Wednesday, May 22, 2024

If You’re 5’4″ and Under, These Are the 14 Best Stores to Shop

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As a 5-foot, 3-inch petite shopper, I know the struggle of trying to find denim that I don’t have to cuff at the bottom, dresses that don’t overwhelm my stature or workout leggings that don’t create rolls at my ankles. Even some of my favorite pieces in my closet didn’t start that way — I’ve had to alter countless garments to get them to fit my body properly. This constant dilemma has forced me to master the art of shopping for a petite frame and keep a list of all the best places to shop, so I don’t fret whenever I want to add new pieces to my wardrobe. 

For those who know the feeling just as well, I’m sharing my list, which considers different budgets, garment types, and styles, so you never need to fuss with too-long hems again. Find them, ahead.


Petite Studio NYC


You can probably already tell by the name of this brand, but Petite Studio is another one of our favorites for petite pieces. Its pieces are fashion-forward but classic, with a spring collection that includes a trouser and vest set, a long denim skirt, and a knee-length romper — for petite figures only. That’s right, every single piece is made explicitly for petite shoppers, so we can enjoy sleek, trendy styles without any added frustration from things fitting improperly and the need for major alterations. 

Shipping Policy: Free shipping for orders over $98 | Return Policy: Free exchanges in the U.S. within 20 days of purchase; $8 returns within 20 days of purchase | Best For: Eclectic clothing

Walk in any mall, and you’ll likely find a Gap store, which I find the best for stockpiling quality basics. I know I’ll rarely have to pay full price for a pair of light wash denim or a soft navy tee thanks to the brand’s constant sales that I suggest you also take advantage of. But aside from its wide selection of closet staples, Gap has a special Petite Shop, so any petite shopper can sport its classic striped sweaters, high-waisted jeans, and linen-blend shorts without overwhelming their figure.

Shipping Policy: Free shipping for orders over $50 | Return Policy: Free returns and exchanges within 30 days | Best For: Basics

Levi’s offers multiple styles of quality denim that are suitable for shorter folks, despite its lack of a traditional petite size range. As a proud owner of five pairs of jeans from Levi’s, just trust me on this one. You can sort based on inseam (try the 26- or 28-inch), ensuring you’ll never again garner a too-long pair. My favorite style is the Baggy Dad Women’s Jeans, which I have in three different washes (dark, medium, and light) because I just can’t get enough for them. They look perfectly baggy without looking too oversized and hit just below my ankles. But take a look at some of the cropped styles, too, for more fitted looks, like this pair of cropped straight-leg jeans and this Wedgie pair

Shipping Policy: $7.95 ground shipping; free for RedTab members | Return Policy: Return or exchange within 60 days of purchase | Best For: Classic denim

Old Navy has a little bit of everything: timeless, trendy, budget-friendly pieces, ranging from work-appropriate chinos to strappy rompers. With so many styles to choose from, petite shoppers, including plus-size women, will find a plethora of pieces to choose from that fit their stature. Alongside the casual everyday wear and more elevated, office-friendly offerings, Old Navy also carries quality athletic wear, like these under $50 leggings that can be considered a dupe for pricier name brands in the activewear space. 

Shipping Policy: Free shipping on orders over $50 | Return Policy: Free returns and exchanges within 30 days | Best For: Affordable staples

Still Here New York Cowgirl

Still Here New York


If you’re a fan of relaxed denim styles like I am but can never find options that don’t totally overwhelm your petite frame, consider the brand Still Here New York for your next denim purchase. Although there are traditional straight-leg styles, Still Here created the perfect relaxed jeans in a multitude of variations, including the carpenter-style Subway and cool-with-cutouts Cowgirl, all with different washes available. Perfectly petite-friendly (the Subway and Charlie are in my regular rotation) with a pair of low heels, you can’t go wrong with any of the styles offered.

Still Here also has shorts, knitwear, basic boxy tees, and other wardrobe staples that any petite shopper can add to their weekly outfit rotations. This brand is pricey, we will say, but the denim quality is unmatched. 

Shipping Policy: Free shipping on orders over $200 | Return Policy: Returns for a refund or exchanges within 14 days of purchase | Best For: Unique denim

If you’re tired of having every pair of leggings roll at your ankles, take a look at Aerie, the intimates offshoot of American Eagle. With lots of leggings, bike shorts, and tops that are suitable for any workout and your petite frame, the brand focuses on youthful but versatile items. Although there aren’t explicit petite sizes available, Aerie offers “short” options for all of its bottoms (enter: the flared leggings, which require a perfect fit so you aren’t tripping on any extra fabric). On top of leggings that fit our legs, the high-rises on leggings don’t reach too high, acting more like a bodysuit than a pair of leggings — you can still show some skin when wearing a matching sports bra.

Shipping Policy: Free shipping on orders over $75 | Return Policy: Free in-store returns and exchanges; $5 by-mail returns | Best For: Trendy activewear

There’s nothing better than a store that offers an explicit size range just for us, as Madewell does. All the brand’s top styles, from its beloved jeans to its chic midi dresses, come offered in distinct petite sizes, no matter the season or your style. (For spring, we’re throwing our weight behind the Emmett jeans, which all but demand a perfect fit given the placement of the square pockets and ankle-length hem.)

We turn to the brand for casual outfits we can wear to the office or out to brunch with friends. With functional fabrics like denim, linen, and cotton at the forefront of its designs, Madewell’s pieces last for years to come, too. Case and point: The brand’s Forever program offers discounted preloved styles in petite sizes.

Shipping Policy: Free shipping for Madewell Insiders | Return Policy: Free by-mail returns for Madewell Insiders; free in-store returns within 30 days of original purchase | Best For: Casual daywear

While many of us likely remember Abercrombie & Fitch from its heyday in the early 2000s, let it be known that its resurrection is very much happening — and for a good reason. We love just how many sizes the brand offers, especially for petites, which include short and extra short inseams. The pants also go up to 37W, giving plus-sized women a chance at finding the best fit for them, too. Whether you’re seeking office-appropriate, tailored pants or a pair of trusted jeans to go with absolutely everything in your wardrobe, Abercrombie & Fitch has you covered. 

Shipping Policy: $7 standard shipping | Return Policy: Within 30 days for a full refund; free exchanges; store credit after 30 days | Best For: Pants

Another great option for denim that will never go out of style, Mother has been one of my go-to places for petite-friendly options for years. Albeit an investment (the starting price point for petite jeans is $218), Mother jeans could not be more flattering and well-constructed, making the extra splurge worth it.

We love cropped styles like The Lil’ Mid Rise Dazzler Ankle and the high-waisted Rider style for petite frames, especially for late spring and summer. Alongside its fabulous selection of jeans, Mother also carries separates that we recommend keeping on deck for days with high temps.

Shipping Policy: Free on orders over $50 | Return Policy: Items can be returned within 21 days of purchase for a full refund | Best For: Denim

Athleta’s selection of buttery activewear is to die for, so I’m thrilled to let petite shoppers know that there’s an extended size range that includes petite sizes for workout gear. You can’t go wrong with any of the pieces, but some of our personal favorites that fit petites particularly well include the Salutation Stash Capri, which comes in a variety of bold and neutral hues, and the Essential Tee that’s great for barre, kickboxing, or just a brisk walk around the neighborhood after a long work day.  

Shipping Policy: Free on orders over $50 for rewards members | Return Policy: Free returns and exchanges within 60 days | Best For: Versatile activewear

You probably still think of J.Crew for its preppy aesthetic, but we suggest you take a good look at the brand’s selection because the brand truly offers something for everyone, no matter the personal style or preferred size range, like petite. J. Crew offers a slew of minimalist wardrobe staples, from linen button-ups perfect for warmer months to chic, work-friendly dresses to classic denim styles like bootcut and straight-leg jeans, all in petite sizes. Pair some of your new petite-friendly picks with the brand’s cashmere or with neutral leather sandals for summer.

Shipping Policy: Free for reward members | Return Policy: $7.50 shipping fee for by-mail returns within 30 days of original purchase | Best For: Everything

Asos Design Men's tuxedos

ASOS


When considering petite options for the more budget-conscious shopper, Asos immediately comes to mind. Asos’s online store has a seemingly endless selection of options for petite women across all categories — seriously, Asos covers all of the bases when it comes to offering petite pieces, from cozy sweat sets to wedding guest dresses for ceremonies in any season. (We love this satin maxi slip dress for summer and winter, as it can be worn on its own or with a bolero jacket over it.)

There are everyday staples, too, like neutral trench coats for spring and plain white tees that can go with all your new pairs of petite pants, but we think the brand shines for its trendier items, like crop tops and cargo pants, that you might not wear for multiple seasons.

Shipping Policy: Free standard shipping on orders over $50 | Return Policy: Full refunds within 28 days of purchase; no exchanges | Best For: Affordable trend items

You’ve likely seen Aritzia everywhere these days — not only have we written about the brand many times before thanks to its cool-girl, quality wardrobe essentials like The Effortless Pant and The Melina Pant, both of which come in “short” size ranges. I have a cognac-colored Melina pair myself in the short version, and it’s the perfect piece for days in the office. For going out on the weekends, I throw on spicier tops like the brand-classic Sculpt Knit Criss Cross Cropped Tank to complete the full ‘fit. 

Shipping Policy: Free standard shipping | Return Policy: Full refunds within 14 days of purchase or shipping date | Best For: Elevated basics

There’s a reason why 5-foot, 3-inch tall Kelly Ripa is always spotted wearing Reformation dresses. The Petites collection re-works the brand’s best-selling styles for the perfect fit on petite figures. Dresses come in just the right length with adjustable features and fun prints that don’t overwhelm the frame. Pants, too, have smaller inseams, which range depending on the fit. (The Mason Pant, for example, has a near-30-inch inseam, while the Ava style, which is cropped, boasts a 24-inch inseam.)

In addition to free alterations as a final line of defense for any fit tweaks, free shipping and returns make this sustainable brand a go-to for practically any occasion.

Shipping Policy: Free standard shipping | Return Policy: Free within 30 days | Best For: Special occasion pieces

Why Shop With Us 

Madison Barber is an InStyle contributor and an avid online shopper who spends her free time hunting for hot new brands and great deals. For this story, she spent hours researching the best petite-friendly stores, a venture that she held near and dear to her heart as a petite shopper herself.

Additional reporting by Emily Cieslak, Laura Reilly, and Samantha Sutton.

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