And welcome to a slightly different Sunday 7 from me this week: a Petites special – the best shops for us shorties (& indeed, skinny-no-shouldered-minnies, like myself!)

Though it may surprise you to learn, that not *all* of my Shop picks have petite ranges… and indeed, those that do, of course often have not only petites, but regular and tall ranges as well.

Just before we get stuck in… what exactly do I mean, exactly… by petites?

Well for purposes of this blog, I’m primarily referring to height… 5’3″ and under seems to the bench mark for most petite ranges, so… I guess that’s what I mean by petite.

Individual body shapes, whether you’re longer in the leg, or back or have a big rib cage or if you are narrow-hipped and top-heavy…

Well! That’s a very separate matter of ‘dressing for your shape’, and if you need any guidance on that point, take a look at this Importance of BodyShape by Fleur McCrone.

It’s from last January, but body shape and the advice on how to dress for it hasn’t dramatically changed or anything in the past 15 months, so might be worth a read?

Back to my 7 though… and the best petites shopping:

7. Zara

Don’t close your window… I’m being serious!

Like a couple of other brands here, Zara is extremely hit and miss with their sizing… this past year alone I’ve had to (heart-breakingly for me) return a good half-dozen pieces which were all (apparently) size XS: they were enormous on me!

That said, sometimes, from the main Women’s range (not even their teen section – their actual grown up ladies department!) I’ve found an a size XS to be a bit of a squeeze.

And I’m dead tiny!

So what to look out for?

Stuff like this:


I’ve deliberately posted this particular photo of this Sweater with Crochet Sleeves (£19.99) from the Zara site, rather than the other pics, as it shows the short length of the top off best.

This is how the size S looks on me (which I bought recently for my hols, but couldn’t wait to wear) and I would say that the size S is equivalent to a size 4/6 but definitely *not* an 8:

The size M and L had a tiny bit more length to them but not much.

This is a great little top for shorties, and would look fab worn over a dress, or with higher waisted skirts and trousers.

Cute top, don’t you think?  Also available in a Black/White Stripe with Rainbow sleeves.

For Skirts, I mainly like to go for midi length (on me) which means –  look for knee length on the model: preferably skirts with elasticated waists, like this:


This Skirt with Contrasting Ribbed Detail (£19.99) would be a mid-calf (maybe a fraction more?) on my 5ft short arse.

Which is how I’d like it.

And the elasticated waist is perfect for not only over-indulging (!) but they stretch to fit, so no gaping zip or gaping waistband, depending on where you’re at on that scale.

(this skirt has pockets by the way – a bit of a winner for summer given the price tag!)

Likewise, if you’re after a full length trouser, look for a mid-calf length on the model, or if you are after a culotte length, then look for a length similar to this skirt.

6. H & M

I’m going to steer clear of the whole H&M sizing debate: we all know it’s inconsistent and dreadful.

However, whilst some things in H&M come up enormous in both width across back/shoulders and length, others, frankly come up tiny, practically doll-sizes… as in, they might fit me but how on earth are they then meant to fit a regular sized/taller person?!

As a general rule of thumb, when looking in H&M, look at the cut of the piece you’ve got your eye on: when looking at the piece on the hanger, fan out the hemline with both hands to see how ‘voluminous’ vs tailored the piece is.

I have the figure of a pre-pubescent teen, so… voluminous is OUT for me.

However, something like this Dark Navy Suit Jacket (£24.99):


Is not only a steal at that price… but the size 6 is an almost perfect fit on me!

I say almost because I have to tuck the sleeves under – but only about a centimetre.

So for anyone who is 5’2″ and over, the sleeves would probably be perfect.

But for most average height, taller ladies… this jacket would be a shrunken-fit blazer at best, if not, far too short on the sleeves I imagine.

A small win for us shorties.

Back to the jacket (which comes with matching trousers – £17.99) make for a perfect, bargainous, petite fitting suit:

I can vouch that this jacket is a lovely fit and fabric is really lovely.

The trousers would be a perfect length if you’re around 5’4″ though if any shorter – you’d have to turn up, as I’ve done here.

For reference: I’m wearing both the Jacket and Trousers in a size 6 and I’d say, they’re true to size.

{the trousers by the way… are rolled up 3 times! but I kinda like the chunky ‘rolled-up’ look.  The bag and trainers are both past season, but the Slub T-shirt is also HM (£8.99) with Topshop Sunglasses (£18)}


First off, ASOS is a big old site, isn’t it?

Stocking a great many brands as well as it’s own labels which include ranges for Petites, Tall, Curves etc etc.

I’ve found stuff in both the Petite and Regular ranges of ASOS’ own label to be ok.

Slightly hit and miss with quality – whether that’s because of the cut or fabric, again… no rhyme or reason to it.

For example, this Petites Trench (last season – sold out, but this year’s Petite Classic Trench Coat £55 is probably a bit nicer with the details/colour):


So, this petites trench is ok… but there’s something about the over all fit of it that isn’t brilliant – something I’ve experienced with quite a lot of the ASOS petite range.

However, I recently bought this ASOS Design Button Through Mini Skater Dress (£30) from the regular range because I could see how short it was on the model, so I knew it would be just about on the knee on me (not too short):

{Excuse  my very pale, pasty legs, please!}

This dress would be preeetty short on anyone of regular height!

It is available in Tall, and Curve as well, though in all three ranges there is limited availability.

And a word of caution on ASOS sizing: I find I have to size down.

I’ve never been an ASOS 6… always a 4.

Remember not to attach any weight to that label number… if the shoe fits and all that… just keep reminding yourself of that, and who cares what the label says: sizing, everywhere is all over the place!

4. Next

Another one which is hit and miss with their sizing.

High street all over?!

Last year I blogged about a tale of two petite Next Heritage Jackets, where one petite size 6 was loose and baggy on me, the other, same style jacket, again a petite size 6 was a very snug fit.

It turned out one of the jacket’s was wool – so had more give in the cut, the other was polyester with zero give but both were the same price.

I returned both – an artificial fabric jacket for £70? No thanks!

However, I did pick it up in the sales for a snip and love the fit of it:

{excuse miserable face – I had a coach load of Spanish students walking past, pointing at me so was cringing at myself!!}

Anyway, back to Next… and their Petites… they are always worth a try, but definitely a brand which, when you order from online: make sure you don’t get too excited because the fabrics and sizing can be disappointing!

Liking this Navy Stripe Shirt Dress (£50):


Lovely looking dress, perfect for a holiday evening meal.

You could also wear it open over jeans?

And these Straight Crop Jeans (£25):



The styling here on the Next website do these crops justice.

In fact, that’s the thing with Next, the styling on their site is often very safe – they have some great stuff, whatever your tastes but you need to use your imagination a little!

So instead of those bow slides which are a little mis-matched with the preppy top half of the outfit, I’d go for a simple slogan tee, plainer slides and a more fitted jacket.

3. New Look

New Look’s a funny one… there’s a lot of polyester tat. Fact.

However, they do go down to a size 6… sometimes even a 4, and have a Petite range.

Their clothing is all about fast fashion, trend led pieces… with the occasional ‘classic’.

And like any high street fashion store, for any self-proclaimed fashion-loving shopaholic… there’s usually the odd gem.

Last Autumn I bought this ‘Ganni-esque’ sweater for £25:

The sweater is 100% acrylic, but it scratched that Ganni Knit itch for around 5% of the designer cost which made me pretty happy at the time.

And I’ve had a lot of wear out of the sweater.

I find a lot of the Petite dresses in NL a little too short – too young for me I guess, but luckily, they often have the same styles in the regular range.

As with most ‘budget’ end high street stores, the quality is hit and miss, but generally, I find their sizing is true to size: I’m a 6 in New Look… but it’s rather nice to have the option of going for a size 4 if I’m after say, a shrunken, more fitted look… with my zero-shoulders, it is a complete joy to have something fit perfectly across my back/shoulders.

And it’s for this reason… I’ve ranked New Look quite highly in my 7.

2. Boden

Boden get’s a bit of flack for it’s middle-class ‘mumsy’ vibe with their oh-so-jolly, bold prints and bright colours.

But it’s typically British really, to start chipping away at a success story.

Whilst I may not buy into the loud, brightly printed florals… I love a bit of Boden.

There – I said it!

I have a handful of their Breton’s which I’ve worn to death:


These Breton’s are well worth the £28, they hold their shape and seem to last forever.

However, I haven’t bought a Breton for a couple of years, and by all accounts (i.e. the reviews) they’ve changed the design of the top and it’s now *very* long.


However… this Breton is from the regular range.

Perhaps they could start a Petite Breton?

After all, Boden are, in my opinion, the best Petites / Tall ranges out there: if it’s available in regular, it’s available in Petite, in the same colours.

Most of the time.

I love the look of this Thea Maxi Skirt (£85)


It’s so lovely to think that us shorties have the option of buying a tiered skirt without having to alter and therefore kinda ruin the proportions of the design with alterations.

Boden also have brilliant knitwear, amazing swimwear and the quality of clothing, sizing and range of petites offered is all excellent.

My only bug bear?

The pricing.

That said, there are often 25% or 30% discount offers available which then makes the pricing that bit more palatable.

Klaxon Please! My Number one for Petites…

1. Topshop

At a couple of months shy of age 47, I genuinely didn’t think I’d still be shopping at Topshop… not at this age.

However, good old Toppers isn’t solely the reserve of youngsters anymore.

Sure, there are a sh!t tonne of crop-tops and the swimwear this year all seems to be of that ‘high’ cut variety, which are not my cup of tea at all.

But their Petites range is my favourite: half my wardrobe is from Toppers.

My older pieces are all size 6, newer pieces are a mixture of size 4/6.

These Petite Terracotta Crops (£40) and the Petite Check coat (past season, sold out) are wardrobe life savers.

No alterations required.

The fit is on point.

The pricing vs quality is pretty good in my opinion.

But I do of course have two (small) issues: the first is that, whilst Toppers is generally inclusive of minuscule sizing as well as height given their Tall and Petites ranges… why oh why do they release the same piece, a jumpsuit for example, in 3 different colours (one for each range) instead of the same colour for all ranges?

And the second issue, which isn’t really Topshop’s fault… is that whilst it’s pretty common for us 40 somethings to shop at Toppers, and to a degree, we are catered for… in the way that Topshop would *not* have catered for us 40+ women in the past, I’d like to see *more* for us.

Sure, carry on with the tiny mini’s and the crop tops… the younger market is clearly their bread & butter.

But we 40+ somethings…. especially Petite 40+ somethings have a somewhat limited shopping market, so more grown up stuff please!

Meanwhile… I love this Petite Multicoloured Spot Print Midi Slip Dress (£28)


Great to wear on it’s own on holiday, but at home I’d layer a tee under it, or wear a shirt over the top and tie at the front… it would also work really well with a turtle neck layered under it or a hoodie over the top.

You’ve got to love a multi-functioning piece!

And so,  without further a do, let’s move on to my Stinker this week: Marks and Spencer


It’s with regret that I write this, as I know that there are some shorter ladies, with a more average clothing size… who can shop at M&S.

But it’s disappointing to see that year after year, the brand continues to expand and introduce new ranges rather than tackling the root cause of their dropping sales.

Alyson Walsh from That’s Not My Age said it waaaay better than I ever could in this blogpost from last year:

M&S need to rationalise – there are too many collections, too much stuff and it’s too confusing. They need a sharper edit.

Meanwhile, M&S are famed for their vanity sizing: you’ll frequently read of recommendations to ‘size down’ from bloggers… except, if a size 12 blogger has sized down to an 8, what hope is there for an actual size 8?

And let’s not talk about minuscule mini size 6s like me!

Their Petite range is ill-thought out… you’d never make a capsule wardrobe out of it, which from M&S, *is* something I’d expect to be able to do.

But, I won’t be overly negative – after all, since Christmas when there were only 2 Petite skirt options available, they’ve now doubled this to 4 (as per screen shot above)!

Overwhelming, eh?

I’d love to be able to champion M&S: they do great accessories, lingerie, and have most excellent face creams.

But if only they could reduce the number of ranges, make it less confusing and perhaps take a leaf out of Boden or Topshop’s book and offer the same things a well edited collection for Short, Regular and Tall?

Oh well… if the actual Industry experts and Fashion Journo’s haven’t changed their mind on this issue, they’re not exactly going to listen to me, are they?

Other Good Petites Stores:

Banana Republic, Gap, J Crew, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridges to name just a few… all have petites ranges but they didn’t make my 7, because although I have occasionally shopped from these stores, these are infrequent purchases… infrequent either because of budget, or because of polyester or because the items are so short/young!

Other Shops I can never shop in:

White Stuff, Joules, John Lewis (own ranges) Sea Salt, & Other Stories, Cos, and Jigsaw… and in all fairness, whilst some of these might not be my cuppa, others here have some fabulous stuff which I’d love to buy into.

But with their smallest size being an 8 (and let’s face it, if these stores do say ‘6’ on the label – it’s a very generous 6, which is an actual 8 as far as I’m concerned) – they’re generally off limits for me.

Though I accept… I am Extra-Petite.

So don’t let that stop you from shopping in these stores.

And generally, it doesn’t stop me from looking and ogling their stuff!

Wildcard of the Week: H&M Cargo Skirt (£19.99)


I bought this skirt, on impulse – in Khaki on Friday

I could see from the proportions of the skirt on the hanger that it would be a good length and fit on me.

I bought the size 6 without even trying it on.

I have since tried it on – and weirdly, the size 6 is about the same length on me as it is on the model here.

One of the ways I’d style it up – is exactly as shown on the model here- white tee, white sneaks, denim jacket.

How else could you wear my Khaki Cargo Skirt?

Look 1 – En Vacance:


This is a perfect little holiday skirt – just add a vest and slides.  We already know how well Khaki works with white, it also works beautifully with black: this HM Club Jersey Vest Top (£6.99) and a pair of Birkenstock Madrid 1 Bar Mules (Office £49.99) together with the cargo skirt would all show your tan off beautifully!  Add an HM Straw Hat (£9.99) add a Topshop Bella Straw Tote Bag (£30) and you’re set.

Look 2 – A day at the Office:


Although this is a casual skirt, I think it can be dressed up enough to get away as workwear.  I’d go for a fitted, crisp white shirt (HM £12.99), black Dune Guilt Loafers (John Lewis £60), and a Classic Trench (Gap, £51.99). Add a smarter, leather bag like this & Other Stories Leather Bucket Bag (£115) and I reckon you’d feel smartened up enough for work, but just kinda loose enough to not feel suffocated by the prospect of ‘office wear’.

Look 3 – An afternoon BBQ:


Khaki looks great with tan… or gold… so dress your cargo skirt up a little with these Office Susan Wedge Espadrilles in rose gold (£59.99), and a tucked in loose cotton Zara Nude T-shirt (£5.99). In love with this Zara Straw bag (£29.99), and of course, a trusty Denim Jacket (Zara £25.99). Don’t forget your sunnies (H&M Premium £34.99)!

And that’s it from me for tonight.

What are you thoughts on my Petites shopping ‘guide’?

I’d be *verrry* interested to hear your thoughts on my picks. Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks for reading.