Fashion

As a petite woman who struggles to find clothes, these are 9 spring buys I would actually invest in

Did you know that 50% of the world’s female population is under 5’4″? In fact, according to data (opens in new tab)the mean height of women in the UK is around 5’3″. Yet, sadly, clothing is rarely made for those of us who stand at that stature. 

Finding the best petite fashion buys can be quite the task, particularly as historically, petite lines have felt very few and far between. Luckily, in recent years it seems that more and more brands have heard our call and are finally launching collections created specifically with women 5’3″ and under in mind. 

From Reformation (opens in new tab) to Reiss (opens in new tab), and the Whistles collection, (opens in new tab)which launched just last month, petite women now have more choice when it comes to their wardrobes. With this in mind, I made it my mission to track down the best petite spring buys available right now and try them on to ensure the perfect fit. (For reference, I stand at the relatively tiny height of 5’0″, so I am also on the smaller end of the general petite spectrum.) 

When it comes to petite dressing, there is so much more to think about than simply the clothes you buy. How you style and tailor a look also needs to be taken into consideration. With this in mind, we spoke to designer and petite expert, Liza Belmonte, to understand the tips and tricks petite women need to know. Liza is the founder of the petite-specific brand, Kjinsen, (opens in new tab) which creates luxury womenswear in the UK for women 5’4″ and under. 

For expert tips on petite dressing and my favourite spring petite buys, keep scrolling.

Petite Dressing Tips You Need To Know

We tapped petite expert, and the founder of fashion label Kjinsen, Liza Belmonte for her top tips for styling and dressing as a petite woman. 

1. Prioritise fit

“The most powerful thing you can do for your wardrobe is prioritise a good fit,” Belmonte explains. “Invest in clothes that fit well or get clothes altered to fit you,” she adds. As a petite woman, there is nothing worse than having sleeves that are too long, and trouser hems that drag on the floor, creating a look that drowns you in fabric. 

“Slim and tailored fits will always be easier to style if you are petite but that does not mean you always have to wear fitted clothes. If you want an oversized look, don’t just go for a size up, choose clothes that have been engineered to be oversized on your petite proportions,” Liza recommends. “I always recommend getting your oversized clothes from a petite brand to avoid that frumpy look.  

2. Accessorise strategically

“Your accessories have the power to really transform how tall you appear so make sure you use them in your favour,” Liza explains, suggesting that a large handbag can shink your frame, while smaller handbags will work to make you appear taller. 

She continued, “A belt, depending on where it is placed, can dramatically affect your proportions. I have a long torso-to-leg ratio so I use belts on pretty much everything (dresses, blazers, etc.) to mark my waist higher than it is and give the illusion of longer legs.” 

In addition to this, Liza also said that jewellery, hair accessories and even scarves, have the ability to draw the eye upwards, while in the footwear department, nude tones and pointy-toe silhouettes can work to elongate your legs. 

3. Show some skin

While many say that ankle-length trousers will work to elongate your frame, Liza argues that it is actually more valuable to show off your wrists and neck. “Show skin around your wrists and forearms by rolling up your sleeves, and your neck by styling your hair up. They are the daintiest parts of anyone’s body and help create a balance of proportion,” she explains. “This is especially key when you are wearing oversized clothing. The Olsen Twins who are very petite use this styling trick regularly. As part of their signature minimalist style, they wear a lot of oversized clothing, yet their sleeves are almost always rolled up or pulled up.” 

4. Go for monochrome or a colour gradient looks

“A tried and proven way to use colour to give the illusion of height is to wear a monochromatic look,” Liza says. “It creates vertical lines and elongates the silhouette.” Liza continues that adding accessories is a great way to ensure your outfit still looks interesting. 

“If you are petite and love combining multiple colours or neutrals in your outfits, it is a good idea to create a colour gradient—for example, beige, to taupe, to brown—rather than wearing “blocks” of highly contrasting colours (like a white top and black trousers). The gradient will streamline the whole look and avoid creating harsh lines and blocks that cut across the silhouette.” 

Shop The Best Petite Spring Buys, Tried and Tested by a Fashion Editor:

Whistles Petite Annabelle Cape Sleeve Dress

Petite Try On: Whistles red dress

(Image credit: Future/ @zoepopi)

Reformation Petites Mason Pant

Best Petite Fashion: Reformation Trousers

(Image credit: Future/@zoepopi)

Levi’s Wedgie Jeans

Petite Try On: Levi's Jeans

(Image credit: Future/ @zoepopi)

Whistles Petite Alana Denim Jumpsuit

Petite Try On: Whistles Denim Jumpsuit

(Image credit: Future/ @zoepopi)

Reiss Petite Zaria Off-The-Shoulder Dress

Best Petite Fashion: Reiss Dress

(Image credit: Future/@zoepopi)

Whistles Petite Crepe Boyfriend Blazer

Petite Try On: Whistles Petite Blazer

(Image credit: Future/ @zoepopi)

Whistles Petite Authentic Barrel Leg Jeans

Petite Try On: Whistles Petite Jeans

(Image credit: Future/ @zoepopi)

Reiss Petite Lina High-Rise Wide Leg Trousers

Best Petite Fashion: Reiss Wide Leg trousers

(Image credit: Future/@zoepopi)

Kjiinsen Wool and Cashmere Blend Suit

Best Petite Fashion: Kjinsen Suit

(Image credit: Future/@zoepopi)

“Liza Belmonte, the designer behind Kjinsen, is a petite woman herself. Standing at 5’1″ Belmonte has the lived experience to understand what petite women want. She has created a line of elevated products that look and feel premium. And you can certainly tell the craftsmanship and construction of this suit is high-end. Made from a cashmere and wool blend, the fabric is soft and comfortable, while the fit takes into account the proportions of a petite woman. The shoulder width and sleeve length of the blazer were just perfect.” – Zoe Anastasiou, Fashion Editor