One big reason why women sometimes don’t find the right fit of clothing is because they don’t understand which clothing is best suited for their body type. For example, for some woman, because of their height and body proportions, there is some confusion as to whether or not they are petite.
So, if you have ever asked yourself the question, “What does it mean to be petite?” or “Am I petite?”, then this article is here to help provide you with the answer. To be clear, when it comes to clothing, petite sizes aren’t solely reserved for women who are short and slender. On the contrary, petite sizes include all short women from those who are thin to those who are plus-sized.
Now, with that question having been briefly answered, let’s delve into this topic a bit further as we talk about everything that you need to know to figure out if you’re petite or not.
The first thing you need to know is that, if you want to find the best kind of clothing for your body, then you need to understand your own body proportions. This is the single most important factor that you can use to determine whether you are petite or not and, with this information, you will be able to finally figure out which fit is right for you.
Why the Right Fit Is so Important
When it comes to shopping for clothing, the kind of fit that you choose can make a significant difference in terms of your overall look. After all, each woman’s body is unique and different in its own special way, so it is important for everyone to find the sizing that is right for them so that they can not only look good but also feel more confident in their style choices.
Getting something that is the right size for your body type is essential, which is why brands try to include a wide range of sizes in their clothing lines. After all, having clothing that fits your body’s proportions, and is the right length for your height, is something that can make a noticeable difference.
One group of women that often has trouble when it comes to finding clothing that fits right are those who fall into the category of petite. The petites’ department is something that not a lot of brands have delved into, mainly because of the larger markets for misses (regular) clothing for women. However, the good news is that the inclusion of this size of clothing is growing among brands, so there are more and more options for petite women every day.
How Is Petite Characterized?
One of the first questions that women tend to have is how they can determine the correct size that they should be looking for when they go shopping. Petite women, in particular, have this problem because of the misconceptions that surround the term petite.
The word petite can be defined as something that is small and thin, but that isn’t this words only meaning. You see, when it comes to the fashion industry, the word petite isn’t strictly limited to clothing that’s suited for those who are slender. Instead, the term is used to describe clothing that is made specifically for women who are under 5′ 3″ or 5′ 4″ and who are proportionally smaller all around. The exact height that’s considered the cut-off for petite varies from clothing line to clothing line, which only serves to add to the confusion for petite shoppers. For this reason, it is important when shopping to read the size chart for each brand to learn what they define as the height for a petite shopper.
One of the biggest misconceptions that women tend to have about being petite is the weight that you need to be to be considered petite. A lot of women feel like only those below a certain weight can buy clothing from the petites’ department. However, this is something that is not at all true, because weight has nothing to do with whether a person is petite or not. You see, someone who weighs in as being average or plus-size, but who is shorter, can still be classified as being petite. That means, regardless of your weight, if you’re under a certain height, you can easily find clothing that fits you better within the petites’ department.
So, Petite Clothes Aren’t Just For Those Who Are Thin?
Even though people oftentimes confuse the term petite for meaning only those who are slender, the words petite and slender don’t actually mean the same thing. Petite doesn’t mean that a person is able to fit into a piece of clothing that is an extra small size. Rather, the design of petite clothing has always been about providing shorter women with a fit that’s sized proportionally to their frame, so that they can get clothing that is more suited to them and their body type.
Most brands tend to follow a somewhat standard sizing chart when it comes to making petite clothing for women. However, these sizing charts are not necessarily uniform from brand-to-brand, and brands can change their charts from time-to-time based upon their own branding decisions and customer bases, so it’s always best to consult their size charts before ordering.
With that said, let’s take a look at the body measurements that are characteristic of those who are petite. Armed with these measurements, you will be able to more easily use the information provided on the size charts provided by various brands to find your perfect fit.
Head to Toe:
As mentioned before, height is one of the biggest factors that influences weather you are classified as being petite or not. Women who fall into the petite category generally reach a total distance of 5’3″ when measured from head to toe. Anything more than this and a person may have to shop in the misses (regular) clothing category to find clothes that are a suitable fit. There are, however, a few other factors that need to be taken into consideration when determining if a person falls into the petite category or not.
Shoulder to Shoulder:
After measuring your height, your shoulders are the next place that you want to measure as you work toward determining if you are petite or not.
That’s because your shoulder measurement can help you determine if your torso is petite, in which case petite tops will fit a lot better. For a petite person, the sizing of the shoulders should be between 12.25 to 13.75 inches across (31 to 35 cms).
Being petite on the upper half of your body and being regularly sized on the lower half is not something that is unheard of in the fashion industry. A lot of times, women tend to have petite upper bodies, in which case tops, jackets, and other clothing will fit better from petite specific brands.
Neck to Waist:
The neck to waist measurement is what will help you determine the length of your torso. Length is one of the biggest deciding factors when trying to find clothing that fits right, and this measurement can help you decide whether a petite piece of clothing will fit better as compared to misses (regular) clothing.
The distance between the neck and the waist should be less than 14.5 inches (37 cms) on a petite person. One of the biggest problems that petite women tend to face is finding tops, blouses, t-shirts, and jackets that fit the way that they should. That’s because misses (regular) top wear is designed for people who have a neck to waist measurement that’s greater than the one previously mentioned.
So, if a person who falls into the misses (regular) category buys a top, the top may fall just under their stomach and directly onto their waist. However, if a person who falls into the petite category tries on that same top, they will notice that the top falls far lower than their waist, often extending lower than it is designed to fall. This can sometimes look unflattering and can make a person seem bulkier and shorter than they actually are, which is why buying clothing that is the right length is essential when you are petite.
Shoulder to Wrist:
One of the bigger problems that petite women tend to face is finding clothing with sleeves that are the right length for them. People who are characterized as petite sometimes have shorter arms as compared to those that fall into the misses (regular) category.
So, when petite women wear tops that aren’t designed for them, they often find that the sleeves extend far more than they should and turn into a nuisance as they flop around their hands and require rolling-up just to make them manageable. Also, sleeves that aren’t sized for petites often tend to be a lot looser, with the armholes being far bigger than what would fit well.
So, the shoulder to wrist length is also something that can help you determine if you fall into the petite category or not. For a petite women, the length between the shoulder and wrist will typically be between 20 to 21.72 inches (51 to 55 cms).
So, Am I Petite?
It is important to note that for a person to be considered petite, they don’t need to fulfill all of the measurement requirements that we have listed above. Fulfilling any two of these measurements is enough to consider a person as petite. So, if you fall in the range of any two of these measurements then, yes, you’re petite.
It is important to consider these measurements individually, since a person can fit into both petite and regular clothing at the same time. Because of this, a person must understand which part of their body falls into the petite category, and which part, if any, falls into the misses (regular) sizing category.
With this information, you’ll best be able to get the most flattering fits when you go shopping; no matter which clothing department you find yourself in.
So, This Means That You Can Be Plus-Size and Petite?
As mentioned earlier, one’s weight has absolutely nothing to do with being petite. So, to answer the question, yes, a person who is plus-sized can also be petite. Because of the industry standards that brands go by, the measurements that we mentioned earlier also apply to those who fall under the plus-sized category. So, if any two of those measurement criteria are met, then you can consider yourself to be petite.
Petite fashion is growing by the minute, and brands are now realizing the wide customer base that falls under the category of petite. In the past, plus-sized women often faced problems when it came to shopping for themselves if they were petite. That is because brands previously believed that women who were plus-sized were naturally taller, even though that is entirely untrue.
Misses (regular) clothing is made for women who are taller than 5′ 4″, which is why someone who is plus-size, but who stands at 5″, would have previously had a problem finding the right fit when shopping for clothes. Today, however, brands have realized the potential in this area of women’s clothing, which is why there are more options than ever for women who fall into the petite plus-sized category.
And Now You Know
Now that you have explored the various factors and measurements that go in to determining if you are or aren’t petite, you’ll have reached the end of this article with a definitive answer. So, now you can go forth and shop in the appropriate clothing department, whether that’s the petites’ department or the misses section, feeling confident that the clothes that you choose will be perfectly suited for you and your body type.
After all, everyone wants to look their very best, and sometimes, finding the right kind of clothing is all that it takes to improve your overall appearance and boost your self-confidence so that you can feel more comfortable in your own skin.