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How to dress as a petite woman - can petite women wear prints?

Posted on August 27 2019


Petite women have so many fashion challenges to face that taller women simply do not. The clothes on the High Street are not designed with us in mind - even though the average height for women in the UK is a little over 5' 3"..... As any smaller woman knows, it is so hard for those whose height is 160cm ( 5'3") or under to walk into a clothes shop or department store and be lucky enough to find a style that fits perfectly and suits her body shape. 

So what tips can I suggest to help you find those clothes and styles that will be most suited to the petite woman?  In this post I am going to focus on prints. I know that shorter women are no different in looking for ideas for outfits and so I hope my advice on petite styles is helpful. Whether you are a petite woman over 30 or over 60 this advice holds good.

People often refer to short or petite - just to be clear, when I say petite, I am referring to height and not to weight. So petite in my book means simply 5' 3' (160cm) and under.




The current fashion for prints seems to run on and on. They are still very much in vogue. I must admit that in the past I have tended to steer away from these as I so often found they did not suit my small frame and I felt swamped by them. However, I have recently become more open to wearing them but this comes with caveats. As a shorter woman it is so easy to feel drowned by a print, particularly if it is an allover print and is not just a small part of the dress/top you are wearing. 

I and my team have been on the hunt for prints that the smaller woman can wear with confidence. We have been really pleased with our new step into prints for our Jennifer Anne petite fashion collection.

So here are my top tips for petite women and prints

  • Don't be afraid of them - you too can wear prints if you want to!
  • Proportion in prints is really important - any print you wear should be in proportion to your height and weight. I have seen lots of advice saying that the print should be smaller than your fist. You might find this helpful to bear in mind.


Midi print dress navy pink petite Jennifer Anne


  • If wearing a separate top and bottom with both in a print, look for co-ordinating prints. Nothing is ever impossible but you will look less overwhelmed by a print if your top half matches your bottom half.
  • If you do go for a bolder print, you can tone down the impact by putting something plain with it eg wear a blazer over a printed dress, put printed trousers with a neutral top or balance your outfit the other way round.
  • If you want to wear a dress with an allover print then find one with a continuous print to help give the illusion of height. 

Petite silk wrap dress print Jennifer Anne

  • On the whole I would definitely advise petite women to steer clear of large prints. If you are small and curvy you should still stick to the smaller prints. Follow this advice and you will avoid a 'short girl' fashion mistake.
  • The bolder the print the simpler the outfit.
  • Wearing the print on the top will draw the eye upwards - a useful trick for us smaller women who like to make the most of the inches we have!


Petite gathered neck viscose top Jennifer Anne


So can petite women can wear prints? I would say yes but bear in mind my top tips!


The images in this post show some gorgeous prints from our latest Jennifer Anne Petite arrivals:

1. Austen Petite Navy Midi Print Dress £149 100 % Viscose (sizes 6 -14)

2. Shelley Dress Petite Black and Orange Print Wrap Dress £239 100% Silk (sizes 6 -16)

3. Alcott Petite Gathered Neck Top £99 100 % viscose (sizes 6 -14)

Jennifer Anne: not simply a petite friendly brand but a brand exclusively designed for the petite woman. All our clothes are designed and made in London.

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