What is Petite Plus Size?

Natalie in the City shares what petite plus size means, how to dress a petite plus size body, and where to shop for petite plus clothing.
Natalie wears Eloquii jeans that came in an ankle fit, but were the perfect length.

Have you been hearing the term "petite and plus size" a lot more lately? If so, you might be wondering what these two terms paired together mean. Historically, plus size clothing and petite clothing have been on the opposite side of the sizing spectrum. 


Petite sizing is for women who are slim and stand under 5'3. Most petite clothing lines don't go above a size 12, which tends to be the start of most plus size collections. However, there are a few brands that sell a petite size 14-18 and XXL, which is technically petite and plus size. Whereas plus size clothing is made for women who or curvier or more full figured. Plus size collections usually start at a size 12 and go all the way up to a size 32. 

Find out where to buy petite plus size clothing


What does petite plus size mean?

So what does petite and plus size mean? A true petite and plus size offering is made for women who stand under 5'3 and range from sizes 12-32. Me, personally, I am a size 18 and I stand at 5'2, which means that I am petite and plus size. 

As I touched on above, there is some overlap when it comes to petite and plus size clothing, but it is extremely rare. However, there are more petite plus size brands to shop that are creating clothing for women who are both short and curvy today. And I only expect for the term petite plus to grow since the average American woman is a size 18 and stands under 5'4. While there aren't many brands that are solely dedicated to selling petite plus size clothing, it appears that most women actually fit into the petite and plus size range. 


Am I petite and plus size?

If you stand under 5'3 and you usually shop in the plus size section, then you are most likely petite and plus size. Since I can remember, pants have always been too long on me and I have had to get all of my favorite bottoms hemmed and tailored. When I was a kid and knew nothing about a tailor, I used to wear jeans and let them drag. They would fray at the ends and holes would soon destroy my favorite jeans. When I would shop—even up until recently—I always told myself that I was just weirdly built and that I would never be able to find clothing that fit me perfectly because of my curves and my height. But now, as an empowered plus size and petite shopper, I know that I deserve clothing that fits my short and curvy figure perfectly. I first realized that I was both petite and plus size when I saw that Talbots has a petite and plus sizes. However, determining your size isn't always as clear cut, but here are a few other circumstances that can help you determine if you are petite and plus size: 

  • When you try on plus size bottoms, they are often way too long. 
  • You find that work pants, jeans, skirts, shorts and other bottoms fit you oddly. 
  • The sleeves and bodice of your favorite plus size shirts, sweaters, and blouses are too long. 
  • Pants that have a cropped or ankle fit are the perfect fit for you. 
  • You often roll or cuff jeans, leggings, and pants so that they don't drag. 
  • Maxi dresses are usually too long and drag. 
  • You have to get all of your pants professionally tailored and hemmed. 
  • Longer tunics and shirts could easily pass for a dress. 
  • Leggings and jeggings bunch at your ankles. 
  • High waisted skirts and jeans are often too high waisted for you and sit right under your bust.
  • Midi skirts could easily be maxi skirts on your figure. 


Where to buy petite plus size clothes?

Although the term "petite plus" isn't widely used just yet, I know we will see more brands starting to adopt sizing and clothing to meet the needs of petite and plus size fashionistas. Here are some of the brands that either carry a dedicated petite plus size line or they have "petite" or "short" inseam options for most of their plus sizes. I will list these in order from the brands I love and have tried before to the brands I haven't tried yet.


Shop petite plus size jeans


Natalie in the City shares what petite plus size means, how to dress a petite plus size body, and where to shop for petite plus clothing.
Natalie wears wide leg pants from Eloquii, which were hemmed by a tailor to fit.


How to dress a petite plus size body

If you are new here and aren't very familiar with me...Hi, my name is Natalie and I believe in petite plus size fashion without rules! If you search the internet for ways to dress your body, there will be thousands of articles telling you how to shrink this, emphasize that, and never wear this. However, I believe that you should wear whatever you feel the most comfortable and confident in. 


Personally, I love clothes that hug my curves, show off my figure, and feel good on my skin throughout the day. I am also someone who needs to be three different places in any given day—from the office to the gym to a blogging event. This means that I need a wardrobe that is highly versatile, comfortable, and confidence boosting. 


There is no wrong way to dress a petite plus body, but here are some of the "rules" or "priorities" I keep top of mind when I am shopping for new clothing: 

  • Find pants that are fitted throughout and have a short inseam or an ankle fit to mitigate bunching or dragging. 
  • Roll pants that are too long to fit just above the ankle and top them off with a short heel to elongate my figure. 
  • Knee high and wide calf over the knee boots are sexy and fun! You should wear them with jeans, leggings, skirts, and mini dresses. (side note: never let anyone tell you that you are too short to wear these!)
  • Turn any top into a crop top by knotting it or tucking it in. This style makes my legs look longer and I think it's a great way to boost confidence. 
  • Find a comfortable pair of heels that don't have a larger heel height than 2 inches. These can give you an extra boost when you are wearing pants that might be a little too long. 
  • When you are shopping for plus size maxi dresses and mini dresses, check to see if there are petite plus dresses so that you are sure to get a length that fits you perfectly.
  • Embrace any trends you want to, and don't let silly fashion rules hold you back from embracing the styles you love.

Shop 6 brands who sell petite plus size dresses

You can also keep up with me, Natalie in the City, on my blog or on Instagram. Since I am a petite plus size fashionista, you may find some inspiration in the way I style my outfits. Most of the clothing I wear isn't from a special plus size petite line. It's usually from the plus size brands you shop from today. I promise to always be transparent about sizing and how I make certain garments work for my figure! 


I hope this article was able to shed more light on what petite plus size is, and I hope you also were able to see yourself in this post! Whether you find yourself fitting into a certain size or you still feel like you haven't found your perfect fit, I just want to let you know that you absolutely deserve to have clothing that fits you the exact way you want it to. If you're petite and plus size, keep an eye out for more sizes and clothing lines in the near future—they are definitely coming! In the meantime, I will include a shoppable widget below where you can browse the latest petite plus size jeans, leggings, work pants, lounge wear, joggers, and more! Happy shopping! 

If you have any petite plus size questions or concerns, please feel free to DM me on Instagram or send me an email: natalie@natalieinthecity.com 


Check out these petite plus size bottoms: