Being short has its ups and downs, literally.
Growing up, when all my friends were rocking the best Levi’s or skinny jeans, my 5ft 1inch frame would mean the jeans, which I paired with the latest cool t-shirt or baggy jumper, would either be trailing on the floor or rolled up hundreds of times at the hem, just to get them to fit.
But the last few years have seen brands becoming more inclusive, with an amazing array of plus size clothes and - hooray for short people! - petite sizes too: good news for myself and other ladies who don’t fare so well in the height department (cc: Lady Gaga and Reese Witherspoon). Petite women are being catered for, finally.
What is a petite size?
When it comes to petite ranges for trousers and jeans, we’re talking women who measure 5ft 4inches and under, with the leg length coming in at around 28 inches or shorter - grazing the ankle, but still long enough to be able to wear those killer six-inch heels you love.
Petite ranges normally range between size 6 to 20, while some brands don’t necessarily have petite ranges, look for anything with a shorter leg, from 28-inch or below.
In the name of fashion fairness, I tried on different brand’s petite denim ranges to find out which hit the mark, and to make shopping for them less painful for you. From skinny legs to high rise, here’s my edit of the best petite jeans for women.
Shop the selection below
Good American petite skinny jeans
We love it when jeans are perfectly tailored to our size and these Good American jeans are just that: designed to fit perfectly on lasses 5”4 and under. The brand comes from Khloe Kardashian and while the famous family know a thing or two about dressing curves, her knowledge clearly extends to petite sizing too.
The light blue jeans sit just right, with the legs brushing the ankles, which means the distressed detail at the bottom can also be shown off.
Made from recycled materials, with a zip fly and button closure, we love how soft and comfortable the jeans are. The mid-rise pair sit perfectly on the hips. We found that we could wear them all day and night, just dressing them up with heels in the evening.
Buy now £131.00, Good American
GAP High Rise True Skinny Jeans with Washwell
You can’t go wrong with a pair of GAP jeans, and this skinny pair, which graze the ankle and are some of the snuggest jeans we’ve tried – they fit like a glove.
As well as regular and tall these come in a petite range, which starts at 24.5inches. The jeans are super stretchy, meaning you can move about in them as much as you like, while they also have hidden front pockets which help to hold you in. Perfect to pair with a smart top and heels for date night.
Buy now £49.95, GAP
Mint Velvet Maryland Light Indigo jeans
Sometimes you just want a classic pair of jeans, that fit as nicely on the waist, as they do on the leg. These Mint Velvet jeans come in short versions - perfect for anyone under 5ft 4, they graze the ankle, while also sitting around the hips comfortably. The stretch denim, which is woven with cotton gives them a soft to the touch feel and also makes them really easy to wear all day. Perfect with a simple tee or a cosy knit - you’ll want to wear them even if you’re just lounging around the house.
Buy now £79.00
Marks and Spencers Per Una Tencel™ Rich High Waisted Skinny Jeans
One for those who prefer high wasted jeans to help flatter their curves, these soft comfortable pair look great with an oversized jumper. Available in three colours they come in a petite option, which has a shorter leg, and fits just below the ankle. Made with sustainably sourced cotton they’re a great option for comfort and style.
Buy now £35.00, Marks and Spencer
PAIGE Hoxton cropped skinny high-rise stretch-denim jeans
A slim high rise fit the Paige Hoxton jeans are a great call for the petite ladies as they’re cut shorter on the leg. With a stretch cotton blend they’re easy to slip on and wear all day, and on to your evening schedule of events.
Perfect to wear with trainers without having to roll them up, they have a raw hem which adds to their stylish design. Sitting high on the waist they’re a slim fit that’ll look great for all sorts of occasions.
Buy now £245.00, Selfridges
Spanx Distressed skinny jeans
Spanx may be known for their form-slimming shapewear but the celebrity-loved brand has moved to pieces you’ll be happy for anyone to see.
This pull-on pair with no front zipper aren’t as skintight as you’d imagine from the brand. While they did eventually go baggy at the knee, the high waisted jeans were incredibly comfortable to move around in and surprisingly didn’t dig into the waist or stomach.
The jeans, which come in dark blue and black have a slightly distressed design, fit perfectly to the length of our legs. The jeans would pair well with black boots and a cute top.
Buy now £112.00, Spanx
River Island Petite blue ripped mid-rise jeans
These snug-fitting jeans, from their petite collection, which are perfect for anyone 5“3 or under, are frayed in all the right places and have a turned-up hem - but fit perfectly finishing at the ankle. With buttonholes to fasten all the way up, you can dress the mid-rise jeans up with heels and a stylish top or down with trainers and a simple top.
Buy now £46.00, River Island
La Redoute Overdyed Boyfriend Jeans with High Waist
These 90s inspired overdyed jeans are the perfect look for weekend lounging, chilling out in at home or slipping into for a laid-back brunch with your mates.
The boyfriend fit has an elasticated waistband that sits high making them super comfy, plus two long patch pockets at the front for extra style and essentials storage.
The jeans aren’t part of a petite range but a 28inch length means the hem sits just above the ankle allowing you to wear them with ballet pumps or stylish trainers without drowning in extra fabric.
Buy now £60.00, La Redoute
Topshop Petite Kort organic cotton blend jean in washed black
If you miss the days of riffling through the petite range racks at Topshop, all it takes is a little digital trip to ASOS to have you tripping down memory lane. The website is keeping Topshop alive with fresh ranges, including these oversized denim jeans in black.
We found the button flies a little hard to master but the super high-rise jeans sat perfectly around the stomach. They did come up a little long on the leg, falling below our ankles by a couple of inches - but the Kort style would be perfect to wear with heeled boots. With five pockets the straight fit jeans are a great flashback to noughties-style jeans.
Buy now £40.00, ASOS
Zara Cropped flared jeans
If skinny but flared are your preferred combination then these jeans from high street hero Zara could be a winner for you. The flared jeans, which fray at the hems are a real statement piece for any wardrobe.
While Zara doesn’t currently offer a petite range when it comes to jeans, this pair is cut smaller, making them a genuinely great fit for petite women. Made with slightly stretchy fabric they come in an array of colours, from black to yellow.
The price is a real persuader. For under £30, they’re a great bargain to wear any day of the week.
Buy now £25.99, Zara
Scamp & Dude Indigo Girlfriend Jeans
Suitable for petite sizes and available from sizes 6 - 20, these super soft sustainable girlfriend jeans felt really comfortable, especially around the waist as they have extra stomach support.
Made responsibly from 100 per cent organic cotton and with low environmental impact these jeans are a straight cut so were a little loose around the knee area: if you’re looking for something a bit tighter, try Scamp & Dude’s skinny versions instead.
We felt they flattered the legs, and the 28inch leg just skimmed the bottom of our ankles so would be perfect to wear with heels or boots.
Buy now £75.00, Scamp & Dude
A good petite skinny jean, which is comfortable and stylish, is quite hard to find - but we think the Good American petite skinny jeans have nailed it. They sit perfectly on the hips and graze the ankles delicately, without having to adjust the length. The slightly distressed features give them a great day to evening look, while they also feel super soft and comfy on.