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What does petite mean in the fashion industry?

What does petite mean in the fashion industry?

The Misconception Of Being Petite

Many people have this misconception about the definition of petite. A common misconception is that to be petite, you have to be small and weigh 100 pounds. However, we are referencing what petite means to the fashion industry. Petite means clothing for women that are under 5’ 4” (163 cm) and under.

In other words, it means you are a short woman. Therefore, your body type does not determine if you are petite, but it is your height that determines if you are petite. From my experience with talking to most women, they don't even realize that they are classified as being petite.

So, if you are 5’ 4” and under then you are classified as petite. Therefore, it does not matter if your body type is small, mid-size, curvy or plus size. I am pear-shaped which means I'm naturally curvy and I am still a petite woman because I am 5' 2" (157.5 cm).


Do I Need To Wear A Petite Size? 

To answer this question, let us talk about a few criteria that will help you to determine if you should wear a petite size:

  • Most petite women tend to have shorter arms.
  • Many petite women have narrower shoulders.
  • Most petite women have shorter torsos.

Although these are some factors to help you to decide if you should wear petite clothing. This also isn't the only deciding factors either. It is truly your decision if you want to try clothing that is made for petites.

Why Are Short Women So Apprehensive?

Short women are often apprehensive to wear petite clothing because they believe that the clothing will resemble high waters on them. However, this is not the case. I believe that wearing petite clothing will help you to avoid wearing clothes that do not fit you properly.

Petite clothing are made to fit your height at the perfect length for your petite stature. They will not look like high waters, but they will enhance your petite frame and make you look more polished.  As an added bonus, you won't need to alter your clothes as often or wear heels constantly to make up for your clothes dragging on the ground.

Can I Wear Petite Clothing If I Am Taller Than 5’ 4” (163 cm)?

Believe it or not, women who are taller than 5’ 4” can also wear petite clothing depending on their structure. Within the fashion industry, most designers design petite clothing based off women who are either 5' 3" or 5' 5".

So even women who are 5' 5" are also classified as petite women. If you are taller than 5’ 4”, but have a shorter torso or narrow shoulders, then wearing a petite top might be a better fit for you.

A taller woman could also have a longer torso and shorter legs which could require her to wear petite pants. If you are taller than what is considered petite, be opened to trying petite items especially if you are still struggling to find clothes to fit you properly.

Can I Wear Average Size Clothes?

Being petite does not mean you can't wear average size clothes. If you have a longer torso or longer arms, then you may want to consider an average size as an option. I often wear average size clothing in certain tops like sweaters or pants depending on the style I'm trying to achieve. 

Are Inseams Important For Petite Women?

First, let us look at the definition of an inseam. According to


[ in-seem ]


an inside or inner seam of a garment, especially the seam of a trouser leg that runs from the crotch down to the bottom of the leg.

For petite women, the average inseam is 27 to 28 inches for pants and jumpsuits. When purchasing online, knowing the inseams will help you to determine if the length will fit you properly.

As the owner of Charrish11 Boutique, I include the inseams on the product descriptions to assist with your purchasing decision. 

What If You Are Pear Shaped or Hourglass Shaped?

Finding clothes to fit as a petite is already challenging, but what if you have a pear shaped body or hourglass body?

Having a curvy body type can be somewhat a challenge, but wearing a petite size can ensure that the proportions will compliment your curvy petite frame.

At Charrish11 Boutique, we carry fun and fashion forward styles that will complement the pear shaped body and the hourglass body.  As a curvy petite woman, I hand select our items to ensure they complement your shape as well as your height. 

What If You Are Petite Plus Size?

Yes, ladies, petite plus size does exist. However, finding a company that offers petite plus sizes is a rarity.

Plus size clothing is popular and the demand is high, but how many times have you purchased an item as a petite plus size woman and the pants were way too long or the maxi dress you adored dragged to the floor?

At Charrish11 Boutique, our plus-size clothing will fit our petite plus-size women. We removed the guesswork for our plus size petites. You can feel confident that our clothes will fit you properly, and will also complement your curves.

But I Still Like Shopping In The Junior Section

I have shopped in the junior section out of desperation to find clothes to fit me. Ladies, the junior section is geared towards the teenage demographic and we as petite women already find it difficult for people to take us seriously at times.

My advice is to stop shopping in the junior section and buy clothes that cater to petites. 


When you are petite, try petite clothing first to find your best fit then move on to standard sizes if you are still having trouble finding clothes to fit you properly.

You do not have to be petite to wear petite clothing because it all depends on your frame and what style you are trying to achieve. Knowing how to style your body type is key to finding clothes for your petite frame. 



  • Brandi Cowan -

    You are very thorough!! I like the way you break everything down! Thank you for helping us out!!!

  • Lalaunie -

    This is good! Petite clothes is not usually something us thick-short girls even consider is for us. Thanks for giving us the tea!

  • Abigail Santiago -

    Such amazing information!

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