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What is Petite Clothing?

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The word “petite” is typically used to describe someone who is 5’4” or under. Since there’s such a misconception around this, we’ll say it loud and clear - petite describes someone’s height, not size or shape! Petite clothing is clothing designed for those of us who are petite. That said, petite clothing could also fit people who are over 5’4”. It comes down to proportions sometimes. Some people find that petite bottoms or petite tops fit them best because of their body’s individual proportions.

The average woman in the US is just under 5’4”. Most people we know are shocked to learn this. It’s especially shocking to some of us because clothing seems to be designed for taller people. Many petite women (us included!) struggle to find clothing to wear because most of the clothing in the market doesn’t fit their petite frames. Pants that drag on the floor. Long sleeves that go past our hands. Shirts that look more like dresses. None of these scenarios are uncommon for the petite woman. Sure, we could get things hemmed or taken in, but that’s expensive and time consuming. Plus, some clothing feels like it would need to be completely redesigned to fit. Feels more like a gamble than an investment if you ask us. Not to mention, (if there is one) the petite section tends to be snuck away in the corner of store. To put it lightly, clothing for petites is an afterthought.

You’re probably wondering why brands design for our taller friends if petites are the average. We were also scratching our heads. Generally speaking, designers use fit models during their design process. These fit models are meant to represent the average. Samples are made to fit the fit model and clothing is subsequently sized up and down from that sample size through a process called marking and grading. This might explain why some brands might fit you better that others. Interestingly, this fit model, which is supposed to represent the average, is typically 5’5” or taller. This is one of the most obvious reasons why clothing just doesn’t fit petites as well as our taller counterparts.    

Petite brands like S64 use petite fit models so clothing is designed with this petite frame in mind. Petite clothing typically has reduced inseams, shorter bodices, narrower shoulders, and shrunken armholes for a better petite fit. At S64, we hope to bring petites clothing that actually fits and looks great off the rack - no alterations or cuffing needed (finally!).  

What clothing do you struggle to find in petite friendly proportions? Email us with your feedback or just say hello@s64petite.com!