A big heeeeeeyyyyyy to all my fellow shorties out there! It can be both fun and frustrating being small sometimes, I get it. I’m here to help! Well, from a fashion perspective that is. Being 5 foot 2 (technically 5 foot 1 and ¾ but I’m rounding up, okay??) can make it a bit difficult to find clothing that does not need to be tailored – and it’s even harder when you are also quite little round the middle. For those of us who are not long-legged Amazonian Goddesses (but Goddesses nonetheless), shopping can be a pain. There’s pants that need to be double or even TRIPLE cuffed up at the bottom, pants that fit everywhere but the waist, dresses that are too long in the torso which makes the neckline go way too deep, and shirts that are basically dresses. To avoid these pitfalls, I have some key places that I shop, and some tips that I find work wonders when hunting for some new clothes.
The first thing that you need to do before even beginning to shop, is measure yourself; measure your natural waist, hips, bum, chest, shoulders, arms, legs, and neck. Knowing these numbers is crucial for any kind of shopping that you’re going to do, and it makes a huge difference when purchasing things online. Once you know your measurements, take a look at some of your favourite stores online, and look at the size guide. Typically the guide will include an average measurement for each area that you’ve now measured, and you can cross reference these numbers to see how the fit would be. I tend to pre-shop online to get an idea of what is out there before hitting the shops in person.
Another thing I tend to do is to do a non-buying shop day when there are new silhouettes on-trend at the time. For example, when culottes first made their 2017 debut, I was hesitant. I did not think it would suit someone with short legs, but I threw my presumptions in the trash where they belonged, and did a try-on day. I essentially go into a mall with a number of stores that are on-trend, and I try on every variation I can find of the current silhouettes and styles that are making their debuts in magazines and stores. I never buy on this day, I simply find out if I like that style, if it suits my body, and if it would make me happy. I tend to wait until there are a number of things I want to try before I do one of these days, but this gives you a general idea about shapes that may or may not work for your body.
Depending on your proportions, there will be certain things that will and will not work for your body. Use the try-on day to figure these out as well if you have not done so before. There are a lot of things that may surprise you – maxi dresses can work for small people, so can boxy dresses, and empire waist shirts or dresses, but this will depend on your body. Just because a magazine may tell you that a certain cut of clothing will not suit you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go and figure that out for yourself! I’d never have known that I adored jumpsuits if I didn’t have a try on day to find out. You can never just try on one item and decide that style works or does not work for you – you need to try on multiples of the same thing and then you can determine whether it works. Never be afraid to try something on that you think you will be too small for, because you never know! Sometimes if something is only available in a larger size, you can try it on and find out that it can be belted or pinned to make it how you want! I always find my go-to options for making something fit my frame a bit better are waist belts, safety pins, and tying excess fabric in a chic knot.
Now, onto the shops!
As I mentioned in this post, I tend to do a fair amount of shopping at Zara Kids – what can I say, I’m a fan. Dependant on the style of clothing that I’m looking at, the sizing really can vary. For some items at Zara Kids, I am their largest size, if the item is meant to be tight fitting, that is typically what would work best. But thanks to reading the measurements on the website, I know that some items like shirts and dresses, run larger, and I can size down once or twice dependant on what the item is. Do not let the word “kids” throw you off, their style is just like a mini version of what Zara sells for women. I find Zara Kids the best for some staple items with flare, a few fun pieces, and more modern trendy pieces. Some great examples would be this dress, jumpsuit, dress, t shirt, culottes, shirt, top, shirt, shirt, jeans, trousers, jeans, and these culottes.
Another great place I shop that is very underrated, is Old Navy! Looking in store you may not find things that fit, but if you go online you can find almost everything that was in store, in PETITE sizes! How great is that?? I find that the petite sizing is pretty accurate, but there are times where the small isn’t quite small enough for some of the tops and dresses. Typically they are a good resource for pants and basics – I know I have their petite Harper pants in green, black, navy, floral, hot pink, and light pink! You could say I’m a bit of a fan. The petite sizes go quite quickly though, so when you see something, it’s best to get it right then and there as they do not stock up on petite sizes often. Another great benefit is that they have frequent sales and you can almost always get 20-30% off, as well as accumulate points for future savings! Some of my favourite things there right now are these leggings, this blouse, this top, this tie up top, this dress, and these jeans.
Another store that I love is Romwe. They have a wide selection of things on their site, and although shipping takes a long time, and occasionally the materials are not what you’d expect from the pictures, it can be a good resource for the gal on a budget. Every item on their site has the full measurements of each size, which is really beneficial, as you can tell which items would fit or not. They tend to run true to the posted size, and their small sizes are quite small, which is great! Be sure to read the description very carefully before ordering, as some are “one size” and while normally “one size” tends to run small, theirs can run quite large at times – but all measurements are posted for your reference. Some of the things that I currently love on their site are these pants, these capris, this top, this top, this romper, and this chic swimsuit.
If you are working with a higher budget (props to you) then a great place to look for clothes is Asos. They have a petite section that is superior to most I’ve seen, since it encompassess a large amount of different stores as well as its own brand, to give you a surplus of options. They are online-only, and based in the UK so it is slightly more expensive than shopping from Canadian stores, but the variety makes it worth it. They provide the models sizing info with every picture so that you can compare sizing, and they also have a survey that you can fill out which asks about your fit preference and general body type that will help suggest the best size for you for each individual item that they are selling. It’s a fantastic tool to utilize! If you live in the UK the price will be lower, and they have next-day shipping which is BLESS. I highly recommend checking out their site, and here are a few of the items that I am loving from there right now! These espadrilles, this wrap dress, this jumpsuit, this jumpsuit, this skirt, and this dress.
There are a ton of other stores out there that can cater to your size, you just need to do some research! My biggest piece of small-sized advice, is to really look around before you buy. Find out what you feel comfortable in, what you like, and what stores fit your specific measurements because we are all different! What matters most is finding what you love, and utilizing the resources you have to do so. Happy shopping!!!