Meet the clothing brand designed for petite women, by a petite woman

Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored
Mon August 19, 2019

It's no secret that clothing isn't actually designed for everyone. And for as long as I've been shopping, it's been a challenge to find clothes that truly fit me. At 5 feet, 1 inch tall, finding pants that fit without having to get them tailored is close to impossible. Sleeves are always too long and maxi dresses are -- for the most part -- a hard no.

Luckily, more and more retailers have been focusing on being more inclusive in their designs. When it comes to work clothes, J. Crew and Ann Taylor both have petite lines that include a range of sizes. For more casual clothing, ASOS carries a ton of different brands within its petite section and Topshop is great for statement dresses or jackets. And for jeans, Madewell is my go-to when it comes to petite denim that actually fits. At the end of the day, however, these brands carry petite options as an addition to their standard sizing, and it can feel as if certain body types are simply an afterthought.

For, of and by petite women

In comes Petite Studio, a company created around providing high-quality, stylish and ethically made clothing specifically for petite women. The brand has taken off on Instagram and among fashion bloggers, where real-life petite models show off Petite Studio's classic, feminine and vintage-inspired clothing. While Petite Studio serves petite women globally through its online store, the brand has a physical store in New York's SoHo district. It was there that I was able to meet with the couple behind the brand and try on some pieces for myself.

How the clothing fit

For context, I'm 5-foot-1 and typically wear a size 0. I have a smaller chest but larger legs, which is something that has always been an issue when it comes to purchasing dress pants. Based on this, Petite Studio co-founder Jenny Wang told me that I was probably an extra small, which is actually Petite Studio's sample size. And so I chose to try out two pieces that I would never buy in most stores -- a romper and a cropped pant.

The Juno Jumpsuit ($118.30, originally $169; petitestudio.com) is a gorgeous, French-inspired jumpsuit with pockets and adjustable straps. Jumpsuits rarely fit me because I have such short legs, but sliding into the Juno Jumpsuit felt like putting on a custom-tailored piece. It was comfortable, flattering and something I could see myself wearing at a whole range of occasions, from a casual brunch to a summer wedding. The other thing I noticed, after looking at pictures of myself, was that I actually looked tall. And that's something Wang mentioned to me in the store -- that the pieces are designed not only to fit petite women, but to actually flatter and elongate us.

The Fuschia Pants ($74.50, originally $149; petitestudio.com) are a perfect example of something I've always wanted to wear, but have never bought because I've never found a pair that fit. Very often, the waistline of pants like these sits way too high, while the length is always too long -- never mind them actually being cropped. But these were ultra-flattering, and not overwhelming for my frame at all. The crop fell in the perfect place, and again I felt like the pants had already been tailored for me.

Petite Studio carries sizes extra-extra-small through large, and features a detailed sizing guide on the site. Knowing that I have a pretty standard "petite" frame, I was curious as to how Petite Studio is able to accommodate a diversity of petite bodies in its designs. Wang told me that when she's designing pieces, she and her team take extra time to fit pieces on petite women of different shapes and sizes. She also cited the adjustable straps as something that can help a lot with fit. Both pieces I tried on also include a stretch fabric on the back, so there's a little give in the fabric to help adjust to different body shapes.

Little touches that make all the difference

One of the things that really resonated with me, and was extremely apparent as soon as I tried on a couple of pieces, was that Petite Studio isn't just creating smaller versions of "normal-sized" clothing. The brand is creating special, high-quality and truly thoughtful pieces -- something that's increasingly rare in a world dominated by fast fashion.

Petite Studio sources fabric from the same places that high-end luxury brands do, and the company makes sure all its production is happening in factories with humane working conditions. Matt Howell, Wang's husband and Petite Studio co-founder, told me that Petite Studio invests in a customer support team larger than a company of its size typically would, because it's important to them that people feel that they're part of a community when they shop at Petite Studio.

While you can wear most Petite Studio pieces to the office or to the grocery store, they feel just a touch more special to me. Whether it really is the quality of the materials, the cuts and sizing of the clothing, or the feeling of knowing your clothing was created with someone who looks like you in mind, I know for sure that my Petite Studio pieces will always have a special place in my closet.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.