Posts Categorized: style

Reader Request: How Does Petite Sizing Work?

petite

Reader Wendy emailed me this question:

I was wondering if, at some point, you could discuss the particulars of petites. I’ve never understood whether it just applies to the length of the clothes or whether it affects the overall garment in some way. Does that make sense? I am short, but not necessarily “petite” in my frame, so sometimes petites work, but sometimes they don’t. I’d certainly appreciate it.

Great question, and one that isn’t often addressed directly. We associate the word “petite” with height, and that’s certainly a factor. But clothing that is designed for petite frames isn’t just shorter, it’s designed for a set of proportions that diverges from standard sizing in several ways:

Hems: This one, most of us know. Petite dresses and skirts have slightly higher hemlines, petite pants have shorter inseams.

Arms: Most petite clothing is designed with shorter sleeves.

Rise: Many petite pants and jeans will have a slightly shorter rise than regular sizes.

Waist: To accommodate a frame that is often more compact, petite dress waistlines are often a little higher than those of regular sized dresses.

Knees: If you’re working with a really good petite line, designers will have adjusted knee placement to suit shorter legs.

So if you’re a regular height person with a short waist, you can try buying petite tops. They’ll certainly be shorter in the body, but shortened sleeves may look a little odd on you. And if you’re over 5’4″ and your long-waistedness affects your pant hems, you might want to go with a short inseam instead of switching over to petite sizes.

My favorite resource for all things petite is Alterations Needed, followed closely by Extra PetiteCurvily and Petite Plus Meow offer great inspiration, but not as many tips and tutorials.

Let’s hear from the petites: Any other design details that are specific to petite clothing? What’s your greatest fit challenge? Which regular size garments can you wear, or tailor to wear? Let us know in the comments!

Image courtesy Old Navy.

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This Week I Love …

… Halle Berry.

For many years, I was unable to identify a style icon. I loved bits and pieces from various women’s personal styles, but I never did land on a single person who dressed exactly as I wished to. But now? It’s Halle Berry. All the way. I am yet to find someone who does creative badassery any better, and her outfits always look comfortable, chic, and re-create-able.

halle berry outfits 1

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Interesting proportions, asymmetry, amazing boots, mixed prints. Gah, I love it ALL.

halle berry outfits 2

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Variations on a (truly fabulous) theme: Leather jacket, scarf/cowl, tunic, leggings, boots. I’ve had the photo on the left in my inspiration binder for almost five years. Love those Fiorentini + Bakers.

halle berry outfits 3

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Drop-crotch pants, a studded belt, and a boatneck sweater. AMAZING. And neutrals all around, but never boring.

I’ve never cared much for red carpet style, and seldom see celebrity street style that inspires me. Halle doesn’t knock it out of the park every time, but even her oddly proportioned outfits look comfortable and interesting. She’s a stellar actress, supports 20 charities including domestic violence intervention, and at 49 pushes back on Hollywood’s tendency to ignore actresses over 40. Also? I feel like she’d be SO FUN to hang out with. And she loves French fries, so clearly we’d be friends.

Anyone else love Halle’s edgy-cool casual looks? Which one of these is your favorite?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Already Prettypoll: Dressing Rebellions

I was NOT a rebellious teen, friends. Oh so very far from it. I followed the rules, got amazing grades, and wore the same tame clothes as my equally non-rebellious friends. But now that I’m a (cough, cough) grown-up, I find myself rebelling a tiny bit more. And today is one of my big days for sartorial pushback. Just as I refuse to wear red or pink on Valentine’s Day, no one is going to force me to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. And don’t pinch me. I bite.

Do you have any dressing rebellions? Holiday-related or otherwise? Are they longstanding or recent? What caused you to want to push back?

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