If you’re short like me and under 5 foot 5 inches tall, then you’ll understand a lot of things can crop up when you’re clothes shopping. I’ve come to expect this all the time to be honest, and I’ve learnt to deal with them.
But since switching to more thrift shopping, the issues come back again. You’ll find a lot of pieces of clothes, especially if they’re more vintage, just won’t be quite right for you. So what are our common problems as a petite girl shopping for clothes?
Pants Don’t Fit
Yep, this one always comes up. When you’re looking for the perfect size or fit of pants, you look for something in your size. When it’s the perfect length, I always find the problem is the width is too small with the right length.
And it’s the other way round when finding the perfect waistband width. When it’s perfect at the top of your pants, it always ends up being too long at the bottom, causing it to drag on the ground. How annoying!
But there are some solutions to this. The first one is to tailor it, either professionally or by yourself. When you’ve got the perfect waist measurement, why not try your hand at altering the inseam yourself? It’s not too difficult even for amateur needle craftspeople and it might even be kind of fun to learn to do yourself.
The second is looking for stores that sell trousers by the width and length measurements, not by dress size. In the modern world, this makes so much more sense to me than the dress size method, and I think this could apply to the next problem too.
And the last option is using elastic. This is my favorite option for lounge wear, as it just keeps the bottom of those pants away from the ground. Either sew in a piece of elastic to the underside of your pants, buy pants that already have this feature, or even use a loose elastic band that can hold it up!
With the elastic band, simply place it above your ankle on your skin, then roll the outside of the trouser leg inside under the elastic. The result should be a natural and seamless fitting pant leg that doesn’t cause damage to the pants itself. This is good for things such as Levi’s jeans, if you don’t want to damage then. Of course you can roll them up too, which always looks pretty chic.
That Gap between the Shirt Buttons
If you’re like me and have chest proportions that are on the larger side, it can be very difficult to find a shirt with all the right dimensions. And you’ll know what I mean by that gap between the buttons on your shirt.
Once again, if you’re choosing a shirt that fits your dress size perfectly, but your chest doesn’t fit the proportions, it will feel like its bursting out of your shirt. And on the other hand, if it fits your chest area, it will be too loose around your abdomen area. You just can’t win.
With this, the only two options again are either tailoring, or maybe shopping higher end for better proportions. With the first one, you can size up and buy something that fits your chest, but get darts at the front to make the rest of the shirt fit better too.
The second option is shopping in places that create well tailored pieces, such as the British brand Hawes and Curtis. They make fairly affordable and well tailored pieces that place darts on the front, back and sides of their shirts. They even do a tailoring service in a few of their stores, for any pieces that you want to alter further. So if you’re willing to invest a little, you can get a lot out of it.
Tops are Too Long
I think this one has been the case for a long time now. Especially with more vintage clothes, what you’ll find is that the length of these pieces always go beyond the waist and even hips. This makes tops look so oversized, and it’s sometimes a little unflattering for us shorter girls.
You know what the solutions are by now, right? You can of course tailor them and cut them to the desired length. You could use a pair of scissors and leave the hem raw, or you could get the hem taken up and sewn up properly.
But nowadays, as the height proportions are better recognized these days, you could look to buy either tops for petite sizes, you could buy crop tops (which tend to fit me well at between waist and hip level), or even buy kids/teen sizes if you wanted to. I don’t normally do the last one as the styles tend to be more juvenile, but you if you knew it’d fit you. There’s no shame as clothes are clothes at the end of the day!
Sleeves are Too Long
Some of my favorite clothes sadly still have this issue. Long sleeves are great, but you’ll definitely come across sleeves that hide your hands. From shirts to coats, this makes you look like you are drowning in your clothes!
Fortunately, you can always do a bit of D.I.Y. on them. I find long sleeves with a raw hem doesn’t always work too well, so with this one tailoring might be necessary. Finding shirts that are petite will work well, or even sleeves that are meant to be 3/4 length can work.
You could even steal an idea from the pants issue, where you use a loose elastic band, or one of your hair bands. Simply pop it on your arm on top of your sleeve, at around the elbows, and fold over it with the fabric. It will seamlessly work into the outfit while being invisible.
So these are a few of the many things I’ve come across when dressing as a short girl. Maybe you’ll understand this too if you’re like me!