Where to Shop When You’re Petite
Updated: Apr 16
So I’m 5’2” which puts me into the category of petite (In fashion, petite clothing is geared towards people who are 5’4” and under). Petite clothing isn’t always just about less height - the proportions of garments are changed a little: narrower shoulders seams, repositioned waist and adjusted neckline.
When I was younger the only place that I remember carried petite was “adult” stores like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. While now I’m at an age that I do sometimes like their pieces, I figured I would let you know how I manage to shop “petite” without a specialized store.
The Kids Section
While I’m not advocating for the flippy sequin shirts that are all over the kids department nowadays, shopping in the kids section of stores is something I do very often if the ladies department XS is still too big.
The trick to this is making sure you’re checking all the little design details: oftentimes kids clothes have a weird embroidered patch or extra bows, so I just check everything a little more thoroughly to make sure it doesn’t scream “JUNIOR”. I found in general I range from a size 10-11 years to 14+ years in girls clothing.
Some of my favourite kids sections to check are Zara, the Gap, Iviva (Lululemon’s kids activewear brand) and obviously, the thrift store. One thing to note: pants aren’t really an option because kids clothing aren’t cut for someone with hips. So I tend to stick with outerwear, dresses and tops.
Bonus: kids clothing is taxed less and is usually priced cheaper than women’s - so you’re saving a few bucks too!
While Aritzia is crazy stupid expensive (in my opinion - especially after you check the fabric content and it’s 100% polyester), they do have some gems and they do size down to an XXS. While the XXS size does help with petite shopping, the proportions of that size doesn’t change to accommodate a petite figure: so some things still might not work. You might run into the issue of needing to shorten some hems or necklines that are just way too low. But, other than that, it’s nice to shop at a place that has smaller sizing that carries current and modern clothing.
When shopping at Aritzia, I’m a huge stickler for checking the care instructions (I’m not about to dry clean a t-shirt) as well as the material content (polyester? That’s a no from me). What I really do love is their tailored trousers and blazers, as well as their linen pieces in the summertime. I think those items are worth the spurge because of the versatility and the quality behind the fabrication.
The Thrift Store
Ethical, sustainable and budget-friendly. I’ve saved the best for last guys! The thrift store is an amazing place to find petite-friendly clothing. Think about the oh-so-many pre-shrunk sweaters that’ll fit you to a T!
While digging through the thrift store is much more work to find a gem - it’s a fun activity to do with friends! Like I mentioned earlier, don’t forget the kids section - girls and boys. The boys section usually has amazing Levis jeans that’ll be cute ankle-grazers on your petite stature, vintage looking bomber jackets and graphic Ts that aren’t ridiculously oversized.
When checking the girls section: be sure to be thorough! I find that my local thrift stores almost always misplace small looking women’s crop tops in the girls t-shirt section - so you get to score because you’re the only adult looking for them there!
And if you’re not into digging through everything - you can always check consignment or curated thrift stores near you. My personal favourite is Plato’s Closet. It’s great because they do the searching for you!
Any tips on finding petite clothing that works for you? Please share!!! I’d love to expand my petite-shopping horizons.