Posted on January 10 2021
These are great questions for our petite readers. Let's take a look at them and see what we come up with by way of answers.
What height is petite?
So, first let's think about what height is considered petite. Here in the UK, generally it is given as 5' 3" (1.6m). In the USA on the other hand if you ask what height petite clothes are for, you are more likely to see 5' 4" (1.625 m) quoted. The difference is probably due to the average height for women being higher in America than in the UK. People are often surprised to learn that the average height in the UK is only 5'3.5" and it does make it even more astonishing how badly the fashion industry here provides for 'petite' women.Another view is that being petite has not much to do about height and is more about proportion (see below).
Is there a definition of petite?
Well there is no agreed definition as such but there are certainly strongly held views! I do think that height comes into it. While you can certainly be bigger than 5'3" and be considered petite I don't think that would apply to someone who is 6'...It is a question of degree.
In terms of clothing for a petite woman, the view that we have taken here at Jennifer Anne is that petite does refer (on the whole) to height and we design our clothes accordingly. Most of our customers are between 5' and 5'3" but we do have women smaller and taller than that. We ensure that the clothes are proportionate for a woman in this height range.
To that end we design the Jennifer Anne fit for narrower shoulder width, shorter length from nape to waist, shorter length arms and legs than the standard height ranges do. I am sure you have all had the experience of trying on clothes in the changing room and being reduced to tears of laughter (or frustration) at the acres of excess material as you pull the trousers up and wonder what Amazonian women the clothing brand has had in mind...
This correct proportioning means that our customers who are a little smaller or taller than the central Jennifer Anne Petite height range will also be able to find the clothes are a good fit for them too. Taller women who have a shorter nape to waist range than average for their height will love our petite tops, shirts, jumpers and jackets and those with shorter legs relative to their height will be delighted to wear our trousers.
Similarly we have customers who are under 5' and have found dresses are just right for them as they like to wear them a little longer or shirts that sit perfectly on their top half.
It is very hard to design clothes that will please everyone but we have learned a lot in our first three years and are managing to come up with styles that will suit a greater variety of shapes and sizes within our petite framework. It is challenging but rewarding and we are so pleased to get feedback from you so we can fine tune our designs and improve.
Who is considered petite?
That can be very subjective. It took me some time when growing up to realise that I was quite small compared to the average female. I had been 'relatively' tall as a 10 year old but had simply stopped growing while my friends continued to grow upwards and left me far behind (or below...). I still don't consider myself to be as small as I am and it is quite a shock when I look at pictures of myself with friends and see them towering above me. I just don't feel that they are that much bigger than me.
Is this just me or have some of you experienced the same feeling? I certainly don't feel small in personality or confidence so maybe that is part of it. I don't mind being small and am very happy with my height. The only frustrating part was the huge struggles to find clothes that would fit. I found it so hard to know where I could find petite clothes - if only Jennifer Anne Petite had been around then!
I would love to know what your views on this are.
The general perception of a petite woman normally encompasses a woman who is quite short but also very slim. People often focus more on the slim part than on the height. We would counter with our view that all slender women are not necessarily petite and all petite women are not necessarily skinny. We base our designs on height primarily and then produce different sizes for that height. Our petite range of clothing is designed for the smaller woman and this does not mean just shrinking down the clothes on length - the whole proportions are different for the petite figure and that is why our clothes fit our petite customers so well! We love the term curvy petite for the slightly larger sizes we produce.