4 petite winter fashion tips, according to experts

David Castro

Shopping for petite clothing comes with its own set of challenges, but there are certain styles that can flatter your figure quite well. If you’re ready to breathe new life into your wardrobe this winter, Shop TODAY consulted several fashion pros to get their expertise on figure-friendly things to look for (and what to avoid). Plus, we found a few staple pieces to get you started!

Petite tops for winter

  • What to look for: Lightweight sweaters that can be tucked in; quarter-length sleeves and styles that can be rolled back; lower necklines; off-the-shoulder styles
  • Why they work for petites: “Styling can pose challenges, especially when it comes to sweaters. We recommend going with a light or mid-weight sweater with a fine, tight weave,” said Isabella Sun, founder and CEO of a personal styling service for petite women called Short Story. “Steer away from oversized sweaters or sweaters with large cable knits. Front tuck your sweater into denim or trousers to accentuate your shape and elongate your torso.”

INTEMPO Off-The-Shoulder Long Sleeve Top

“Whatever the weather, an off the shoulder neckline can work so well. For the warmer months, consider an off-the-shoulder dress, and…why not get cozy with an off the shoulder knit sweater?” John McCormack, global fashion trend lead at Primark, said.

Available in four hues including a tempting teal, this ribbed top looks like your favorite sweater but has the lightweight feel of your go-to blouse. The price is pretty hard to resist too!

Sincerely Jules Long Sleeve Ottoman Stitch Sweater

“When shopping or styling outfits, seek out tops that go no lower than your hip bone, as this will instantly make legs look longer,” McCormack suggested.

Something like this waist-length sweater is ideal for petites since it can easily be tucked into pants or skirts and stands out equally well when worn over bottoms. We’re particularly loving the pretty pastel hue!

Vineyard Vines Striped Sankaty Boatneck Simple Tee

A classic boatneck tee will never go out of style, and it’s a wardrobe must-have that you can wear in multiple ways. This one is particularly special with its UPF 30+ sun protection, making it ideal for all seasons and has bracelet length sleeves that are great for petites.

Magic Linen Long Sleeve Linen Top

“Sleeve length is quite important when considering your proportions and to avoid outfits looking ill-fitted,” McCormack said. “Quarter-length sleeves or regular lengths carefully rolled back will elongate your arms to create the illusion of looking taller.”

With its button-closure sleeves, this sunny linen top is a great option for petites. The pleated waist adds extra visual appeal.

Petite pants for winter

  • What to look for: High-waisted pants and dark washes
  • Why they work for petites: “High-waisted trousers should be one of your style staples. Whether they are a great pair of denim jeans or a tailored suit pant, the style gives an instant illusion that the waistline is higher than it really is,” McCormack said.

Old Navy High-Waisted Wow Super-Skinny Jeans

At only $30, these jeans are an affordable addition to your wardrobe, but they certainly don’t skimp on quality. The high-waist design is universally flattering and built-in stretch makes it easy for you to go about your day unrestricted.

INC International Concepts Petite High-Waisted Ponté-Knit Curve Creator Pants

“Darker hues come with the season and give a great advantage to petite frames. Opt for a longer inseam with a straight or flared silhouette paired with booties to create a streamlined look,” Sun said.

With their stretchy knit fabric, these pants are a fashionable find that also puts a premium on comfort. We’d rock them with heels and a sheer blouse on date night or with booties and a chambray top at the office.

NYDJ Barbara Bootcut Jeans in Petite

Not a fan of skinny styles? Bootcut jeans are a great alternative. These ones are made with a neat slimming panel that helps flatter your shape and elongates legs with its bootcut design. So basically, it’s a win-win!

Spanx Petite Faux Leather Leggings

Whether you’re an XS or a 3X, these petite leggings come in a size that suits your unique figure. The faux leather bestseller provides lift, compression and contouring. The high-waisted leggings are also made without a front center seam to help you avoid that dreaded camel toe look.

Petite dresses and jumpsuits for winter

  • What to look for: Mini dresses and belted jumpsuits
  • Why they work for petites: “Mini dresses allow you to give the illusion of mile-long legs. Maximize the illusion by pairing your mini dress with black opaque tights and chunky platform heels,” Poshmark Curation and Merchandising Expert Chloe Baffert said.

Loft Petite Shimmer Animal Print Sweater Dress

“Select a mini sweater dress with a hemline that’s just above your knees to accentuate your legs and balance out proportions,” Sun said. “Style it with tall leather boots and layer on a double breasted plaid boyfriend blazer to finish your look.”

We can’t decide what we love more about this soft sweater dress: the sassy leopard print or the added bit of shimmer. Luckily, we don’t have to choose!

Old Navy Collarless Utility Jumpsuit

Jumpsuits can be intimidating when you’re petite, but they can actually help elongate your body when you find the right fit.

“If the goal is to stretch your body, an all-in-one jumpsuit can be a great must have! Take time to try them on and find the perfect fit for your body. Accessorize with a belt to cinch in your waist and break up the panel of material,” McCormack said.

Whether you rock this neutral number with heels and a blazer at the office or with ballet flats and statement jewelry on date night, you can’t go wrong. We love everything about it: from the crew neck design and the hidden zip fly to the elasticized drawstring waist and plentiful pockets.

Draper James Lee Ann Dress

Don’t feel like giving up floral prints just because the weather is a bit chillier? You don’t have to! This beautiful blue hue is winter-ready and the knee length dress is also pretty rad. We’re digging the puff sleeves, tiered skirt and soft, stretchy knit. The babydoll silhouette is also universally flattering!

White House Black Market Petite Satin Smocked Waist Blouson

Mini dresses can look a bit out of place on a taller frame, but petites can rock them without skipping a beat. This gorgeous green dress has a versatile smocked waist and a satin material that can be dressed up for a special event or down for a day at the office.

Petite jackets for winter

  • What to look for: Cropped and wrist-length styles
  • Why they work for petites: “Cropped jackets are a great way to make legs look longer and the frame taller. A classic black leather biker style is a sure wardrobe hero to take you through the seasons,” McCormack said.

Athleta Hanover Hybrid Jacket

“The key is finding a cropped hemline that shows off your waist. I love to pair that boxy silhouette with a more tailored bottom like vintage-inspired jeans for balance and top off the look with ultra pointed toe booties to give a little height,” Baffert said.

With its cropped length and semi-fitted silhouette, this velvet jacket from Athleta is ideal for a petite frame. It’s made with recycled insulation, making it a sustainable option, and has Theromolite fibers that help fend off winter weather. Plus, it’s available in petite sizes!

Truth + Style Knit Jersey Cropped Jacket

“Balancing proportion is key for a petite dresser. Cropped and slightly boxy jackets allow you to play into the oversized menswear inspired trend without sacrificing a flattering silhouette,” Baffert said.

Not a fan of denim or moto jackets? This dressier style is great for work and the weekends and has an open front that lets you display your favorite blouses.

Lands’ End Petite Fleece Quarter Zip Pullover

Available in petite, regular and tall varieties, this quarter zip pullover comes in a range of sizes to help you find the perfect fit. It’s available in six colors and is made of a super soft, anti-static material.

Venus Faux-Leather Lace-Up Jacket

“A good moto jacket can easily give you structure without adding bulk,” Sun said. “One thing to watch out for is the sleeve length. Definitely opt for one where the length is just a touch longer than your wrist, but doesn’t swallow your whole hand. Moto jackets are a great way to add some texture to a look while still looking polished.”

This sleek faux leather style comes in two hues — black and rose gold — and has a cropped fit with lace-up details that add a nice edge. The workhorse wardrobe staple can pair equally well with mini dresses or leggings and a sweater. Plus, it’s also available in sizes XS-3X.

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