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Best petite dresses—from summer frocks to evening, work and casual designs

Woman&Home logo Woman&Home 07/06/2022 Rivkie Baum
Best petite dresses © Provided by Woman&Home Best petite dresses

If you're 5'4 or under, then the best petite dresses should be a high priority on your shopping list. Designed with smaller statures in mind, they'll help you get the perfect fit this summer.

When it comes to our summer capsule wardrobe, the best dresses play a huge role. With a host of summer occasions on the horizon, if you have a smaller stature, you'll want to investigate the best petite dresses and the best petite jeans so you can fill your wardrobe with clothes that offer you a great fit. While petites can of course buy any dresses on the main fashion market and have them taken up, the best petite dresses have been specifically designed with a shorter stature in mind. That means that often the whole cut of the torso will have been adapted for a petite frame. 

There is a huge misconception that petite is its own body type, but petite women come in all shapes and sizes. You might want to consider your shape prior to shopping, so you know which cuts are generally the most flattering for your silhouette. Check out our guides on: How to dress a pear-shaped body, how to dress an hourglass body shape and how to dress an apple body shape for some extra hints and tips. 

18 best petite dresses - selected by our fashion team

The best petite dresses in this list have been chosen for their petite cuts. When the information has been available, we have also listed the length of the dress. While petite cuts take into account that the torso also needs to generally be shorter, you can also adapt dresses from mainline collections to fit your frame. Making friends with a local tailor - you can often find one at a dry cleaner - will help you do this, because, no matter how much you spend on an item, a great fit always makes clothes look and feel expensive. 

British clothing brand ONLY has a dedicated petite range, serving up the same stylish designs as the main range, reworked specifically for a smaller frame. For those who are also looking for the best sustainable clothing brand, ONLY have a mission to be climate positive and fair for all, making them a great label to support. 

One of the best petite dresses for summer, the gorgeous blue floral print can easily be dressed up or down, depending on occasion. For running summer errands, team with your best white trainers, or style up for an occasion with a pair of heels and some statement earrings. 

 

Karen Millen has really diversified in recent years and now has a host of categories to cover different body types. One of the best plus size clothing brands, Karen Millen also has an extensive petite collection, checking off everything from smart workwear to chic evening styles. 

This mango hue plays right into the fashion color trends 2022. Leaning towards dopamine dressing, this is a mood-boosting bright dress that will look gorgeous for an evening occasion. From what to wear on a first date, to what to wear to a wedding this summer, this bias cut silky dress answers a lot of fashion dilemmas. 

Boden has been delivering fantastic spring/summer looks for years, and the majority of its dresses come in both regular and petite fits—although you'll have to be quick as sizes sell out quickly. With a focus on added detail, the clothing brand often offers unique prints and attractive trims to ensure its looks have a bit of an extra luxe factor. 

This stylish olive green dress with crochet trim is bang on trend for the summer months. With a really artisanal feel, we saw a lot of crochet detailing on the runway both on clothing and via the handbag trends 2022. Made from jersey, this relaxed-fit dress has a lovely soft drape. With a throw-on-and-go aesthetic, this dress is ideal for holidays and could even act as one of the best beach cover-ups, just add your best beach bag and you've got one stylish poolside look. 

Banana Republic have a great petite selection of product, often producing the same styles as the mainline collection, but with a considered fit for smaller frames. Offering luxury fabrications, this dress is 100% silk and ideal for what to wear to a bridal shower this summer. With a stylish swing fit, this is also ideal for petites who want a dress that isn't formfitting. Featuring a halterneck fastening, you'll want to invest in one of the best strapless bras or the best bras that can be worn multiple ways for bust support. Dress up with your best designer heels to finish the look.  

There is a common misconception that petite women can't also be plus size, and that has meant that often brands cater to either one of the other. Luckily American clothing brand, Lane Bryant tackles both in one, with this plus size, petite dress. Specializing in sizes 10-40, Lane Bryant is certainly a market leader when it comes to plus size clothing. Lane Bryant is all about inclusive fashion and this curve-loving dress is also one of the best maxi dresses for petites too. A versatile style, pair with your best sandals for a holiday-ready look or dress up with heels for a summer occasion. 

A metallic dress is always a good idea, and while this look used to be reserved for the Christmas party, the fashion trends 2022 hailed a return of the sequin for the summer months. After dressing in our best loungewear for so long, designers filled the runway with party-ready styles to entice us back out again, and it has worked. While this dress isn't clingy, for a really smooth silhouette, you'll want to invest in some of the best shapewear for underneath this sparkly frock. The V-neck at the front and back is a clever design for petite women as it draws the eye up and down the body, instantly adding length to your torso. Wallis has had a really active petite collection for a long time, with a whole category dedicated to those 5'4 and under.


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"Flowers for spring? Groundbreaking", pardon the Devil wears Prada, fashion quote, but while this design might not be revolutionary, it certainly offers plenty of style mileage. A floral frock never goes out of fashion and in a black-based print with sleeves, you can easily wear this dress all year through. 

With a specialist petite category, the majority of Loft's dresses come in a petite option. Pair this dress with tights and your best winter boots in cooler months, before swapping them out for sneakers or sandals come warmer weather. Easy to dress up or down, this dress is a style classic that can be worn again and again. Whether you're after something for day to day, or a chic option for what to wear to the theatre, adjust your accessories to dress this look up or down.

Roman is a family-owned business, established in 1957. Specializing in occasionwear looks, it's a great option for some of the best mother of the groom dresses and mother of the bride outfits, with lots of lovely mix and match dress and jacket options. 

The petite clothing range, although it isn't as broad as some brands on this list, is an ideal place to shop for those looking for cocktail, summer wedding, and race day wear. Offering fascinators too, this is a sleek one-stop-shop that also has fantastic price points. 

Looking for glamour on a budget? This gorgeous teal silky dress with red floral print from Chi Chi Clothing looks like it has just stepped off the runway, ensuring you'll turn heads at any event this summer. Ideal for a wedding guest outfit or for taking on vacation - think of those alfresco dinners, this dress can be reworked for multiple occasions. With an asymmetric hem, it's ideal for lengthening your frame as it draws the eye up and along your silhouette. 

We love championing indie clothing brands and Petite Dressing, is as the name suggests, specifically designed for shorter women. Founded by a woman who is 5'2, the brand knows exactly what its customer is looking for and creates gorgeous designs and fits, keeping stature front and center of the design process. 

In a pretty lace, this dress is ideal for smarter occasions, from work dinners to weddings. The higher waistline nips you in, elongating your legs, a clever styling trick to look out for on other dresses. For even more height, team with some slim heeled sandals or courts. 

If you're looking for one of the best petite dresses when it comes to what to wear to an interview, then this is the LBD that needs to find its way into your closet. A classic black dress in a shift shape is a timeless design and will never go out of fashion. Easy to layer for different weathers and occasions, it is the ultimate wardrobe building block. We love the belted wait that will help to flatter the figure. You can wear this all year round by pairing it with a little cardigan or blazer and some sheer tights in the colder months. Simple and sophisticated.

We love ASOS for its huge range of both own-brand and branded labels. A real one-stop shop, you can always find something on the ASOS website. But with so many options, many shoppers can find it overwhelming. Our top tip is to always use the filter buttons to narrow down your search. You can immediately remove non-petite products, which will make finding the best petite dresses that bit easier.  

A white cotton shirt dress is ideal for the summer months. Light and airy, it will certainly keep you cool on warmer days, particularly with the smock shape that will avoid fabrics sticking to your skin. Easy to dress down with sandals for evenings out, or style up for the office with your best blazer

Originally selling vintage clothing from a small LA storefront, Reformation is now one of our top fashion destinations. With an emphasis on sustainability, the brand produces clothing in small runs, testing the market, rather than making huge production runs that might end up in landfills. If demand is there, the brand increases supply, but every piece at Reformation still has a more limited run, than many other straight-to-market clothing labels. 

One of the main players in the fashion market showcasing that style doesn't have to cost the earth, this sweet floral dress, with bust flattering square neckline is certainly a look that won't date any time soon. The thigh-grazing split adds a little glamour to the look and also ensures comfortable ease of movement. Pair with a new season basket bag for a directional feel.

Created exclusively for Macy's, this Alfani frock is one of the best shirt dresses for petites. The abstract black and white print ensures this dress makes a punchy statement, that can be worn for multiple occasions. A great summer outfit for work, the shirt dress is a classic style that won't date, making this a strong investment piece. The monochromatic coloring ensures this dress can be worn in cooler months too. Team with low-heeled summer sandals or a pair of on-trend loafers to keep this look smart and tailored. 

Fashion brand J.Crew provides a wide range of clothing that covers multiple categories. From petite to plus size, we've come to rely on this American retailer for timeless items that we can slide into our capsule wardrobe. 

A favorite with celebrities and stylists, J.Crew pieces give a nod to the latest trends and this chic maxi dress hits two trends in one. Answering the common fashion question, what is boho style, this relaxed fit dress with tiered skirt certainly has the answer. Coupled with cut-out sides - a look we also saw in the swimwear trends 2022, this runway-worthy dress is a sure-fire hit this summer. 

Although the dress is a maxi length, cut specifically for petites, it is ideal for those 5'4 and below. Great for the beach, it's time to grab your favorite sun hat, beach bag and best designer sunglasses.

River Island has been around for decades and delivers directional styles across a host of categories. From petite to plus size, the brand has a range of designs for every occasion. 

Leopard print never goes out of style, so this chic satin midi is a piece you can wear year after year. A sophisticated, high-neck design, with long sleeves, it's ideal for those looking for something smart and modest. A great option if you're wondering what to wear to the races this summer. Simply add a fascinator or hat, plus any of the best clutch bags and a pair of on-trend kitten heels and you're good to go

Tea dresses have become increasingly popular over the last few seasons. A ladylike design, this pretty gingham dress is evocative of the summer, with the picnic check print reminiscent of beach strolls and long sunny days in the park. 

Photographed on a 5'4, petite model, the dress falls to the knee, making it a midi-length dress for those of shorter stature. This pretty dress is ideal for smart-casual occasions with a faux-wrap front and neat elasticated waist. The cut-out back adds a directional feel. 

Ruffles and frills are a big trend this season and the look really comes into its own when it comes to dresses. Part of the brand's Conscious Edit, it focuses on pairing great design with sustainable credentials. The green and white leaf print is ideal for the summer months, conjuring up tropical holiday vibes. Easily adaptable for different occasions, this dress could easily be styled with the best denim jackets and white sporty sandals for a casual spin, or dressed up with a cropped jacket and heels for a smarter feel. The length is perfect for those with a petite frame, being just 81.28cm long.

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