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The Best Jeans for Petites & Where to Buy Them

Here is what it’s like to go shopping as a petite woman in America (and just about everywhere else) in 2018: hell.

Picture this: I go into the store and I see a slightly leaning tower of jeans before me. I rummage through the folded stack(s) of jeans desperately seeking the letter “P” or “S” (which stands for “petite” or “short”). When I realize that this exhaustive search is in vain, I fold the gargantuan stack of jeans back up (because I’m not a monster – I’m just short) and I begrudgingly take the way-too-big regular sized jeans to the dressing room. I toss off my shoes, I throw the jeans on and I am swimming in them… though I am nowhere near a swimming pool. The fabric is in excess between my thighs, sagging for no apparent reason. The back pockets are reaching well above and below my ass, covering it in its entirety (I’m pretty sure that’s not how pockets are supposed to work). And even though I’ve chosen a “skinny” jean, I’ve also seemingly lost my knees in them, as the fabric is sadly sagging around them.

 

So, what do I do? I have two choices here. I can hang my head low, walk up to the register, purchase the god forsaken jeans and then spend 35 minutes on Yelp searching for a tailor that might make them wearable. Or I can fold them neatly back up, go home defeated, and search the vast landscape that is the internet for something that might fit my body. Because that, my friends, is what it’s like to shop as a petite woman.

 

Thankfully, the internet is where the land of petite and super short jeans reign (not really. It’s still relatively hard to find them there as well… but at least there they exist). This task of searching the web for jeans will often take hours but here’s the good news: I’ve done the dirty work for you. If you are petite like I am, then have no fear – I’ve scoured the internet far and wide to provide you with a list of companies who are truly making clothes for a smaller frame.

ASOS ($55.00)

I appreciate the “Miss Selfridge” jean by ASOS because they take into consideration the fact that petite clothing shouldn’t just refer to jean length but the entire pant shape. These jeans feature a blend of “83% Cotton, 15% Polyester, 2% Spandex” which is super important. Why? Because as ASOS puts it, “Cos nobody wants baggy knees.” The addition of polyester along with cotton and spandex means that these jeans will provide stretch while also holding their form.

American Eagle ($39.95)

It’s not just for teens anymore, bb! Yep, the store you frequented in high school is still worthy of being a staple in your wardrobe. American Eagle jeans are not only affordable, but they come in short as well as extra short. This is a BIG deal because if you’re under 5ft like I am (4’10”), the regular petite sizing can still be way too long. If you’re looking for an ankle-length pant that will actually, you know, hit you at your ankle – give these a try.

Madewell ($135.00)

Ah, Madewell. I know that the price of these jeans can be a little jarring but here’s the deal: these might end up being the most magical pair of pants you’ve ever owned. Why? Because they come with “Magic Pockets” that offer “an extra layer of holds-you-in sorcery for the slimmest, smoothest look yet.” They’re also made from Tencel lyocell; a fabric that is said to “make them feel like stealth yoga pants.” Yeah, you heard me: I said YOGA. PANTS. A petite jean that not only provides a smaller inseam but also feels like yoga pants? That justifies the price tag, if you ask me.

Torrid ($64.90)

Curvy petite girls, where you at?! Torrid jeans are made from a blend of cotton, rayon, polyester, and spandex which means that these jeans will have great stretch while also holding their shape. They also come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 10 to 30 which makes them ideal for petite women with a curvier frame.  Bonus: much like American Eagle, they also have jeans that come in the extra short variety; featuring an inseam of 26”.

Old Navy ($39.99)

Old Navy has been synonymous with inclusivity for some time now; offering a wide-range of sizing options spanning from plus size to children. And recently, they’ve also added petite sizing into their repertoire with their Rock Star jean. Coming in at just under forty dollars, the Rock Star jean is said to not only have great stretch but also “Built-In Warm fabric” which is “brushed on the inside for max coziness.” Bonus: these jeans feature one of the shortest inseams I’ve ever seen (hello, 25 ½”!)

 

To all my lovely short sisters out there, I hope this list helps you. I also hope that you know that you are worthy and beautiful (not just adorable) and that you deserve fashionable clothing just like everyone else. Here’s to hoping you keep your head up and your jeans fitted!

By Sara Estelle Grayum
Photos by Sarah Feingold