Here are my six go-tos.

By Samantha Sutton
Jan 29, 2021 @ 4:30 pm
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Petite Jeans
Credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

While I enjoy the feeling I get the first time I wear a brand new outfit, the process of actually acquiring those clothes — aka the whole shopping experience — often fills me with dread. There's nothing more annoying than coming across an item you love and trying it on...only to realize it doesn't quite fit (especially when you've already ordered it online, and now have to take a trip to the post office).

For me, personally, it's pants that are usually the issue. I'm 5'0, and amount of petite jeans options out there are surprisingly slim. I can't tell you how many times I've resorted to DIYing my own bottoms with a scissor, after vowing (and then forgetting) to take them to a tailor.

However, I have spent years working in fashion, and am always on a mission to find the best jeans for petite women. For the most part, it's still trial and error (one pair may fit like a glove, and the next is dragging on the ground), but there at least six different brands that have become my go-tos for finding designs that fit my short legs.

AGOLDE

I've written about a lot of different jeans, but I promise you, my actual favorite pair (like, it's all over my Instagram and for a while, I had to tell myself to stop wearing them) is from AGOLDE. I discovered them completely by accident, after testing out a clothing rental service called NUULY. The specific cut is the "Ren," and I know this because I've since purchased it in different washes. (I should also add they are loose in the leg and high-waist, so they hold you in without being constricting — all good things!) However, I don't think it's the specific cut that's the secret; these jeans are supposed to be cropped, which is a trick I sometimes use when searching for full-length pairs.

American Eagle

Is this the same store that I've been shopping at since my teen years? Yes. Does it sometimes feel weird as hell to think I might be buying the same styles as a middle schooler? Sure (although, many petites know that it's possible to find some winning looks in the kids' section at a department store, too). However, I cannot quit American Eagle, mostly because it's one of the few brands to make on-trend, stretchy (a key factor for me) jeans that also come in short length. It's the consistency that I love — and the sale prices help, too.

Shop now: American Eagle

Zara

Zara can definitely be hit or miss for me, and yet I have at least three or four different pairs of pants from this store — two pairs of jeans included. It's another case where cropped or even pre-cuffed designs will be your best bet. This specific pair is the Z1975 Buttoned Baggy Jeans, which also have a stretchy waist (a plus if you aren't feeling the whole 'real pants' thing right now).

Shop now: Zara

PAIGE

Personally, I'm not a big fan of skinny jeans, but at the same time, I feel like Paige is in a category all its own. I recently rediscovered the Hoxton High-Waist Raw-Hem Ankle Skinny Jean, which isn't petite but somehow hits right at the ankle with minimal bunching. Even so, PAIGE also sells a bunch of actual petite lengths, too.

Lee

I should clarify and say vintage Lee jeans. My number one place to shop for denim is on Etsy, and I often discover amazing mom and carrot-leg options while perusing my favorite vintage shops. I've had the most success with this specific brand, but the trick here is to really know your measurements. Sellers on Etsy are pretty good at telling you exact lengths and widths of the item you're looking at, so if you know your inseam more or less, you can make an educated guess on whether or not pants will fit.

Shop now: Etsy

J.Crew

A few years ago, I went through a phase where I was constantly shopping at J.Crew. I'll admit, it wasn't healthy for my bank account, but I really fell in love with its petite selection, and I wanted things like camo and polka-dotted jeans (for the record, Meghan Markle's mom owns this exact pair in beige, so I feel like we could be friends). The store is still one I rely on when I want something special, like flares or wide-leg styles that actually cut off where they're supposed to — which is very hard to find if you have short legs.

Shop now: J.Crew