I'm 5'2", these are the 8 Best Dresses for Short Women (2023)

If you are short like me, wearing the RIGHT dresses can be a game changer for your style. Being 5’2″, I’ve struggled for years how to find flattering dresses for my height, and that’s why I have a clothing line for petite women just like me.

First of all, I have come to the realization that nothing flatters a short woman more easily than dresses.

Not only are dresses versatile and classy, but they have the lengthening effect much needed by short girls. Because of its continuous patterns of fabrics, dresses can create the illusion of height.

Below is my list of must have dresses if you are petite!

Table of Contents

Best Length

If you are short, here’s the 3 most flattering lengths for your dresses:

  • The best dress length to make short legs look longer: 1″-2″ above your knee
  • The most versatile length for petites: right at your knee
  • The ideal length to make a petite girl appear taller and leaner: ankle length

Fit and Flare Dresses

Fit and flare dresses (also known as A-line dresses or skater dresses) are some of the best dresses for petite women.

If you are short, the best length is either short (1-2 inches above your knees) or a longer length like a maxi dress. These two lengths are always the most popular in my petite dress collections!

I'm 5'2", these are the 8 Best Dresses for Short Women (2)

The A shape silhouette is commonly flattering because it is form fitting in your upper body (exactly what we need as short girls) but it is also more forgiving for your lower body.

They do not hug the curve of your bottom, thus they will draw people’s attention away from your butt and thighs. They are especially recommended for women who do not want people to focus on their lower body, such as the pear body type.

Wrap dresses

Wrap dresses are one of my favorite dresses for short women of all time.

Personally, I live in wrap dresses all year long and they are also the most popular among my petite customers!

Wrap dresses are universally flattering, whether you are 4’11” or 5’4″. They are the best choices for short girls who wish to emphasize their feminine curves (like Wendy, one of the petite models for my clothing line) or those who wish to create the illusion of curves (like myself, with a rectangle shape).

It’s important to know that wrap dresses can come in different lengths too!

Like Victoria Beckham (5’3) mentioned in her latest fashion book “That Extra Half an Inch”, the wrap dress is one of the things that once you have, it is hard to understand how you have lived all those years without. It hugs your body at all the right places and creates a continuous line of colors that elongates your body.

If you have no waistline, such as the apple shape or petite rectangle shape, the wrap will define your waistline. In terms of length, you cannot go wrong with any of them, whether they are above your knee, at your knee, or even maxi length.

For office meetings, a knee length wrap dress is always appropriate. For date nights or cocktail hours, above the knee will make your legs look longer. For vacation or resorts, a wrapped maxi dress looks classy and expensive.

Empire waistline dresses

If you want to take your petite fashion to the next level, look for details in petite dresses that will further flatter your particular body type. Empire waist is a terrific design for us short girls.

The empire waist is a dress where the waistline is high, and sometimes it is placed just below the bust line. Because it raises the waistline to above your natural waist, it effectively creates the illusion of a shorter torso and longer legs.

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This is a genius design that is critical to flatter petites.

As you can see on Wendy, a high waistline followed by the skirt of the dress will create a perfect illusion of length and will help to camouflage your midsection or bottom if that is your concern (if you are a petite woman with an apple or pear shape).

For instance, petite apple shape women may be self-conscious about their midriff and do not want people to notice their stomachs, the best dress for them is a petite skater dress with an empire waist design.The Juliana dress is a perfect example. Because the waistline is elevated and the flare starts just a little under the bust line, it completely camouflages the stomach area.

Needless to say, since the elevated waistline is above your natural waist, it makes your bottom half look longer and optimizes your body ratio to the maximum.

Belted dresses

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Speaking of best petite dresses, I must mention dresses with a belt is high on our list.


A belt can totally change the perceived ratio of your body.

The reason I call it the “perceived” ratio is that we are all born with a natural leg ratio and torso ratio, but we can change that through what we wear.

Ever heard of rule of thirds and the golden mean ratio?

Our body ratio looks the best when it is divided by the thirds instead of halves or quarters.

That is a universal law applicable to all height, and it is especially critical to us short women. We can totally use this rule to improve our body proportion and elongate our legs. See petite blogger Stefanie (5’3″) in our belted LBD.

That is when a belt can come into play.

The key is to make sure the belt is positioned high enough to make your torso look shorter and your legs look longer.

Ideally, your torso should look like 1/3 of your body and your legs 2/3. The best color of the belt is one to blend with your dress.

That way will avoid making your body look cut in half while still adding subtle texture and interesting dimension to your outfit.

Dresses with a belt also help those of us lacking a defined waistline to have more waist definition, such as the petite rectangle shape or petite apple body type.

Maxi dresses

Are you surprised if I tell you maxi dresses are on our list of best dresses for short girls?

Sure, most stylists advise us to go with short skirts, because that is the most logical way to make our legs look longer.

That is true to some degree.

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Wearing short dresses above or at the knee is one of the most obvious ways to lengthen our legs and look taller than we are.

However, wearing a long dress is another way of effectively extending our frame and thus could be very flattering to petite girls.

So why would it look good on short girls?

The reason is creating length in our outfit is one of the key factors in styling short girls, which can be achieved through creating a column of colors.

Because of its continuous color and pattern, a maxi dress can effectively elongate your body frame to the maximum.

Therefore, wearing a maxi dress the right way will actually make a short girl look taller. In fact, a maxi dress is one of the Most Recommended Styles for Petite Women.

Picking out the best maxi dresses for short women involves choosing the right length (as a starter), the right fabric, and the right style.

Because of how much it covers your body, it is critical to find the right pattern that will not make you look drowning in fabrics.Otherwise, the wrong style can totally swamp you and make you appear shorter.

In general, smaller prints or solid colors are great for women under 5’4″ to avoid the look that the dress is wearing you. Of course, there is no cut and dry answer to what is considered smaller print and what is not. It is all relative, and the important thing is to keep them in scale to your body.

If you are petite and skinny, go with tiny prints. On the other hand, if you are short and curvy, prints too small might make you look bulkier than you are. Read our detail guide “how to wear maxi dresses if you are short”.

Lacey dresses

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Dresses made from airy fabrics such as laces are very flattering for shorter women.

I was wearing this dress in this picture. Normally I do not recommend petites to go with midi length. The reason midi dresses hardly make it to our list of best choices for Petites is that the hem ends at your calves, which may make your legs look cut in half. While I have to say the length of midi dresses is the most challenging to pull off to short girls (a lot harder than either mini dresses or maxi dresses), it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay away from them altogether.

The above dress is flattering because lacey fabrics can give the eye a “peek” into your legs way above the hem of the dress, thus making sure your legs do not look cut-off.

Dresses with Slits

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Dresses with slide slits are also flattering to petite women because they show some skin on your legs, especially when you are walking or sitting down, which compromises the drawbacks of midi dresses.

Finding the right dresses for petite women is not easy, and a lot of times it depends on your personal preferences.

Petite women come in all different shapes and sizes, and there are hardly any set rules on something that absolutely will look good or bad on you. Fashion is what each of us uses to express our own individuality.

Vertically inspired dresses

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Dresses with vertical patterns or vertical designs are tried and true most flattering dresses for short women as well. Short women need to create length in what they wear in order to look longer and taller, and the most obvious way is to go with vertical patterns and designs. Stripes are the easiest choice of vertical prints. If you have a small body frame, going with something subtle is better than something loud and busy.

Since we are on the topic of what dresses look the best for short women, we should also talk about what doesn’t work for Petites.

The key is to create a continuously long and unbroken line of your outfit and avoid horizontal lines. In general, petite women should look for form-fitting silhouettes and stay away from bulky, busy, and complicated designs. Anything that is too loose or too puffy will probably make you look overwhelmed by the dress and that is what you should avoid wearing.


How long should a 5'2 woman dress be? ›

Best Length

The best dress length to make short legs look longer: 1″-2″ above your knee. The most versatile length for petites: right at your knee. The ideal length to make a petite girl appear taller and leaner: ankle length.

Which dress is best for short height girl? ›

Short women should go for denim shorts, mini skirts, or maxi dresses to look heightened. But avoid wearing calf-length outfits that will surely make your look short.

What should I wear if I am short and petite? ›

Short, fitted outer garments that do not fall on the hip. Avoid horizontal stripes. Stay away from oversized garments and don't excessively layer. If you do want to layer pieces, keep voluminous layers in check by wearing a belt.

Do long dresses look good on short people? ›

The reason is if you are short, creating length in your outfit is one of the key factors to make you look taller. The easiest way to achieve that is through wearing a long dress, as it forms a vertical line to lengthen your statue and effectively extend your frame. Besides, they are so forgiving!

What is the best length of dress for over 50? ›

Generally, the best lengths for women over 50 are knee-length, then midi, then maxi. To dress chic and classic as an older woman, try to steer clear of mini dresses. Take into account your personal style as well.

What dress length is most flattering? ›

The most universally flattering hem length for women is knee length because it allows for the classic one-third/two-third proportion, which offers 1/3rd bare leg to 2/3rds coverage from neck to foot. It visually breaks the body in thirds and shows the most flattering part of the leg.

Do guys find short girls attractive? ›

Things You Should Know. Guys often like short girls because their height difference makes them feel needed and like they can protect them. Some guys are drawn to short girls because they make them feel taller and more manly, boosting their ego. Shorter guys often like shorter girls because they are more similar in size ...

What type of dress can short girl wear? ›

Choose maxi dresses that have some definition over straight cuts. Asymmetrical hemlines, cap or flower sleeves, ruffled bodice, etc., are great. Dresses with lighter fabrics like organza, georgette, etc., are good. Bump it up with chunky accessories but ensure they are not too consuming.

Can I wear petite if I'm 5 2? ›

What Height Is Considered Petite? Petite sizes are designed for women 5'4” and under, regardless of their size. In the petite category, sizes range from extra-small to plus-size.

Is 5 2 petite for a woman? ›

What Height is Considered Petite. If you are under 5'4″, then you are typically considered petite. The average height of American women is 5'4”.

Can a short person wear a maxi dress? ›

Maxi dresses are the perfect choice for any woman who wants to look chic and trendy. They're a great style of dress for women of any shape or size, and certainly should not be shied away from if you have a petite frame or if you have a body shape that's short and curvy.

What to wear to not look short? ›

Keep it slim. Regardless of your weight or body shape, slim-fitting clothing will always look best on shorter figures. Slim-fitting jeans and pants are particularly great at defining your legs, while opting for slim-fitting button-ups are great for cinching in your waist and figure.

What clothes make short people look good? ›

Embrace high waisted pants and skirts

High waist pants paired with heels work together to create a long vertical image. Worn with a short top, the outfit creates the illusion of height. They will make your legs appear longer. Wide pants with tucked in tops work really well.

How short of a dress can a 50 year old wear? ›

Some stylists suggest that the length around the knee (or two inches above/below) is “universally flattering” on the vast majority of women, but in any case in my opinion it is necessary to evaluate well, better if in front of a mirror and with a critical eye.

What is the best dress length for an older woman? ›

The ideal hemline length for most mature women will be short enough to highlight your calves, the prettiest part of your legs. That means the length will vary from the lower half of your knee to as much as 2 inches below your knee, or longer—depending on how full or narrow the skirt is.

Can a 60 year old wear a short dress? ›

Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and stylish. If one has great legs and a fit body, there should be no problem wearing minidresses and shorts regardless of any age.

What dress size is most attractive? ›

The majority of the men (nearly 86% of them) preferred a woman with a dress size 14 to 16.

What is the most popular dress length? ›

Maxi dresses usually hit right around the ankle. They might just be the most popular type of dress in our dress length guide!

How to wear dresses to look slimmer? ›

How to dress to look slimmer
  1. Choose clothing that creates vertical lines. Vertical lines can help elongate and slim your figure. ...
  2. Wear fitted clothing. ...
  3. Wear darker colors. ...
  4. Accessorize with a belt. ...
  5. Wear the right underwear. ...
  6. Layer your clothing. ...
  7. Avoid horizontal stripes. ...
  8. Wear heels.
Feb 18, 2023

Why do tall guys find short girls attractive? ›

When a tall guy sees a petite woman, his instincts kick in to protect her. In his eyes she is more feminine, and he will feel stronger and more appreciated for taking care of her. From personal experience, small girls are fierce.

Do guys care about girls height? ›

He explains that men don't care much or only slightly care if a woman is shorter than they are, but women really do prefer a taller mate. Height is one factor that could spark physical attraction, but Stulp suggests that clearly other partner traits play a role in selecting a mate and may be much more important.

Why do guys like kissing so much? ›

Kissing causes a chemical reaction in your brain, including a burst of the hormone oxytocin. It's often referred to as the “love hormone,” because it stirs up feelings of affection and attachment. According to a 2013 study, oxytocin is particularly important in helping men bond with a partner and stay monogamous.

Should short girls wear high waisted? ›

A mid-rise jean (around the belly button or just below) is generally the go-to for petite sizes. It tends to keep bodies evenly proportioned and is more slimming than a low-rise. High-rise waists are a dream for petite women! By hiking up your waistline, you're elongating your legs.

How do you wear a short dress over 50? ›

Wear Flat Shoes or Boots

Flat or low heel shoes or boots help make your short dress look less short. This works even better when your footwear and tights are the same color. I've paired low-heel black boots with black tights. There is no color break to draw attention to my legs or my short hemline.

Do you look older with short hair? ›

Does short or long hair make you look younger? Long hair can enhance facial features by diverting attention away from wrinkles or age spots and adding volume to your hair. Short hair does not need to age you, though, as the style and texture of shorter hairstyles can add a youthful appearance.

Is 5 2 considered small? ›

5′2 gets kind of to the shorter side but it's not too short. It's not a bad height. The average height in USA is 5′4 but 5′2 is average in some places. Anything below 5′2 is short but that doesn't mean your bad.

What weight is considered petite? ›

Petite refers to stature not weight. Most people still think petite means skinny when in fact petite has nothing to do with weight. Petite is the term used in the fashion industry to describe a woman who is 5'3 tall or under. Petite women come in all shapes and sizes, whether they're a size 4 or 14.

What height and weight is petite woman? ›

Petite sizes are designed for women 162 cm (5 ft 4 in) and under, regardless of their physical body shape or weight. Many clothing stores cater their petite sized styles to people who are 162 cm (5 ft 3.75 in) or shorter.

What is the best short length for 5 2? ›

A good length that will give you the leg-lengthening effect, without feeling like shorts are TOO short and will still offer some coverage to the upper thigh, is to stick around a 3.5-5” length.

What size does a 5 3 woman wear? ›

Averages for U.S. women

Height: 63.6 inches, or 5 feet 3 inches. Weight: 170 pounds. Pant size: Large to extra large. Dress size: 18 to 20.

How short person should dress? ›

  • Make Sure Your Clothes Fit. Making sure your clothes fit your body isn't just a tip for short guys. ...
  • Shop Smart. ...
  • Get a Tailor. ...
  • Try a Higher Waist. ...
  • Avoid Baggy Clothing. ...
  • Pick Items with Structure. ...
  • Choose Colors Wisely. ...
  • Choose Patterns Wisely.
Oct 19, 2021

Is 5.3 feet short for a girl? ›

Average height based on sex and age

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , in the United States, the average adult male is 5.7 feet (ft), or 175.2 cm, tall, and the average female is 5.3 ft, or 161.2 cm, tall.

Is petite for short shorter? ›

Although it might feel like it, being petite doesn't just mean you've got short legs. You're a bit shorter all over. Petite sizing adjusts everything proportionately. That means the waist sits higher, the shoulders are narrower, and the sleeves are shorter, as well as the shorter inside leg (cries in 27 inches).

What is the normal height for a woman? ›

What's the Average Height for Women and How Does That Affect Weight? The average height for women in the United States is about 5 foot 4 inches (or about 63.7 inches) tall. The average height has increased over time.

What is the best length for a petite maxi dress? ›

As a petite woman, the ideal hemline for a maxi dress is somewhere between ankle length and the top of your foot. Where it almost looks like it could touch the ground but it won't – that's your perfect length maxi dress. So I'd say about an inch or two above the floor is a good reference point.

Can a short woman wear a midi dress? ›

The biggest tip for styling a midi dress if you're petite is that there are no rules. I'm focusing more today on footwear to wear with these dresses. No, you don't have to wear sky-high heels with a midi to appear taller. You can wear whatever shoes you want!

What color clothes make you look shorter? ›

Black never fails to make you look slim and elegant. Darker shades of colors like blue, purple and brown can also help to hide flaws and create a slimming illusion. On the other hand, lighter colors, like white and khaki, can add pounds and give the illusion of a larger frame.

What colors to wear if you are short? ›

What colors look best on short people? Short people can wear whatever colors they like. Dark colors tend to be slimming and heightening, but light colors are okay too, especially when combined in low contrast ways.

What dress length is best for short legs? ›

Opt for knee-length or ankle-length skirts and dresses. Hems that hit directly at your mid-shin, cut off a quarter of the visual length of your body, making your legs appear much shorter.

What dress do short girls look tall? ›

A well-cut maxi skirt can actually make you look taller. Choose a solid colour or patterned maxi dress that will create the appearance of a long vertical line and ensure the hemline is as long as it can go. Team your maxi skirt with a tucked in t-shirt, cropped jacket and wedges for maximum vertical appeal.

How long should my dress be for my height? ›

First, determine the length of your body from shoulder tip to ground (in). Next, determine the heel height (in). Next, gather the formula from above = DL = (SGL + HH) / 1.618. Finally, calculate the Dress Length.

How long should a maxi dress be for 5 2? ›

For women who are 5'2”, maxi dresses should be floor length. It will ensure a balanced silhouette and comfortable fit. Women who are 5'4” can choose between maxi dresses that fall slightly below the ankle or ones that extend to the ground.

What is the average dress size for a 5 4 woman? ›

Today, the average American woman is 5'4″, has a waist size of 34-35 inches and weighs between 140-150 lbs, with a dress size of 12-14.

Can a short woman wear a maxi dress? ›

Maxi dresses are the perfect choice for any woman who wants to look chic and trendy. They're a great style of dress for women of any shape or size, and certainly should not be shied away from if you have a petite frame or if you have a body shape that's short and curvy.

How long should a maxi dress be on a short person? ›

As a petite woman, the ideal hemline for a maxi dress is somewhere between ankle length and the top of your foot. Where it almost looks like it could touch the ground but it won't – that's your perfect length maxi dress. So I'd say about an inch or two above the floor is a good reference point.

What is the Golden Rule dress length? ›

The golden rule to achieving the ideal tall silhouette: for all lengths, hemlines should end at the narrowest width of that body area. For midi, it should end at the narrowest part of your shin.

What length dress is slimming? ›

2) It's all about the length!

The length of your dress is really important. When it comes to looking for a shorter dress, look for dresses which reaches just below the knee or on the knee. This is because the dress finishes at the slimmest part of your leg.

Do long dresses make you look taller or shorter? ›

One-piece garments such as dresses, jumpsuits, and rompers can make a short person look taller because the continuous colors or prints can create a vertical line that lengthens your frame.

Is 5 ft 2 small for a woman? ›

Originally Answered: Is 5'2 really short for a female? The average female height worldwide is 5'3 and the average female height in America is 5'4 so yes 5'2 is short for a woman because it's below the average heights.

What weight is a size 4? ›

For example, a size 4 diaper's weight range is between 22 and 37 pounds, a size 5 diaper's weight range is over 27 pounds, and a size 6 diaper's weight range is above 35 pounds. There's a lot of overlap there!

What size is 135 lbs? ›

S4'11 - 5'4 /1.50 - 1.60cm95 - 115lbs / 43 - 52kg
M5'2 - 5'7 / 1.55 - 1.70cm115 - 135lbs / 52 - 61kg
L5'4 - 5'9 / 1.60 - 1.75cm135 - 155lbs / 61 - 70kg
XL5'6 - 5'11 / 1.65 - 1.80cm150 - 175lbs / 68 - 77kg
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