I wanted to write a post to guide readers on where to shop if they tend to be on the petite side. Often times, it can be difficult for these ladies to find a dress for an event or even shop online if they’ve not tried on the specific brand before and known how it fits their body.
It stinks to forego certain brands because you know that they will just not work for you. Personally, being petite, I have stuck with a tight pool of brands due to their reliability on fitting my frame, and I wanted to share those with you.
If you have any questions about anything below or about additional brands, please feel free to reach out here, as we may be able to help!
Do you want extra styling help? Be sure to check out our services here. We can help you with a closet cleanse, style or event consult, or curate a shopping trip to find some new pieces to fit your frame.
Pros: Pants, Suits, Sweaters | Cons: Suit Sizing Hassle
J.Crew has been so reliable in all aspects. I have not tried the XXXS or 000, so I cannot speak to those sizes. The XXS and 00 have worked well for me.
PANTS: The only pants I wear are from here. Clearly (see below), pants have been an issue, so when I found some that finally worked, I stocked up in different colours and have made sure to take super good care of them (more on that below.) The pants that have been great for me are the Minnie and the Pixie.
The Minnie is a cropped stretchy cotton pant that can be dressed up or down. They’re especially wonderful if you are on the short side (because of the crop) but have a butt. I got them in 00. I wear them regularly to work and wore them to class. They’re also great to transition to happy hour in. I would say they fall in the business casual category, so defer to suit pants if you need to dress business professional. The tag says to dry clean, but I launder my own. I wash one pair inside out on its own on delicate cycle with cold water. I then hang dry — do not put in the dryer, as they will shrink and show wear. I’ve had my Minnies since college and they’re all still in excellent condition. The Minnie has now been replaced by the Martie.
The Pixie is a stretchy structured legging. It’s SUPER comfortable and is a bit more formal than a typical legging because of its structuring. Also a good fit if you have a butt. It honestly looks great on everyone! The Pixie tends to run longer, so I got the 00S (standing for 00 Short.) Due to the structured nature, I sometimes can get away with wearing it to the office if I have a longer top on. It’s also great for going out. DO NOT wash the Pixies yourself. Get them dry cleaned every so often — you will completely lose the structure if you wash them yourself. Once they are dry cleaned, they get their tightness and structured back, which looks really great. has now been replaced by the Any Day Pant in Stretch Ponte.
SUITS: Suits have been a challenge for me to find. J.Crew solved that problem with their Super 120s collection. However, I had to go into their petite sizing for suits, which are typically not in stores. I recommend ordering a few different sizes online for trial and error to figure out what works for you, and then send back what didn’t fit. I have two suit sets (three piece: blazer, pants, skirt, so you can make two suits out of one set) from here that are the same style. However, in one I am a 00P and the other I am a 0P. Hence, trial and error is your best friend here. Also, I chose to go with the cropped sleeve for the blazers and cropped leg for the pants so I was not swimming in them. The Super 120s collection is being phased out, so I would recommend the Parke blazer for the blazer, the Petite pencil skirt in Italian two-way stretch wool for the pencil skirt, and the Petite French girl slim crop pant in 365 crepe for pants.
SWEATERS: The Tilly is fabulous for petites due to its cropped sleeves and fitted look. It has since been renamed to the ‘Merino wool crewneck sweater.’ The Tippi is pretty much the same but with long sleeves. It comes in a myriad of colours, so if it works for you as a basic, stock up. The XXS has been good for me in J.Crew sweaters.
If you want to try the models I have (Minnie, Pixie, and Super 120s collection), hunt around on Poshmark or eBay. I can speak to these models, but not to their replacements.
Also, do not buy anything full price at J.Crew! EVERYTHING eventually goes on sale, and there is always a 10%-15% discount you can get if you sign up through e-mail.
Pros: Dresses, Shorts, Skirts | Cons: Pants
Lilly has overall been pretty spectacular, but particularly reliable in dresses (check out our post on classic Lilly dresses here, which are all perfect for petites!)
Lilly’s shift dresses seem to be flattering on just about everyone, and look absolutely incredible on petites. Same goes for Lilly’s more formal dresses (great for weddings, sorority recruitment, etc.) When in doubt, I’ve always leaned on Lilly for an event dress.
Lilly is also very good for shorts; plus, the shorts are modest.
However, the pants have unfortunately not fit me well.
I have gone with the smallest sizes (XXS and 00), and once and awhile will get one size up (XS and 0) (usually for a blazer.) The size difference between these two is not dramatic.
There is tons (I mean TONS) of Lilly resale through Poshmark, eBay, and Re-Lilly on Facebook. Don’t bother paying full price, as you can find new through one of these mediums.
Pros: Dresses, Blazers, Skirts | Cons: Pants
BCBG is also reliable in the dress (and gown) category. Since BCBG has A LOT of formal dresses and gowns for all different occasions, BCBG is especially solid to check out. BCBG is great for galas, weddings, black ties, etc.
I have also tried BCBG’s blazers (great for work, happy hour, etc.!), skirts, and tops. All have fit me extremely well.
Again, the pants have not worked on me.
I have always been the smallest size (XXS and 00) in BCBG and have not tried the next size up (XS and 0.)
Sail to Sable
Pros: Tunic Dress, Blazers, Rompers | Cons: None
Sail to Sable is a sweet brand born out east (we did a Designer Feature on Sail to Sable!)
STS’ classic tunic dress has always been super dependable and cute — so much so that I have several of them.
Also, STS has awesome blazers and rompers.
I have always been the smallest size (XXS and 00) in STS. I tried a size up (XS and 0) once, and I was flooding in it.
I’d recommend dry cleaning all STS products due to the fabric their made out of and the way they are structured. It’s worth it.
Never buy anything full price at STS! Sign up for their emails, as they always have huge sales, including big warehouse sales. Everything eventually goes on sale.
Pros: Price Point, Trend Pieces | Con: Quality
Missguided is super affordable. There are always major sales going on, and its very on-trend so it’s a great place to get trend pieces. Just be aware that you’re getting what you pay for. Everything I’ve gotten from Missguided actually fits quite small, so I’d recommend ordering a size up from what you’re used to.
Keepsake The Label
Pro: Quality | Con: None
I learned about Keepsake in 2015 after buying one of their dresses that I call my “cartoon dress” (this one!) — the outfit I’d want to always have on if I were in a cartoon. It fit AMAZINGLY and its quality was one of the best I’ve ever felt. Keepsake loves to use thick fabrics that add fashion-forward structure and folds.
Keepsake tends to run small, so I am a small in all of their clothing aside from skirts and shorts, which I wear a XS in.
Keepsake is a small Australian label that can be found at some different retailers, but I always buy mine off of Poshmark or eBay because I find unique pieces from older collections that I haven’t seen before.
Kate Spade New York
Pros: Dresses, Sweaters | Con: Everything Else
In my opinion, Kate Spade actually runs quite big. Kate Spade is all about structure, but the structure often makes one look very boxy. However, her pieces are beautiful and the quality is to die for.
Kate Spade dresses are FABULOUS for petites if you defer to a smaller size. I have tried a XS and 0 before, and they are vastly different than the size below. Kate Spade sweaters also fit flatteringly for petites.
However, beware of their pants, as they run big, and their skirts, as they run long.
Also, never buy from the store — you can always find it at over 75% off on Poshmark or eBay.