December 4, 2023

As a five-foot-three petite shopper myself, 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 off that way — I’ve had to alter countless garments in order to get them to actually fit my body properly. This constant dilemma has forced me to master the art of shopping for a petite frame and keep a mental list of all the best places to shop, so I don’t fret whenever I want to add new pieces to my wardrobe. 

If you know these difficulties all too well as a petite shopper yourself, I’m sharing my favorites with you, keeping in mind different price points, clothing types, and styles, so you never need to fuss with too long hems again. We even noted the price range on a scale of $ to $$$$ — one dollar sign means most things are inexpensive, whereas four dollar signs mean you’ll need to save your money to afford anything there. But don’t worry, we leaned into the more affordable options that offer just as much.

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. While many of the other aforementioned brands focus on creating everyday staples that could easily be mixed and matched with a wide array of tops, bottoms, and outerwear depending on the occasion, Petite Studio takes a different approach. Its pieces are more fashion-forward and eclectic, as seen with options like the asymmetric Reese Sweater, and more overtly feminine like what’s seen with the Reverie Dress, and completely created with petite frames in mind. That’s right, every single piece is made explicitly for petite shoppers, so us under five-foot-four can enjoy trendier, more expressive styles without any added frustration from things fitting improperly. 

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 | Price Range: $$

Walk in any mall, and you’ll definitely find a reliable Gap, which I find the best for browsing its stockpile of 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 relaxed-fit denim shorts without overwhelming their figure — many of the brand’s bottoms options have “short” inseam lengths available, too.   

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

We know you probably already own a tried-and-true pair of Levi’s jeans, but indulge us for just a minute: this brand offers multiple styles of quality denim that are totally 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 26-inch), ensuring you’ll never click on an accidentally too long pair again. My personal 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 straight leg jeans and this wedgie fit 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 | Price Range: $-$$

Old Navy has a little bit of everything: timeless, trendy, budget-friendly pieces, ranging from work-appropriate chinos to to smocked sundresses. 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 their casual everyday and more elevated, office-friendly offerings, Old Navy also carries quality workout gear, 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 | Price Range: $


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 they do carry 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 (take it from me, a 5’3” shopper who wears their Subway and Charlie pairs on rotation), you can’t go wrong with any of the styles they have to offer. Still Here also has shorts, cozy knit sets, 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 | Price Range: $$$

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 (as well as your tight budget!), the brand focuses on trendier items that particularly appeal to younger folks, like Gen-Z. Although there aren’t explicit petite sizes available, Aerie offers “short” options for all of its bottoms, so you can be sure your leggings actually hit where they’re supposed to on your legs. 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 | Price Range: $-$$

As petite shoppers, there’s nothing better than a store that offers an explicit size range just for us, like Madewell does. All the brand’s top styles, from its beloved denim to its chic midi dresses, come offered in distinct petite sizes, no matter the season or your personal style. 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 Madewell Forever program, which 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 | Price Range: $$-$$$

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 includes short and extra short inseams. The pants also go up to a 37W, giving plus-size women a chance at finding the best fit for them, too. Whether you’re seeking office-appropriate, tailored pants or a pair of 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 | Price Range: $$-$$$

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. Although on the pricier side, similar to Still Here, Mother jeans will last you forever and could not be more flattering, making the extra splurge for their pieces worth it. We love cropped styles like The Insider Ankle and more relaxed options like the High Waisted Hiker Hover for petite frames (and they happen to be my go-to bottoms for warmer seasons). Alongside its fabulous selection of jeans, Mother also carries bold eponymous graphic tees, mini skirts that we recommend keeping on deck for days with high temps, as well as other apparel and accessories (like these fun, explicit socks). 

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 | Price Range: $$$

Athleta’s selection of buttery activewear is to die for, so I’m thrilled to let petite shoppers know that they have an extended size range that includes petite sizes for their workout gear. You can’t go wrong with any of their 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 Ultimate Muscle Tank, a suitable piece for practically any activity you want to partake in, whether that’s 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 | Price Range: $$-$$$

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-appropriate dresses to classic denim styles like bootcut and straight leg jeans, all in petite sizes. Pair some of your new petite-friendly picks with J.Crew’s beloved cashmere in fall and winter or with a pair of neutral leather sandals when the temperatures warm up. Keep in mind that although some of the brand’s offerings are on the pricier side, they go on sale often and are made with quality materials that you can count on to stay intact for years to come.

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 | Price Range: $$-$$$

ASOS DESIGN Curve Bridesmaid pearl embellished long sleeve maxi dress


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. They do offer everyday staples, too, like neutral trench coats for breezier days or 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 | Price Range: $-$$

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 that’s both suitable for days in-office (paired with full-coverage tops like the Pose Longsleeve or the Sculpt Knit Racer Tank). For going out on the weekends, I throw on spicier tops like the Sculpt Knit Criss Cross Cropped Tank or the Cayenne Top 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 | Price Range: $$-$$

There’s a reason why Kelly Ripa (who is only 5’3″) is always spotted wearing Reformation dresses. The petites collection re-tools the brand’s best-selling styles for the perfect petite fit. Dresses come in just the right length with adjustable features and fun prints that don’t overwhelm the frame. Or if you’re more into jumpsuits you can find versatile styles with an adjusted inseam so no hemming is required. Same goes with the brand’s denim that ranges from basic to boldly printed. Free shipping and returns makes this sustainable brand a go-to when trying on different dresses for our next special occasion.

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

Universal Standard isn’t just inclusive of petite sizes. Its radically extensive size and fit range means it’s as widely inclusive as its name suggests, from regular sizes to plus to, of course, petite. Spanning from 4XS to 4XL, so many body types can look great in its minimalist styles. You can also shop the site’s different themed capsules, which are bundles of a few pieces that all go together and are sold at a discount. Click around through the site and you’ll find specific petite sections for dresses, tops, denim, and skirts — all of which are designed to suit your smaller frame, while maintaining Universal Standard’s mission of comfort and high-quality basics.

Shipping Policy: Free | Return Policy: $4.50 within 30 days in store and $7.50 via mail | Best For: Extended sizing | Price Range: $$-$$

Why Shop With Us 

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

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