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Monday 11 November 2013

Petite Girls: The Ultimate Shop Guide

Ladies of the smaller persuasion! Let us gather together and swap stories of shopping in Gap Kids, tottering around in heels to try and make ourselves look average height, and hamfistedly taking up hems. Well, no more, as I've rounded up as many petite ranges as I could find. Whether you're after a decent pair of jeans, a winter coat, new dress or tights that don't sag, you'll find a stockist here.

Petite ranges are mainly aimed at women 5'3 and under, although at 5'4 I find myself browsing their ranges more often than not. Have I missed any shops out? Then add your favourites to the comments and I'll update the guide. Bookmark this page and you'll never find yourself frantically adjusting your outfit with safety pins again.

For everyday wear

Asos Petite
Sizes 2-16
God love Asos and their enormous range of anything you could ever wish to buy. Dresses, trousers, tops, coats, all in flattering cuts and shapes. Plus you get to watch the models walking up and down, which is oddly hypnotic (also helpful to see how clothes fall).

Dorothy Perkins
Sizes 4-18
Dotty P's are an unexpected treasure trove. They're the forgotten heroes of the high street: I always leave with something reasonably priced (*side eye at Oasis*) and beautifully fitted. They've almost constantly got a 20% off deal too.

Sizes 4-14
Ah Topshop, bringer of everything from basic tops to giddy happy going-out skirts to...well, let us never speak of the skeleton bodycon dress currently on the site. There are some ace and very wearable pieces, just a shame it's a relatively small range for such a huge shop.

Gap Petite
Sizes 4-18
You don't go to Gap for the most exciting clothes, but they offer a decent range of mid-price basics. Like this - a blazer which fits without looking like I should be in school!

M&S Petite
Sizes 6-18
Ah, Marks - when you get it right, you get it perfect. When you don't - and I'm looking here at most of your partywear - you make us do sad face. The petite range is more hit than miss, but do go in and try them on as Marks are notorious for odd sizing.

Miss Selfridge
Sizes 4-16
I think of them as the cheeky little sister of Dorothy Perkins. Apart from occasional mad excursions into pink crop tops and eye-watering floral dresses, they have a fun and well-priced range.

Debenhams Petite
Sizes 4-24
Still looking for a winter coat? Good news - Debenhams have over 100 tailored for shorter women. They've rounded up dozens of brands that will kit you out in chic knitwear, smart work clothes, and more pairs of jeans than you could get through in a lifetime.

House of Fraser Petite
Sizes 6-24
A similar range to Debenhams, with slightly more emphasis on formal clothes. A pleasingly large clearance range, too.

New Look
Sizes 4-16
Cheap, catwalk-copying fashion is what New Look specialises in. You'll have to be tenacious to find the good stuff, but they have some giddy, happy pieces. Like this Christmas penguin jumper! I was so entranced that it took me ages to realise that a "Christmas penguin" isn't really a thing. No penguins visited the baby Jesus. Lazy penguins.

J.Crew Petite
Sizes 00-12
J.Crew has landed in the UK! Visit them for high-quality, beautifully fitted clothes from blazers to dresses to pyjamas. They list body length and sleeve length is on every piece too, so you can be sure of getting the right fit.

Sizes 2-8
How much nicer is 'elfin' than 'petite'? I feel like a magical pixie rather than someone who has to ask for help reaching the top shelves in the supermarket. They specialise in new brands for women who are teeny all over (their biggest size is 8) and while their clothes are pricey, they're also stunning.

Next Petite
Sizes 6-18
You gave the overall range mixed reviews, but a massive thumbs up for their petite jeans.

For smart office wear

Sizes 6-18
Precis are pretty formal and conservative - even their party dresses - but if you've stumbled into a new job that demands formal workwear, then have a look.

Sizes 6-20
It's always felt a tiny bit smug for me, but if you can overlook the models with their fabulous lives, you'll find a high quality range of everything from tops to trousers to macs to dresses. Also kaftans.

Sizes 8-20
Petite shop = you can have All The Things! In this case, you're looking at well-structured clothes in great colours. Some of the prints are a bit old-fashioned, but scroll past those as you've lots of others to choose from.

Banana Republic
Sizes 2-20
Part of Gap, Banana Republic offer a similar range of basics but taken up a gear to become more formal, stylish, and hence more expensive. I've never shopped there (it's the word 'banana' in relation to fashion that I just can't take seriously), so let me know your thoughts if you have.

For going out somewhere fancy

Gorgeous Couture
Sizes 6-14
Providers of super fancy party dresses - a little bit red carpet, a little bit Strictly without all the bling - that can be altered for free. Hooray!

For your legs

Tights Please
From 4'9 and up
Beautiful tights you can wear without having to hoik them up every five minutes. Choose from their own brand, Charnos, Jonathan Aston and Wolford.

For your feet

If you've got small feet, check out our size 13-3 shoe guide. If, like me, you've got disproportionately massive feet, then go to Kat's round up of size 9-13 stockists.

Useful tips!

Jeans can always be taken up at at dry cleaners for about £10. Better still, buy them from Uniqlo and they'll alter them for free in a couple of hours. Just get the waist measurement right, then get the legs taken up for a perfect length.

Avoid fuss and frills as they'll make you look shorter. And pale pinks, lace collar dresses and chunky jumpers risk us getting ID'd in the pub. Having said that, I don't believe in fashion rules. I dress like Liberace and just take my passport with me to buy wine.


  1. I actually really like the skeleton pencil skirts in Topshop.

    1. Skirt = fine. Bodycon dress = "it was Hallowe'en last week, love."

    2. Yeah, you're right about that.

  2. Uniqlo's free alteration service is my favourite thing on the high street. Amazing quality jeans and same day leg shortening is such a winner. Adore.

  3. So glad you omitted Next. Every time I walk through (on the way to their BRILLIANT girls' 5-12 department) I look at all the normal clothes (which are pretty normal) and then pass through the hideous petite section. It's like they think small people are inherently frumpy. Blerch.

    1. Interesting you say that, as I'm not a fan either but other people have commented that they do great petite jeans. Might be worth a look?

    2. Oh yeh, ok I confess, I have three pairs of those! Mainly because any jeans that include the words skinny, high rise, and size 10 (when I'm squishy short and size 12 in any other shop) gets my vote :-)

    3. I have to agree they are the only place I can get petite jeans that don't make me look like a 5 year old in my moms clothes

    4. Good tip! I shall add them to the post.

    5. Another big fan of Next petite jeans here :) Reasonable price, and this summer the only place I could get white skinny jeans (for a pirate fancy dress party, I might add) that didn't wrinkle round the ankles and weren't indecently see-through!

  4. Being only 4'10, petite sections at times aren't petite enough, i have to still get petite trousers altered which is why i mainly stick to wearing skirts and dresses. I was unaware of uniqlo's alteration, i will have to check this out. J crew do really nice petite clothing with colour choices....i always find many shops to shy away from colour for petites giving us instead black and duller shades. Great to finally see a petite post :D

    1. Aha - I hadn't realised J Crew had landed in the UK! Thanks for letting me know. And yes, Uniqlo is GREAT.

    2. Autumn I am with you all the way! I get exceedingly frustrated at petite sections where clothes are still ridiculously long on me (I'm 4'11, just). I find M&S jeans in short petite with a turn-up are just about passable, and I'm a wonder with wonderweb for hemming everything else. I do wonder why just because I am very short and a size 10, I should have to be frumpy. Will def check out J Crew for colour. There does also seem to be a petite range assumption that those of us lacking in height also lack in boobs and curves.... grrrrr!

      Look forward to more posts :)

  5. Thank you so much for this, been wishing for a petite article every time I see a tall girl treat!

    1. You're welcome, Anonymous! There'll be more to come too...

  6. Agreed - lovely to finally see a petite post on here! I think ASOS Petite is a total lifesaver for actually making interesting clothes for short girls. And thanks for the link to Tights Please - I didn't know they had a petite selection (no more hoiking in public!)

    Shameless plug for my blog on petite fashion if anyone wants to read my ranting about not being able to reach things!

    1. Oh, ace blog! Glad you agree about ASOS Petite - they are a thing of joy and wonder.

  7. There's a new website for us teeny tiny girls called Elfin ( which is at the higher end of the price bracket but specialises in new brands if that's what you want. They even stock rings in smaller sizes (though I don't see any on there at the moment).
    I would also recommend MiH Jeans for their 'Paris' style which is meant to be cropped but is the perfect length on my little legs.
    On another note, I am 5'2" and I only ever wear flat shoes (you can read about it on my blog at - shameless self-promotion there!). Don't feel like you have to make yourself taller!

    1. I LOVE YOU ENBROGUE! *falls over with excitement*

  8. Just thought I'd mention Jeetly ( a new petite clothing brand which makes lovely clothes in the UK for city girls. They allow you to vote designs out or in for each collection they design- quite a cool concept!


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