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It keeps us up at night… why is shopping for fashionable petite clothing brands so hard?

Petite is defined, albeit loosely, as anyone below the height of 5ft 4inches. So, you might be surprised to know that according to the Office of National Statistics the average height of women in the UK is actually 5ft 3in. With the average woman in the UK actually considered ‘petite,’ petite women aren’t actually ‘other’. They’re the norm. So why, then, does shopping for petite clothing brands feel like such a lucky dip? It’s just not good enough to have buy something of ‘average’ fit and chop off the hems or visit a seamster for alterations.

Kate Hutchins is a content creator and is 5’4″ tall. She knows the struggle is real. “It is so important for petite women to have access to petite clothing ranges – typically our proportions are different to the standard model sizes brands will use. It’s the things you wouldn’t necessarily think about – the length of a sleeve or how a top or blazer fits on a shorter torso. For example, a regular size blouse may look drop waisted on a petite woman if the sizing isn’t adjusted to fit.”

And while we love an oversized fit, when it’s intentionally done, clothes that swamp a smaller body just don’t look chic. From cuffs that hang over your hands, fitted shirts that don’t fit and knee-rips in jeans that sit over your shins, wearing clothes that fit is a short cut to looking chic. Kate says, “I often have to get my clothes tailored to ensure pieces fit properly. I would love to see more petite ranges – well-fitting clothing is a small detail in an outfit that makes a huge difference. Not only visually making the look seem more expensive, but also for me, making me feel more confident and comfortable.”

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Ahead, the best petite clothing brands that we really rate.

Our go to site for pretty much everything, you already know that ASOS stocks almost every brand on the high street and their in-house range, ASOS Design, is completely chic. ASOS’s own Petite line has over 1000 pieces online rn with everything from baggy cargo pants to sequin trousers, wedding guest-worthy dresses to simple slips. They run from sizes 2-16.

Petite Mix & Match Slim Boy Suit Blazer In Plum

Petite Denim Racer Dress With Heart Embellishment In Blue

There isn’t a huge array of petite pieces at Boden but we’ve found some excellent items that will become wardrobe staples if you’re petite. Available in sizes 6-16

Boden Knot Detail Jersey Midi Skirt

Boden Double Breasted Twill Blazer

The classic high street brand from the Noughties was a gateway to our grown-up fashion habit. Miss Selfridge is back on ASOS serving super sweet, trend-led pieces, and the dedicated petite offering comes in sizes 4-16.

Miss Selfridge Nylon Waisted Jumpsuit In Dusky Pink

Miss Selfridge Petite Fringe Shacket In Camel

Ok, talk about iconic. Topshop Petite is the ultimate one-stop shop for all things cool. The denim offering is legendary but from swimwear to party dresses, whatever you’re looking for Topshop will have it, in sizes 4-18.

Topshop Scoop Back Crinkle Swimsuit In Green

Topshop Casual Cargo Dungaree Jumpsuit

We’re currently all over Free People for their retro bohemian vibe that’s ideal for helping us live out our Daisy Jones and The Six fashion fantasies. The denim section is where you’ll find our favourite pieces for women looking for petite jeans and petite denim brands. Look out for the items that come with choices of inseam length. Denim goes from size 24-33 with a short inseam perfect for petite women.

Free People CRVY Siren Low-Rise Straight Jeans

Free People Just Float On Flare Jeans

The poster brand for sustainable fashion, Reformation has a dedicated hub for all things petite tagged “goodbye tailor.” They get it. And while it’s lovely to have things made semi-bespoke, sometimes you just want to buy the thing and wear it immediately! Reformation Petite runs in sizes 4-16 and is a dream destination for considerately made garments that think about the planet in their production.

Reformation Petites Vesta Pant

Reformation Petites Layla Silk Skirt

H&M don’t have a dedicated petite line but their sportswear, which comes in sizes xs-xl, does come in petite cuts. The length of sleeves on the tops and jackets mean your hands won’t be flapping under excess fabric when you’re trying to swing a kettlebell.

H&M DryMove™ Petite Fit Seamless Sports Top

H&M SoftMove™ Petite Fit Sports Jacket

Best for sustainable basics and classic wardrobe builders, you won’t find any crazy trends at Everlane (that’s a good thing.) What you will find are some jeans that come in shorter lengths – there is a 26.5inch inseam on some styles.

Everlane The Original Cheeky® Jean

Everlane The Curvy ’90s Cheeky® Jean

A gem of a brand we spotted on ASOS, the vibe is fancy, dressy and occasion-worthy. Although it’s obviously up to you how you style it, the patterns and embellishments feel ideal for date night, weddings and cocktails with the girls. Available in sizes 6-16.

Y.A.S. Petite Knitted Maxi Dress In Multicoloured Stripe

Y.A.S. Petite Embroidered Maxi Dress In Cream

Sleek, chic and available in sizes 6-16, Vila has a similar mood to Y.A.S (these are special pieces you’ll wear to show off in) but at a more accessible price point.

Vila Petite Tailored Blazer

Vila Petite Satin Cami Midi Dress With Tie Back In Dusty Pink

Beyond basics, this petite clothing brand runs from size 4-16 and caters to a more weekend-y, casual vibe. This Spring the cargo trousers became a viral hit on TikTok and the size guide on their site shares exactly how long the leg lengths are for each size item.

Bershka Petite Wide Leg Slouchy Dad Tailored Trousers In Mushroom

Bershka Petite Oversized Blazer In Camel

In our investigations, we’ve found the most established British High Street brands are some of the best at offering petite clothing options. They’ve long known the stats about the average height of the UK woman, obviously. River Island is one of our faves for dressy pieces, in sizes 4-16.

River Island Petite Blue Boucle Dogtooth Blazer

River Island Petite Black Denim Belted Tapered Jumpsuit

Known for their flirty, fun dresses and cheerful array of prints and patterns, Nobody’s Child focuses on sustainability in their fabric choices. Their petite dresses come in sizes 6-18 and are cut for women 5’3″ and under.

Nobody’s Child Frill Midaxi Dress In Lilac

Nobody’s Child Petite Pink & Orange Gingham Kylie Mini Smock Dress In Organic Cotton

We applaud the fact that M&S has remembered that you can be petite in height and plus in dress size at the same time. The jeans and trousers are available in petite sizes 6-24 – we love to see it.

Side Stripe Wide Leg Trousers

A fresh launch for 2023, we’re thrilled that Whistles is bringing its contemporary, cool styling to petite women – in sizes 4-20 (yes!) made from considered fabrics. There isn’t a vast range but we’d rather see an excellent edit of pieces we absolutely want to wear than pages of overproduced garments that could never be sustainable.

Whistles Alana Denim Jumpsuit

Whistles Authentic Hollie Button Jean

Our go-to when we want looks that pull us together, sartorially, Kate is also a fan of Reiss’s Petite offering, which is designed for women under 5’3″. “Reiss also has an extensive range of petite options which is fab because at a higher price point you want to have that good fit.” Available in sizes 4-16

Reiss Odell Wide Leg Pull-On Trousers

New Look’s petite clothing range comes in size 4-16 and while they tick off all the trends, they carry some useful foundation pieces too. The prices are some of the lowest on the high street.

New Look Co-ord Cropped Top With Tie Shoulders In Black Lemon Print

New Look Stone High Waist Cuffed Cargo Trousers

Bright colour and sharp shapes characterise Extro & Vert’s petite offering. In sizes 6-16 these are statement pieces that won’t need a trip to the tailor before you wear them.

Extro & Vert Fitted Mini Blazer Dress In Rust

Extro & Vert Utility Jumpsuit In Hot Pink

Designed for women under 5’3″ Karen Millen Petite carries the same luxurious and sleek mood from it’s mainline through to the petite options, available in sizes 4-16. We particularly love the tailored workwear and smart trench coat that are signatures of the brand.

Karen Millen Petite Clean Tailored Waistcoat

Karen Millen Button Detail Colour Block Detail Trench Coat

Our current favourite site for *add to basket* appeal, Warehouse offers petite clothing cut for women 5’3″ and under, in sizes 4-16. Everything onsite ticks off this season’s trends and we are particular fans of the sparkly, metallic fabrics that feel extra-special.

Warehouse Petite Sparkle Plunge Gathered Waist Maxi Dress

Warehouse Single Breasted Blazer

Kate Hutchins relies on petite brands and rates Abercrombie & Fitch. “They are *great* for including petite sizes on the majority of their bottoms and even dresses too – it really is a game changer.” The collection comes in sizes XXS-XXL and the Long-Sleeve Satin Drapey Shirt Dress comes in three lengths.

Long-Sleeve Satin Drapey Shirt Dress

For bridesmaid dresses, wedding guest *lewks*, statement pieces and fancy ‘fits in general, Coast is a must shop. The petite collection comes in sizes 4-18.

Coast Hand Stitched 3d Floral Bodice Full Skirt Midi Dress

Coast Petite Corset Detail Midi Dress

Acai is disrupting the average activewear options, which are based on ‘pink-ing and shrinking’ best-selling menswear pieces. (Hey, we’re in 2023?) Instead, they focus on outdoor-wear designed for women’s bodies – and that include every woman’s body. The leggings and trousers come in four leg lengths between 26-36 inches and waist measurements from 24-40. Seriously, game-changing.

Thermal Skinny Outdoor Trousers – Forest Green

The Skinny Outdoor Jeans – Dark Blue Denim

Read more from Glamour UK Fashion Director at large Alex Fullerton here or follow her on Instagram @alexandrafullerton

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