How I Find The Best Petite Clothes In The Kids' Section

Photo: Courtesy of Lacoste.
As someone who is very petite, I’ve been shopping in the children’s department out of necessity for most of my life. In fact, I’ve never been able to buy a heavy-duty winter coat straight off the rack...until I came across an amazing shearling topper in the kids’ section at a Burberry outlet store last year.

But the secret is that even if you’re taller than 5 feet, it’s still worth taking a peek at the children's department these days, because designers and brands are offering some well-made, sophisticated clothing at amazing price points. (It’s not unusual to see cashmere sweaters, leather shorts, and shirting made from fancy European fabrics in some of these collections for a fraction of what their full-sized counterparts cost.) Granted, you’ll have more luck fitting into some of these pieces if you’re on the shorter side and are of average or slim build, but a handful of labels go up to size 18 youth, which can work up to a woman's size 4. If you're up for it, here are the brands to start exploring.

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Burberry’s iconic cotton twill trench coats are practically a steal if you can fit into their children’s sizes, which range from 4 to 14 (the boys’ styles are usually cut slightly bigger), but less well-known are the great leather jackets and wool coats that look like carbon copies of the label's runway outerwear. This double-breasted coat comes in a wool-cashmere blend and features some spiffy looking military-inspired hardware.

Burberry Regimental Detail Wool Cashmere Blend Coat, $595, available at Burberry.
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Most of the pieces from J.Crew’s kids' label, Crewcuts, are realistically too cutesy and embellished for an adult to rock. But if you’re looking for luxe takes on basics, such as nautical tees and cashmere sweaters, the line offers reliable classics at a more-than-fair price point, and goes up to size 16.

Crewcuts
Kids’ Italian Cashmere Zip-Front Hoodie, $168, available at J.Crew.
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It’s possibly the most unfortunate (or memorable, depending on your perspective) brand name, but Finger In the Nose is a beloved boutique brand for children from France. The clothes are minimalist but chic, and these leather shorts go up to youth size 16!

Finger In The Nose
Holiday Lamb Leather Shorts, $135, available at Smallable.
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Brooks Brothers definitely leans more classic than fashion-forward, but the price is pretty much unbeatable for quality suiting. Like all Brooks Brothers suiting, the jackets and sport coats from the boys’ line are well-tailored and made from durable, timeless fabrics. Sizes go all the way up to XL, or 18 to 20 kids, which would fit someone whose torso measurements are 35.5-inch chest, 29.5-inch waist, and 38-inch hips.

Brooks Brothers
Corduroy Sport Coat, $168, available at Brooks Brothers.
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If you’ve always had trouble fitting into conventional dress shirts or are looking for a small but boxier fit, try the sharp shirting from Crewcuts’ collaboration with iconic English textile mill Thomas Mason. The largest size, 16 boys, is designed for someone who is up to 68 inches tall, or 5-foot-8!

Crewcuts Boys’ Thomas Mason Ludlow Shirt, $85, available at J.Crew.
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If you’re looking for classic preppy pieces or athletics-inspired separates, I’ve always found Lacoste’s children’s line to offer good value and nice, punchy colors. None of the collection is quite as trendy as Lacoste’s runway line, but on the plus side, every piece is available up to a generous size 16.

Lacoste Kid’s Jersey Pique Polo With Contrast Sleeves, $65, available at Lacoste.
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Stella McCartney’s kids' offerings only go up to size 14, and the cut is on the slimmer fitting side, but if the measurements work for you, expect to find incredibly playful treasures every season. Some of the trendiest-yet-not-twee designer childrens wear out there, her collection is one of my favorites if I’m looking for something extra whimsical that won’t fall apart with frequent wear.

Stella McCartney Pink Reeve Tiger Face Print Sweater, $105, available at Stella McCartney.
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