Imagine this: You purchase a black button-up shirt online in a size small, your usual size. You're super pumped to wear it to Karen's birthday dinner, only to find that when it arrives, it's way too long. The shirt goes all the way down to your mid-thigh and the sleeves swallow your arms (kind of like the wacky inflatable tube man with disproportionately long sleeves, *ahem). You try to tuck it in and roll up the sleeves, but it ends up being too annoying to wear more than once and you give it away to a friend.
Relatable? Same. Because it’s happened to me.
That's when I learned that even though my alleged "new favorite shirt" was a size small, a petite woman's body is way different than an average woman's body. It seems simple, but this fact is so important for women to be aware of when shopping for themselves. Next time you're out and about or sitting on your couch shopping online, remember these useful tidbits:
The word ‘petite’ in the fashion world refers to sizing and proportions specific to women who are 5'4" and under. Basically, it's your favorite clothes only shorter in length in certain sections, and proportionately designed in others. Well-designed petite clothing uses styles that elongate the legs, avoid drowning your shorter frame, and ultimately, are flattering on the petite figure.
Misconception: ‘Petite’ doesn't mean the person is small or tiny weight-wise. A woman can be both petite and plus-sized. It has nothing to do with weight - it's all about that 5'4 and under glory!
The Differences Between Petite Clothing and Regular Clothing
Fit differences: These include shorter pant rise and inseam, hemlines, and sleeves, as well as higher armholes and waistlines. Throwing a tuck here or a hem there makes all the difference.
You gotta have the fit: Your clothing size isn’t the only thing you should consider. Body measurements are key. That little size and measurement chart you may be disregarding? Read it! Compare your body measurements to the brand’s measurements to ensure a proper fit.
Reach new heights in style: Itching for that extra metaphorical inch? Slits on maxi dresses, high-waisted bottoms, fitted styles that aren't too baggy, smaller prints, vertical stripes, and monochrome 'fits give the illusion of looking taller.
And...when you’re 5’4" and under, you’ll take all the illusions you can get. Just sayin’.
While not every store has a petite option, I highly suggest you look for ones that do. Clothes that are made for shorter frames look so much more put together. The right fit truly adds an edge of sophistication to everything you throw on.
At Unseam the Label, we put our focus first and foremost on petite proportions and fit. But, we are also all about sustainability and producing our garments ethically - because you shouldn’t have to choose.