to do is try. Take the misses and the petite in the fitting room. Order the misses and the petite and keep the one that works best. As always, there’s theory, and what should work, and then there’s what actually does work—to find it, you’ve gotta just try.
Danae, thanks so much for asking the question, and to all of my VIP ladies for asking questions like this every week!
If you’re petite and you’d like to share a tip or resource, head over to social media to share it. You can find us on facebook and instagram at Everyday Style with jen, or head to the shownotes for the link.
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That’s all for today–see you next week! Until then, stay sty