Standing at the distinctly less-than-average height of 5'1", I have always had difficulty finding dresses. Midi hemlines can often skim the floor while cute minidresses intended to finish above the knee usually hover around the top of my shin. In fact, I barely remember the last time I purchased a dress that didn’t need to be taken up, taken in or otherwise adjusted in some way.
Because of this issue, you'll usually find me in separates throughout spring. I'll often pair a printed skirt alongside a plain white tee or opt for tailored shorts and an oversize button-down for more casual days. However, this year I'm determined to become a "dress girl," and so I have taken it upon myself to find the best petite dresses on the market.
An example of the aforementioned floor-skimming "midi" dresses.
Unfortunately, for women whose heights are less than 5'4" (the recognised standard for petite sizes), the options are far from extensive. Very few brands offer petite ranges, and even when they do, usually they are extremely limited, which is a surprise given the average height of women in the UK is 5'3"—meaning a large portion of us fall into the petite category.
Fear not, though: I've searched far and wide to bring you a list of 20-odd petite spring dresses that won't require a trip to the tailor, taking into account sleeve length (no rolling up needed), hem length (floor-skimming be gone) and, of course, overall fit in the bodice and beyond. Keep scrolling to see and shop my favourite petite spring dresses.
My favourite petite spring dresses:
Style Notes: It's rare for me to find a long-sleeve dress where the sleeves sit perfectly, but as you can see here, the length is just right! (I feel like Goldilocks.) Add in a floral print, and you've got the perfect dress for a park picnic.
Style Notes: Generally, if I see the phrase "maxi dress" while shopping online, I just keep scrolling, so I was very curious to see how a petite-proportioned maxi would fix. Surprisingly, the hem length on this one was perfect, hovering just about the floor. The collared neckline feels very 2021, and the fit feels flattering thanks to the wrap-dress style. (Hot tip: It also comes in a gingham print, which I will be purchasing.)
Style Notes: Reformation is one of the few contemporary brands that cater to petite women, and my goodness, does the brand get it right! The fit of this dress was immaculate right down to the bodice and side splits. Often, side splits are lost on petite women when dresses need to be taken up significantly, so I love that Reformation has included this fun detail in its range.
Style Notes: This throw-on dress is a bit of a no-brainer. It's an easy, casual style that'll be great while WFH or for casual spring days. Add sneakers, jewellery and other accessories as required.
Style Notes: Another great fit courtesy of Reformation. This slip dress also has the perfect, thigh-grazing split and even features adjustable shoulder straps, which are always handy for shorter women.
Style Notes: Another example of petite proportions done right. The flattering fit of this dress can be credited to the shorter-length bodice, perfectly cut hemline and sleeve length.
Style Notes: Finding a minidress that sits above the knee is a win in itself, but the addition of a cute lace print and on-trend puff sleeve definitely doesn't hurt.
Style Notes: This is definitely the kind of dress that will instantly become a spring and summer staple. Just add a denim jacket for cooler days and pair alongside sneakers or sandals.
Style Notes: This colour just screams spring. Lavender has been all over Instagram already this season, and I don't think that's set to slow down any time soon. I found the puff sleeves on this one a little too overbearing so hitched them up slightly, but aside from that, I really liked the shade and shape.
Style Notes: Aside from the green colour, this dress is giving me major Marianne from Normal People in Italy vibes. The fit and hem length were both 10/10, not to mention the classic silhouette will stay timeless for years to come. This is the kind of dress you'll have in your closet forever.