As someone who stands at a solid 5’2″ on the best of days, I can personally attest to the fact that shopping for dresses can feel like a real challenge. This is coming from the person who had to wear kid-sized dresses well into my middle school years because everything else I tried on was either too big in the chest, too long at the hem, or asorry combination of both. But now that I’m an adult, I have finally discovered all of the best petite dresses that work for me, and I’m sharing them with all of you, of course.
While you can—and should!—wear whichever dresses you want, no matter your height, let these options act as a series of guideposts if you truly don’t know what to look for when shopping for something new. I personally keep going back to a few fail-safe silhouettes because I always know that they’re going to look great in a pinch.
To make life easier, I’ve broken down all of my favorite frocks into five categories. These picks range from going out–approved minidresses to a few midi- and maxi-length options that will work for that day when you eventually need to return to the office, so keep scrolling to shop them all right now.
Ruching adds dimension to the simplest dress silhouettes. Some options on this list even come complete with drawstrings at the hem that let you control the length of your dress, so they’re amazing for those of us who are on the shorter side. You won’t have to make a trip to the tailor ever again.
If you want to feel just a little bit taller, opt for a halter dress. They’re great for petite frames because they make your neck look longer, which gives the illusion of added inches. The inclusion of a few cutouts also means that you’re ready for your next party.
Rather than wearing an oversize sweaterdress that may overwhelm your petite silhouette, try one that’s a little more fitted. Or if you prefer a sleeker alternative, a lightweight-feeling ribbed knit works just as well.
There are so many different wrap-dress styles to choose from right now, and they all look amazing on petite frames. A traditional version actually lets you customize your fit thanks to the tied waistband, while one that has wrapped detailing at the waist or on the skirt can make your legs look longer if that’s what you’re going for.
A dress that has a smocked-style bodice adds a bit of volume and interest on petite frames—bonus points if your frock has frilly sleeves. Plus, the fitted tops on these picks won’t make you look like you’re drowning in fabric.
Next Up, Sorry, But I Hate Cliché Party Dresses—Here’s What I’m Wearing Instead