Tuesday, March 23, 2010

#1 Petite Misconception

Petite in the clothing industry does not mean thin,  it ...  means short ;-)

Source: Sarah Jessica Parker 5'4" via Petite Resource

The #1 misconception surrounding the words "Petite Woman" is that we are tiny, thin women with waif-like bodies.  The reality is that only 8% of all petite women weigh 100lbs (45kg) or less.

"Petite refers to an all over proportioning of the body from head-to-toe, not left to right. A petite woman can have the same bust and hip measurements as someone much taller but is challenged to find clothing that fits because of her shorter body frame".  Kim Williams Dahlman of Bella Petite

 These models are realistic examples of the average Petite body
Source: V-magazine

Being short (5'4" and under) means that we Petites are always aiming to look taller. And when we are a little heavier than our ideal weight we also want to minimise our weight, visually.  Its all about accentuating the positives and de-emphasizing the negatives. 

Source: Lane Bryant

It's a fact that my body weight fluctuates by approx. 11lbs (5kg) at different times of the year namely at Christmas and during winter. I've just come to the realisation that I need different size clothing in my wardrobe. Yes, really!  In the past I would just tough-it-out until I had lost the extra weight.  This is definitely not good for the soul. Toughing-it-out-times are when I lose confidence and generally do not feel good about myself.  So, no more! I am going to concede that my body actually changes from time to time and take the right action to make sure I stay feeling good.

Better choices
To stay feeling good I realise I will need to be vigilant against impulse shopping and choose clothes and colours that highlight my positives and camouflage my not-so-perfect areas.  

Source: JC Penney

... and I'm going to be a good girl and persist in the Petite Departments because I may just save a little money on alterations!

Petite jackets are cut shorter

Petite arm lengths are shorter and armholes are cut higher

Source: Lane Bryant
Petite dresses and skirts are cut shorter

Source: Lane Bryant
Petite trousers are shorter in the rise and in the leg

I will let you know how I progress.  I'd love to hear about your experiences with Petite Sizing, so please  leave a comment if you have a moment. 


  1. Very true - petite to retailers just means short, which is unfortunate since so many petite lines don't start small enough for the thin petites. I remember suit shopping at JCPenny many, many years back and everything started at 2P.

  2. I tell short women all the time that by fashion industry standards, they're petite, and they look at me like I'm crazy! We need a petite fit education revolution. =)


Thank you for your comment.