The 16 Best Petite Jeans For Shorter Frames of 2023

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Best Jeans For Petite Frames

InStyle / Kristin Kempa

We all know denim is a staple, but for those that are five-foot-four and under, so is a tailor. When shopping for a new pair of jeans, you’ll often find that the fabric drags, high-waists overwhelm the body, or the proportions don’t fit quite right. And we all know that shopping for denim is hard — but it’s even harder when every brand doesn’t cater to your size. 

If only, you think to yourself, there was an expert-backed guide — ahem, hi! — to let you know which jeans are the best on the market for those that need them. That way, there’d be no more mistakenly buying a pair of jeans with a 33-inch inch inseam or returning another pair of “regular” fitted jeans. We’ve had the same thoughts as you, so we’ve asked petite experts for their best recommendations.

That’s right: That guide you’re looking for exists. And we’re here to tell you which styles — from bootcut to wide-leg, flare to skinny — are the best to shop right now. With brands like Citizens of Humanity, Agolde, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Levi's, we’re sure you’ll find something to love. (It’ll be a perfect fit — in more ways than one.) 

Best Overall

Levi's 501 Original Cropped Women’s Jeans

Levi's 501 Original Cropped Women’s Jeans


What We Love: It has one percent elastane included to make them a bit more flexible and comfortable off the bat.

What We Don’t Love: The distressing is not consistent between the washes.

Patented almost 150 years ago, Levi’s 501s not only give the promise of timelessness — they truly are. Beloved by celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker, Gigi Hadid, and Victoria Beckham, it’s a sworn-by, history-rich piece of denim. As a classic staple, the 501 style offers a high-rise, straight-legged silhouette that can pair with everything from a plain white tee (à la Americana) to a pointed kitten heel. This iconic pair of jeans earns our top spot not only for its versatility and comfort but also for the way it flatters those with shorter and smaller frames. Instead of being completely rigid denim, the jeans contain one percent elastane, making them more comfortable off the bat. The cropped version gives us the same high-quality we've grown to love with the original 501, except with a 26-inch inseam, making it better suited for petite people. Some washes have light distressing on them, but it's inconsistent between all of them. Make note of it before purchasing your pair.

Price at time of publish: $108

Material: Cotton, elastane | Sizes: 24-32 | Washes: 7

Best Budget

Bershka Mom Jean

 Bershka Mom Jean


What We Love: The superior fit and feel for the price point. 

What We Don’t Love: The size range is limited.

For a more relaxed fit compared to the Levi’s 501, enter this baggy pair from Bershka. The company offers a healthy amount of regular, tall, and petite styles and has an easy-to-navigate size guide. So, whether you’re on the hunt for an on-trend wider-leg, something ripped and grungy, or a 70s-inspired flare, Bershka will have you covered. Despite so many options, we cast our vote on these no-frills, high-waisted mom jeans because of their superior fit for the price point and their actual petite hemline. (Basically, if you're even five-foot-two and under, you still won't need to take these to the tailor.) We wish it had a larger size range, though.

Price at time of publish: $36

Material: Cotton | Sizes: 00-12 | Washes: 6

Best Splurge

Citizens of Humanity Emery Crop Relaxed Straight Jean

Citizens of Humanity Emery Crop Relaxed Straight

Citizens of Humanity

What We Love: These hug your curves in all the right places.

What We Don’t Love: Different price points depend on the wash. 

If you’ve ever wondered how people achieve such a posh look with simple pieces in their wardrobe, it’s because they’re investing in quality denim. And Citizens of Humanity is the precipice of quality denim. Though at a steeper price than others on this list, they’re worth the investment. Not only do they look luxe, they feel it, too. You can tell these were expertly crafted when they’re on the body. But don’t think luxurious and comfortable aren’t synonymous; This brand proves that you can create a high-quality, long-lasting pair of jeans without sacrificing comfort. They’re cut with a roomy straight leg and are stretchier than they appear. 

One quirky thing: the price point differs based on the wash. We're fond of the medium-dark wash called "passage", which comes in at $228, but for the darkest shade, you'll spend $208, while the lightest will cost you $238.

Price at time of publish: $228

Material: Cotton | Sizes: 23-34 | Washes: 4

Best Skinny

Madewell Petite High-Rise Skinny Jeans

Madewell Petite 10" High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Eardley Wash


What We Love: This pair of denim has a soft-to-the-touch feeling. 

What We Don’t Love: They stretch out a lot over time.

Don’t let Gen-Z tell you that skinny jeans aren’t cool. Skinny jeans will never be “out” because of their classic nature, and this Madewell pair proves it: They go with just about everything in your closet, including knee-high boots for fall and sandals for summer. This uber-soft pair comes with a versatile wash. As for the fit, this pair has plenty of reviews that claim they’re “snug in all the right places” and “figure-forming.” They promise to define the waist and elongate the frame of those with petite figures. They even offer petite-only sizing, so the rise of the jeans is proportionate to the body — instead of being overwhelmed by too much fabric suffocatingly close to the ribcage. The added Tencel in them causes them to stretch out over time, though, but putting them in the washer will allow them to go back to their original state.

Price at time of publish: $138

Material: Cotton, Tencel lyocel | Sizes: 23-33 | Washes: 1

Best Straight-Leg

Levi's Wedgie Icon Fit Jeans

Levis Wedgie Icon Fit Ankle Women’s Jeans


What We Love: These give your butt an extra lift and highlight your curves. 

What We Don’t Love: They are mid-rise but fit lower on the waist. 

Another hero from Levi's, the “Wedgie” jeans have a tapered leg and cropped inseam and a notorious reputation for flattering all body types. This cropped version still has its magic figure-hugging, waist-defining properties, but a better fit for those five-foot-three and under. They offer a straight-leg fit — almost skinny, even — with a stiff, high-quality denim feel, but with one percent elastane tossed in. Most of the stretch can be felt on the backside. That’s right: They highlight your curves and fit snugly around the butt for a natural lift — hence the (cheeky) name. The waist hits a little lower than most mid-rise jeans, though, which we assume is to maybe accommodate a smaller frame.

Price at time of publish: $98

Material: Cotton, elastane | Sizes: 23-33 | Washes: 11

Best Curvy

Abercrombie Curve Love High Rise 90s Relaxed Jeans

Abercrombie Curve Love High Rise 90s Relaxed Jeans


What We Love: Abercrombie offers an impressive amount of sizes and colors. 

What We Don’t Love: Not all washes come in "extra short" for the truly petite amongst us.

It’s almost impossible to discuss petite, curvy, or extended sizes without mentioning Abercrombie and its impressive size offerings: Abercrombie will have something for you regardless of size, style, or height. “I love how diverse the brand has become and how they create their jeans to fit all body shapes and sizes,” Kristian Spraggins, style content creator — who is petite — tells InStyle. “Also, their denim is made to last, which is important to me as I have become a more intentional shopper/creating a quality staple wardrobe for myself.” This 90s-inspired silhouette defies decades, as it’s a timeless high-rise, straight-leg built to last. This pair of denim will hold up well after washes, which is good considering how much you want to wear ’em. They’re also a part of Abercrombie’s “Curve Love” line, which fits your legs and hips proportionately — basically, there's no obnoxious gapping, and come in extra short (27-inch inseam) and short (29-inch inseam). (Not all the washes come in extra-short, so be mindful of that when selecting your pair.)

Price at time of publish: $100

Material: Cotton, elastane | Sizes: 23-37 | Washes: 11 

Best Plus-Size

Spanx Cropped Flare Jeans

Spanx Cropped Flare Jeans


What We Love: The stretchy material will feel more comfortable than typical jeans. 

What We Don’t Love: There’s still a bit of length to them — so wearing them with a heel is recommended. 

The core premise of Spanx shines through in their denim line: the jeans sculpt the body in the most flattering way possible, but they still remain comfortable. The stretchy cotton blend feels more similar to leggings than denim, gliding seamlessly and staying put throughout the day, all while appearing to be more structured than stretch denim. Each pair in their product line has an interior shaping panel and pockets — yes, real pockets! This particular pair has a 70s-inspired flare detailing and retro silhouette that's described as full-length (even for petite sizes) and intended to be worn with heels. We suggest pairing it with just that or a platform sneaker for something more casual.

Price at time of publish: $148

Material: Cotton, polyester | Sizes: XS-3X | Washes: 1

Best Flare

LOFT Petite Patch Pocket High Rise

 LOFT Petite Patch Pocket High Rise


What We Love: Finally, a flare that doesn’t need hemming.

What We Don’t Love: These only come in an indigo wash — we wish they had more!  

Loft has truly outdone itself with these flare jeans made specifically for petite sizes. While the quest for a flare that doesn’t need to be hemmed or doesn't drag from the extra fabric, might seem impossible — or downright unheard of, even — this pair of high-rise flares from the brand is the believe-it-once-you-buy-it exception. It’s a tailored, trouser-like fit specially made with petite people in mind, so when the denim widens at the ankle, it grazes the floor instead of overwhelming their frame. All technicalities aside, though, they’re pretty dang cute. All the more reason to buy. We just wish they had more washes.

Price at time of publish: $90

Material: Cotton | Sizes: 24-31 | Washes: 1

Best Wide Leg

7 For All Mankind Cropped Alexa

 7 For All Mankind Cropped Alexa

 7 For All Mankind 

What We Love: They’re extra comfy — you could wear these all day with no complaints. 

What We Don’t Love: They’re only offered in black, white, or powdered blue washes. 

It’s hard to find a wide leg that doesn’t overpower the body, especially when you’re petite. This pair from 7 For All Mankind, though, is just one of the stellar cropped options the brand carries. Instead of overwhelming those with shorter proportions, these ultra-high rises give you legs for days. Some other highlights: They offer a good amount of stretch and have an on-trend raw-cut hem. We recommend pairing it with this Modern Citizen asymmetric top for an elevated vibe. 

Price at time of publish: $178

Material: Cotton | Sizes: 23-34 | Washes: 3

Best Bootcut

MOTHER The Insider Crop Step Fray

MOTHER The Insider Crop Step Fray


What We Love: These offer a generous amount of stretch, making them ultra-comfortable. 

What We Don’t Love: They’re pricer than other options. 

Jenny Wang, founder of the shop Petite Studio NYC, swears by Mother’s Insider Crop Step Fray jeans, so chances are you will, too. These high-rise bootcut jeans appear rigid but are smooth and glide on the body, ideal for those searching for that “worn in” feel. With a 26-inch inseam, they are suitable for petite bodies, and with intricate frayed detailing, they add an edgy feel to a classic silhouette. You can also snag these in various colors — from vintage-washed blues to high-contrast solids. Mother sent me a pair of these to try, and I haven’t stopped raving about the brand since. I’m five-foot-six, so they fit more cropped, showing the right leg. But, of course, I’ve lent them to friends in true Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fashion, who, when wearing them, have a bottom hem that hits full-length. That’s right: No needed hemming here. 

Price at time of publish: $228

Material: Cotton, polyester | Sizes: 23-34 | Washes: 8

Best Mom Jean

Abercrombie & Fitch Women’s High Rise 80s Mom Jean

Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch 

What We Love: These shape and lift your butt, despite being baggier. 

What We Don’t Love: The retro pleats might not be for everyone.

It’s hard to find high-rise mom jeans that fit well on petite without alterations. While the “Mom Jean” is arguably everyone’s favorite decennium-inspired denim, the slouchy and baggy proportions can overwhelm those with smaller frames. The high rise sometimes sits too high on the upper body. However, these Abercrombie & Fitch jeans are for petite women, and every pair in their product line offers a “short” option. It’s no wonder the brand has made our roundup twice — their selection is that impressive. Plus, experts love ‘em. Jean Wang of the Extra Petite Blog raves about the brand, while Courtney and Lindsey Glasser, founders of Grey Bandit tell InStyle that Abercrombie’s size range is “incredible” with few brands in similar style coming close to the range.

Price at time of publish: $90

Material: Cotton, elastane | Sizes: 24-34 | Washes: 2

Best Boyfriend

Everlane The Rigid Slouch Jeans



What We Love: Their vintage-inspired look. 

What We Don’t Love: The button fly doesn't appeal to everyone.

Don’t let the word “slouch” scare you. These unstructured jeans hit the ideal way: right below the waist, below the belly button, and without falling. The fabric doesn’t overwhelm the wearer, either. It has a relaxed fit and a 27.5” inseam, so the laid-back feel doesn’t take over but instead gives breathability and shape to the body, especially petite ones. They have an on-trend, vintage look that we love and plenty of washes to pick from too, but we're warning you, it does have a button-fly, which everyone knows how polarizing that is. For an effortless “model-off-duty” look, we suggest pairing these with a plain white T-shirt and a leather jacket.

Price at time of publish: $108

Material: Organic cotton | Sizes: 23-33 | Washes: 6

Best High Waisted

Reformation Cynthia High Rise Straight Jean

Reformation Cynthia High Rise Straight Jean


What We Love: This high waist gives the illusion of longer legs. 

What We Don’t Love: These run a bit small. 

Lwany, who runs a fashion newsletter for petite women, calls this high-rise denim from Reformation “a wardrobe staple that will stand the test of time.” She notes how stunning they appear in person, telling InStyle, “I hadn’t been tempted to buy a pair until I saw them on the wild in the LES, and I practically chased down the shortie wearing them.” As an eco-conscious label with a line made specifically for petite bodies (recommended for those five-foot-two and under), Lwany says they are “reasonably priced for their level of sustainability.” As for the fit, made with responsibly sourced Tencel that feels identical to cotton (hello, comfort), offering a generous amount of stretch. Lawny tells readers not to be discouraged by the waitlist — “they restock pretty frequently (they just sell out fast!).” So, act fast, if you’re thinking of getting your own pair. 

Price at time of publish: $128

Material: Recycled cotton, Tencel | Sizes: 23-31 | Washes: 2

Best Maternity

Gap Maternity Inset Panel Girlfriend Jeans

Gap Maternity Inset Panel Girlfriend Jeans


What We Love: These have a comfortable waistband for support. 

What We Don’t Love: The front pockets are sewn in. 

For those expecting, you can find high-quality jeans from Gap with this maternity girlfriend style. We love that they feel like real jeans — but remain comfortable with an under-the-belly panel. (We should note that the panel is equally as comfortable as the jean and super supportive.) They’re loosely fitted around the waist and the hips, meaning more breathability and movability, and come in a medium wash. They come in regular, tall, and short, with a 29-inch inseam for shorties. 

Price at time of publish: $80

Material: Cotton, polyester | Sizes: 25-34 | Washes: 1 

Best White

MOTHER The Ditcher Crop

MOTHER The Ditcher Crop


What We Love: You don’t have to worry about the color being see-through. 

What We Don’t Love: They take some time to break in. 

Mother knows best. That’s why they made our list. Twice. This time, in straight and relaxed white jean — white jean that is thick and isn’t translucent, so you can wear them without being self-conscious. But this jean is a total confidence creator. Besides the material, the fit is impeccable, too. Though they’re a “cropped” style, they fit more like a petite-specific style. The proportions work well: The waist isn’t too high, the hem isn’t too long, and this semi-rigid denim sits wonderfully on the hip. 

Price at time of publish: $228

Material: Cotton, elastane | Sizes: 23-34 | Washes: 3

Best Black

AGOLDE x Riley High Rise Straight Crop in Calculate

 AGOLDE x Riley High Rise Straight Crop


What We Love: The quality holds up after multiple washes. 

What We Don’t Love: The material is rigid with the first few wears.

The internet loves Agolde, and we do too. The brand sent me this pair to try, and they’re as much of a “capsule wardrobe” staple as you can get: The denim is rich and high-quality, the fit is timeless, and they can pair with just about anything. With a slim straight-leg, and a clean-lined hem, this Agolde x Argent collab is designed for officewear, but we argue these are appropriate for any wear (though your coworkers will keep asking you where you are got ‘em). 

Price at time of publish: $238

Material: Cotton, lycra | Sizes: 23-34| Washes: 1

What to Keep in Mind


If you're petite, pay attention to inseam lengths. Whether you're into a bootcut or wide-leg, the inseam will let you know how it'll fit according to your height. Usually, if you're on the shorter side, you should look for something in the 23-inch to 27-inch range for skinny to slim-cut jeans. Wider-cut jeans will naturally have a longer inseam, though, like the Loft Petite Flare Jeans, which have a 29.5-inch inseam, so don't worry if you notice a longer length on these styles.


Petite folks can wear any style they want because not everyone will have the same need. Isabella Sun, CEO of Short Story, a personal styling subscription box made for petite women, tells InStyle that a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself this question: What is the perfect inseam so that your leg falls at the ideal height? “If you have a short torso, opt for a mid or low rise. If you have a longer torso, pick a high rise to create the right balance.” From there, you can pick your style: Mid-rise boyfriends, high-rise flares, low skinnies, and so on. 


Rigid jeans are made with 100 percent cotton and tend to take a few wears to break in because the denim bends and molds to your body. If you’re looking for something with a little more stretch, opt for a pair with elastane, lycra, and acrylic materials, which might feel more comfortable off the bat. Even as little as one percent of elastane mixed with the cotton, like with a pair from Levi's, can make all the difference.

Your Questions, Answered

What does petite mean, and what sizes fall under the term petite?

“Petite describes anyone who is five-foot-foor and under,” says Sun. “‘Petite’ is about height, not size. Petite women come in all shapes and sizes–curvy, slim, muscular, Sun says. “Petite women can fall under any of the following categories: short torso with long legs, short legs with a long torso, short torso and short arms, or small frame and short.”

She also notes that petite sizes range from XXSP to XXLP and are specifically designed to complement the proportions of petite people. This can include “sleeve lengths, inseams, hemlines, and necklines,” the founder says. (And if you’re still unsure if you’re regular or petite, Short Story’s website has a super helpful Petite Style Guide.)

What style of jeans looks best on petite women?

According to Sun, petite women can wear any style and silhouette of jeans, but “what’s most important” when choosing the perfect style of denim for your body type is “taking your proportions into consideration.” “Be mindful of the above when choosing your inseam, rise (low, mid, high), and silhouette,” she tells InStyle. You don't want to overwhelm your frame, so it's all about proportions on petite women.

How do I know if I'm technically petite?

As Sun said, if you’re under five-foot-four, then you’re considered petite. But with that said, depending on your body’s proportions, petite-specific jeans might fit better on you. Even if you happen to scale above five-foot-four, shorter legs might still benefit from the shorter inseam. And at the end of the day, “Don’t let a name or tag deter you from purchasing something that fits you well,” Sun tells InStyle.

Why Shop with Us

Morgan Sullivan is a commerce writer for InStyle with experience covering fashion and beauty products. To write this article, she looked to petite fashion experts (Kristian Spraggins, Lwany, Jean Wang) for their recs, as well as the CEO of Short Story, Isabella Sun, and Courtney and Lindsey Glasser, Founders of Grey Bandit, to find out which jeans are best for shorter or smaller frames. Thorough research has also been done to determine which styles, materials, stretches, and lengths reign supreme.

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