We Found the Most Flattering Dresses for Petites

As someone who is still waiting for the day when she breaks the 5-foot mark, I know there’s nothing harder for petites to find than a well-fitting dress (yes, even tougher than the elusive “perfect” pair of pants).

When you are under 5’2″, finding a dress with a flattering length is usually just the start of your issues. Shorter arms mean that cuffing sleeves is not a choice but an absolute must. What might be a well-placed waist seam on taller women magically becomes drop-waist on us. Standard armholes end up exposing rib cages, and scoop necks mutate into plunging neck lines. The list goes on.

Even the petites section can pose a major sartorial challenge, since many designs ignore our need for a silhouette that elongates legs and defines curves. With that in mind, we scoured the market to find the best styles for us “snack size” girls. Shop our picks below.

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Flare
Courtesy
Loft
$80

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A front hem with a higher cut makes legs look longer, while the skirt’s narrower flare is less overpowering on a smaller frame.

Shirtdress
Courtesy
Loft
$80

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This one hits the jackpot. An above-the-knee hemline with shortened side seams give the illusion of a few extra inches in height.

Midi
Courtesy
Loft
$90

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Most midi dresses end up being maxi dresses on us. Not this one, which features a perfect mid-calf hemline as well as a torso-lengthening faux crop top.

Shift
Courtesy
Loft
$80

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One of the most flattering shapes, the shift is neither boxy nor tight. It’s tailored to have a loose cut without a defined waist, which balances smaller proportions. Opt for something with structure, since flimsy fabrics will highlight every bump.

Belted
Courtesy
Loft
$90

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A cinched style defines waists and accentuates curves—something that’s often hard to achieve when you’re small.

Drop Waist
Courtesy
Loft
$90

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A flounce hem make this the ideal tennis dress for those with short torsos.

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