I'm a 4ft11 fashion editor and I've tracked down 30 of the best petite buys for summer

Call off the search

Best petite summer fashion
(Image credit: Whistles, M&S)

Did you know that 50% of the world's female population is under 5'4"? In fact, according to data the mean height of women in the UK is around 5'3". Yet, sadly, most clothing is not designed with petite frames in mind. As a 4ft11 fashion editor, I know first hand how hard finding the best petite fashion buys can be, particularly as historically, petite lines have felt very few and far between. Luckily, in recent years more and more brands have heard the call and are finally launching collections created specifically with women 5'3" and under in mind meaning shopping for great petite fashion has got a whole lot easier.

From Reformation to Reiss as well as Rico's newly launched range, petite women now have more choice than ever when it comes to their wardrobes with many brands offering dedicated ranges designed for those of us with smaller statures. And, to make it even easier, I've compiled an edit of the best petite pieces available to buy right now, from summer occasion wear to holiday heroes.

But as anyone who's petite knows, when it comes to petite dressing, there is so much more to think about than simply the clothes you buy. How you style and tailor a look also needs to be taken into consideration, which is why we spoke to designer and petite expert, Liza Belmonte, to understand the tips and tricks petite women need to know. Liza is the founder of the petite-specific brand, Kjinsen, which creates luxury womenswear in the UK for women 5'4" and under.

Keep scrolling for my favourite petite summer buys, then head to the bottom of the page for all of Liza's petite styling tips.

Shop The Best Petite Spring Buys, according to a Fashion Editor:

"I'm a huge fan of a tailored co-ord for those days when I want to look put together with minimal effort. This pinstripe set from Whistles is a winner, featuring a chic round neck waistcoat and wide leg trousers. Plus, it gets extra points for the pinstripe, which will give the illusion of extra inches."

Petite Dressing Tips You Need To Know

We tapped petite expert, and the founder of fashion label Kjinsen, Liza Belmonte for her top tips for styling and dressing as a petite woman.

1. Prioritise Fit

"The most powerful thing you can do for your wardrobe is prioritise a good fit," Belmonte explains. "Invest in clothes that fit well or get clothes altered to fit you," she adds. As a petite woman, there is nothing worse than having sleeves that are too long, and trouser hems that drag on the floor, creating a look that drowns you in fabric.

"Slim and tailored fits will always be easier to style if you are petite but that does not mean you always have to wear fitted clothes. If you want an oversized look, don’t just go for a size up, choose clothes that have been engineered to be oversized on your petite proportions," Liza recommends. "I always recommend getting your oversized clothes from a petite brand to avoid that frumpy look.

2. Accessorise strategically

"Your accessories have the power to really transform how tall you appear so make sure you use them in your favour," Liza explains, suggesting that a large handbag can shink your frame, while smaller handbags will work to make you appear taller.

She continued, "A belt, depending on where it is placed, can dramatically affect your proportions. I use belts on pretty much everything (dresses, blazers, etc.) to mark my waist higher than it is and give the illusion of longer legs."

In addition to this, Liza also said that jewellery, hair accessories and even scarves, have the ability to draw the eye upwards, while in the footwear department, nude tones and pointy-toe silhouettes can work to elongate your legs.

3. Show some skin

While many say that ankle-length trousers will work to elongate your frame, Liza argues that it is actually more valuable to show off your wrists and neck. "Show skin around your wrists and forearms by rolling up your sleeves, and your neck by styling your hair up. They are the daintiest parts of anyone’s body and help create a balance of proportion," she explains. "This is especially key when you are wearing oversized clothing. The Olsen Twins who are very petite use this styling trick regularly. As part of their signature minimalist style, they wear a lot of oversized clothing, yet their sleeves are almost always rolled up or pulled up."

4. Go for monochrome or a colour gradient looks

"A tried and proven way to use colour to give the illusion of height is to wear a monochromatic look," Liza says. "It creates vertical lines and elongates the silhouette." Liza continues that adding accessories is a great way to ensure your outfit still looks interesting.

"If you are petite and love combining multiple colours or neutrals in your outfits, it is a good idea to create a colour gradient—for example, beige, to taupe, to brown—rather than wearing “blocks” of highly contrasting colours (like a white top and black trousers). The gradient will streamline the whole look and avoid creating harsh lines and blocks that cut across the silhouette."

Zoe Anastasiou
Fashion Editor

Zoe Anastasiou is a Fashion Editor with over eight years of experience working across digital publications in New York, London and Australia. She has contributed to publications including Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE Australia, and was the Fashion and Social Media Editor at Who What Wear UK before joining Marie Claire. 

With contributions from