1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What does petite mean?


Young woman trying on shoes
Edwin Remsberg/Photodisc/Getty Images
Question: What does petite mean?
Answer: When we refer to petite, most people assume we mean tiny. However, in the fashion world, petite refers to a size range of clothing that is made to fit the shorter woman who is 5'4" or under. When you're shopping for petite clothing, it's important to check retailers' size charts because a few retailers designate 5'3", rather than 5'4", as the top height for their petite clothing.

Petite fashion first appeared in the late 1940s, according to the New York Times, when Hannah Troy noticed that regular clothing was too long-waisted for shorter women. However, for years after petite sizing was introduced in the fashion world, relatively few designers took note.

Although today not all manufacturers offer petite clothing, an increasing number of them do sell petite garments. Retailers are also continuing to expand their selections of petite clothing in order to meet their customers' needs.

In most cases, you'll find more petite clothing in your favorite retailers' online catalogues than in local stores, which typically devote more floor space to regular sized clothing. So shopping online definitely expands fashion options for petites.

  1. About.com
  2. Style
  3. Petite Fashion
  4. What Petite Means
  5. What Does Petite Mean In Women's Clothing?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.