The Petite Girl's Guide To Stress-Free Shopping

The sartorial woes of the fun-sized girl are many, so we're taking on the gripes, dreams, and — in some illuminating cases — hacks that make shopping-while-tiny the intense effort that it is.

You cuff every pair of pants you own, and can't buy anything off the rack without considering the extra expense of alterations. Clothes look oversized that aren't meant to. You dream of wearing a maxi-dress and sandals, but can't fathom doing so without platform heels. If this all sounds familiar, chances are you stand at that knee-high-to-a-model cutoff of 5-foot-4 or under, which retailers refer to as "petite."

This writer stands proudly at 4-foot-11 (and a half!), and is always on standby to talk height-related shopping complaints. One is that "petite" is a peculiar category, because it spans all body types: You can be petite with long legs, or be short all over, or have broad shoulders, or have curvy hips.

But, there are some general clothing problems that petites of all forms suffer. We spoke to experts at some of our favorite brands: Christina Frederick, customer styling director of Anthropologie; Yael Aflalo, CEO and founder of Reformation (and mastermind behind the Don't Call Me Cute collection), and Isabella Thordsen, a stylist at ASOS. They gave us the low-down on what silhouettes flatter, which cuts work best on a smaller frame, and — drumroll, please — how to make maxi-skirts work.

Ahead, we tackle six problem areas for petite shoppers, from pants to outerwear, and provide the market solutions to solve them. But, we're just scratching the surface here. If you have any pieces you struggle with, silhouettes you've been dying to try, or life-changing tips and tricks — we want to hear 'em! So, read ahead, and leave us a note with your own petite hopes, dreams, or dilemmas. We've got you.

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