Petite Fashion in a Tall Girl’s World

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Petite fashion: Fashions for women who are 5 feet, 6 inches tall or under (also known as the majority of our population).  In the United States, approximately 70 percent of all women are 5’5″ tall and under.  What’s more, there are one hundred million petite and petite plus-size women in the USA.  In the International marketplace there are over six hundred million petite women.

Let’s take a poll:  Will all of the 5 foot 11 inch, dress size 2 readers please raise your hands?

Anyone?  Anyone?

In the modeling world, commercial print advertisements (selling products like toothpaste) you see in fashion magazines have petite models hawking their items and are hired more often than the public realizes.  Most swimsuit and lingerie models are petite, too.  You don’t have to be a six foot model to sell cars, hotels, pet food or even diamonds or make up.  If you have a look that the client wants, you are booked.  Take Kate Moss for example.  She’s sold just about everything under the sun in fashion for just about every fashion designer around the world.  In her latest Fall advertisements Kate’s 5’7” bronzed frame is selling faux tanning spray for (my favorite) St. Tropez.  Yes, Kate is 5’7” and not 5”11” like her fellow Supermodel co-workers.

In the acting world, petites thrive.  Remember famous petite actress Raquel Welch?  She measured in at 5’3”.  Bob Mackie, world renowned fashion designer to the stars for over 40 years, has spent his career dressing famous women.  Mackie recounts that most leading ladies in Hollywood throughout his years have  in fact been petites.    This list includes:

Veronica Lake 4’11”
Jada Pinkett-Smith 5’0”
Liz Taylor 5’2”
Eva Longoria 5’2”
Victoria Beckahm 5’4”
Madonna  5’4”
Penelope Cruz 5’6”
& the list goes on…

Fun movie trivia:    In the old days, actor Allan Ladd was so short (at only 5’2″) that his leading ladies often had to stand in a ditch while filming scenes next to him.  As you can see, it was important to have gorgeous, petite screen goddesses like 4’10″ Veronica Lake!  To this day most leading men in film are short and need petite leading ladies to enhance their small stature.    Did you know Hollywood leading man Tom Cruise is 5’5” tall?

With the focus on taller fashion models selling clothes to the petite woman, what’s a girl to do?  How do small women develop a signature style and make a fashion statement with confidence?  DON’T let your smaller size slow you down, ladies.  DO let your gorgeous self shine through.  Your height is the majority; remember that.  The clothing industry has acknowledged this but still has a long way to go, in my opinion.   Fortunately, I’ve found plenty of fashionable, petite-friendly store nears you or available online:

Allison Izu
Banana Republic
J. Crew
AIME (Wendy’s Pick)
H & M (carries petite “sizing” so try on before buying, ladies)
J. Brand
Ann Taylor / Loft (Wendy’s Pick)
BCBG (forget the pants, they will be too long but everything else seemed petite-friendly)
The Gap (great for a smaller frame)
Topshop (Wendy’s Pick)
You might be PETITE  PROPORTIONED if you are 5’4” or under OR 5’4” and over but:

  • Find full-length often means floor-length
  • Find long sleeves require a roll up or two
  • Find regular pant lengths fall way too low
  • Find jackets are just too broad at the shoulders

 :: Petite Styling Tip #36 ::

Slip on your highest heels and walk with the tallest of confidence

:: Petite Styling Tip #104 ::

Choose a smaller handbag for your daytime look instead of the trendy, over-sized bags.  It’s not chic and pulled-together if you are hiding behind your accessories!