In the U.S., a woman is generally considered petite if she is shorter than 5 feet, 4 inches tall. Women’s bodies, however, are not so easily categorized. For example, you can be petite and plus-size at the same time. You may find that petite sizes fit you properly below the waist but not above it -- or vice versa. Though petite technically means “short,” length is not the only difference between misses and petite clothing sizes.

Clothing Differences

Petite dresses and skirts are shorter than standard sizes and have smaller waist measurements. Pants are shorter with a smaller waist and also a shorter rise. Shirts, blazers, jackets and the top portions of dresses sized for petite women have shorter sleeves, higher waists and less material across the shoulders than their regular-sized counterparts. To truly flatter a petite frame, clothing embellishments are reduced in size along with the clothing pieces. Smaller print and floral patterns are used on petite clothing, as are smaller buttons and collars, and thinner belts. The pockets on articles of petite clothing are also frequently smaller.