5 Clothing Items You Need If You're Petite, Stylists Say

These expert-approved pieces will flatter your frame rather than overwhelming it.

Ask any stylist about the key to looking put-together and they'll say dressing for your body. That's especially crucial if you're petite: The wrong clothing can drown you in fabric, creating a rather unflattering look. And this is exactly why we consulted stylists to find out the best petite clothing items to add to your wardrobe.

"Finding clothes that fit well, especially on the shoulders and waist, can be a challenge for petite individuals," explains fashion designer Sunica Du. "Many designs cater to average or taller individuals."

Joe Manktelow-Pimm, a style expert and editor of 7Gents, notes that it's not just the standard hemlines that are too long on petite people. The proportions in general tend to be not quite right—with shoulder seams falling in the wrong place, and sleeves hitting below the wrist, for example.

With all that in mind, here are some essential petite-friendly pieces that stylists recommend adding to your wardrobe stat.

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1
High-waisted pants

Beautiful stylish woman in fashionable clothes look in a beige Down-padded coat jacket, a knitted vintage Pullover and blue classic jeans stands near a wooden wall.
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Whether you're shopping for jeans, leggings, or trousers, make sure to consider the rise. As a general rule, higher rises tend to be more flattering on petite bodies.

"A pair of high-waisted pants can elongate your legs and create a balanced silhouette," says Du. When styling these pants, experts advise tucking in your tops to enhance the lengthening effect.

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2
Tailored blazer

woman in blazer and jeans
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Jasmine Charbonier, the style and travel blogger behind Your Tampa Bestie, says a tailored blazer is a must in every petite closet. Specifically, she recommends looking for one with slim lapels and unpadded shoulders that won't overwhelm your petite figure.

"A well-fitted blazer defines your waist and adds structure to your frame," adds Du. "For a streamlined look, select a blazer that ends at the hip and pair it with a monochrome outfit. You can keep blazers unbuttoned to create a vertical line down the center of the body."

Monica Liang, a fashion and style expert and founder of Vain Affair, recommends looking for a blazer with vertical pinstripes to visually elongate your torso.

RELATED: 6 Jean Jacket Styling Tips If You're Over 60, According to Stylists.

3
Midi dress

A mature woman with short blonde hair wearing a brown leather dress and red heels against a light brown background.
NeonShot / iStock

Maxi dresses can be tricky if you're petite—which is why Amrita Harbajan, a certified image consultant and style blogger, advises going for midi dresses instead.

These dresses, which hit somewhere between right below the knee and the mid-calf, are the perfect length for showing off some cute footwear and flattering your narrow frame.

More specifically, Charbonier recommends a wrap dress in a solid color, which is not only timeless and elegant but also cinches the smallest part of your waist. She suggests styling your midi dresses with nude shoes that match your skin tone, which will create the illusion of a longer leg.

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4
Trench coat

woman wearing neutral colored coat
LightFieldStudios / iStock

It could be argued that everyone should have a trench coat in their closet, regardless of their body type. This classic piece of outerwear never goes out of style and can be worn in every season for almost any occasion.

If you're petite, though, there are a couple of important considerations to make. Look for a three-quarter length coat, says Charbonier, which will hit right at the mid-thigh. A standard-length trench coat, which is meant to hit right below the knee, may fall closer to the bottom of your calf and look too bulky on your frame.

Charbonier also strongly recommends seeking out a trench with a belt, which will define and accentuate your waist.

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5
Ankle-length skinny jeans

Close-up of a woman in a green coat and jeans sitting on the beach in winter
progressman / Shutterstock

"If you're petite, take advantage of your ability to pull off cropped lengths more easily," says Charbonier, who recommends investing in a pair of ankle-length skinny or straight-leg jeans. "The cropped length flatters and creates a leg-lengthening illusion," she explains.

For a polished look, pair your jeans with a low heel or pointy flat, and a top that's either cropped right to the waistband or tucked in.

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Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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