I wouldn’t class myself as really short or petite where heights are concerned as I’m 5ft 5, but in the torso to legs ratio department, I do have really short legs. My inseam with flats for a straight leg is no more than 30″ and for skinnies I prefer around 29″ or less.
Quite a few years ago it was really difficult to find premium denim jeans with shorter inseams as most used to come in bootcut styles with inseams longer than 34″, which meant that I was constantly hemming my jeans whenever I got them. As the years have progressed and denim has got stronger in the fashion world, almost every brand is catering for the ladies with the shorter legs like myself, or the petite frame as you could say. I have put together this post to help you out when it comes to finding great fitting jeans without the need of hemming!
Using Cuts To Your Advantage
Using cuts to your advantage is something that I do 99% of the time! For example I wont buy a pair of 12″ skinny jeans from a brand because I know the inseam will be longer than 32″ the majority of the time, so what I do is opt for the super skinny ankle pegs. These always have a leg opening of around 10″ and this means the inseam is never longer than 30″ in length because they are supposed to fit cropped and skim above the ankle. I think this cut is the most versatile for everyone because the taller ladies can wear it and have it as a cropped jean, but for those of us with shorter legs, we can wear them as a full length jean without needing to hem! I would say that 98% of my jeans are of the cropped ankle skinny variety, they are just so much easier to wear and they do give off such a slim silhouette as they aren’t baggy anywhere either.
Another tip that I could recommend would be actually going for cropped jeans in general. During the summer months you can get some great cropped skinnies at around 26″ in length and these will work as full length if you have very petite legs. I find this helps so much as it means you don’t have to always shop in the petite section or hem your jeans. I guess you could call it the lazy way of jean shopping or the practical way! Either way, it works!
Designer Brands Petite Sections
Since those years are over where premium denim brands expected all women to have super long legs (some like Rock & Republic even came with a standard inseam of 38″!), many of them now have petite sections! These denim brands include Paige Denim, Hudson Jeans, 7 For All Mankind, J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, James Jeans, Frankie B., True Religion, Not Your Daughters Jeans and of course Levi’s. These all have separate sections and their jeans inseams are around 32″ for bootcuts and 32″ for 12″ skinnies. These may still seem a little long for most of us, but it’s better than the original super long inseams they general come with of 34″ or more. It’s easier to get away with the skinny jeans at this length as they can stack a little bit and with the bootcuts, you can wear heels so they don’t scrape the floor.
Brands Especially For Petite Women
There are specific denim brands on the market now designed especially for petite women. One that I was introduced to a little while ago was LOTUS Premium Denim. They don’t have a huge selection to choose from at the moment, but the inseam lengths come in two different variations of 28″ and 30″ so they are much shorter than the regular brands petite sections. This is great because it means they really do cater for the ladies with the shorter legs, especially if you need around a 28″ inseam!
Non Designer Brands Petite Sections
Of course, if you are not looking for premium denim, then there are other brands that do petite sections at a much lower price point. ASOS, Topshop, Nordstrom and more have their own line of petite jeans and most are at a much more affordable price. It’s just a case of having a little look online at some of the stores and seeing their specific petite sections. The majority of the time they are always keeping up with the trends and new styles, so you will find something that’s in season as well as something that’s classic.
Tips & Tricks
Lastly, I wanted to include a few tips and tricks that I do myself and have learned along the way. If like most of us you would love to create a longer leg illusion as you might be fed up of having shorter legs, then the best way to do this is opt for a pair of bootcut, straight leg or a very slim flared jean and wear them with heels. What I do is I put on a 5″ heel and then I hem my straight leg jeans so that they are 1cm off of the floor when I’m wearing those heels. Having the jeans almost at the floor hides the shoes you are wearing and it gives the appearance that your legs are really long. This is the best option for lengthening them with jeans as if you always wear skinny jeans, they mostly just show your legs at their exact length.
Another tip would be don’t buy jeans that are really flared and quite loose as these will swamp your legs and make them look shorter. I would stay away from trouser style flares and really baggy boyfriend jeans. If you do love the boyfriend jean look, maybe opt for a skinny boyfriend style instead.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend anything with horizontal stripes as these make the legs look shorter too. If you like stripes, go with vertical only. Sticking to dark clean washes like indigo and black is always helpful for the slimming/long line effect too. I would also recommend that if you hate hemming jeans, choosing skinny jeans is always the best option overall because it doesn’t matter if they are a couple of inches too long and they stack/bunch at the ankle, that’s a look that you can get away with. As long as it’s not too much and taking up most of the calf area!
I hope that you found all of this helpful and if like myself you have legs that are a bit on the petite side, I would love for you to share with me your tips and ideas so that it’s helpful to others as well! Looking forward to hearing them!