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Tips for Choosing Petite Career Suits

Petite Business Suit

Suits are classic business attire, and there are many choices in women's petite career dress suits to provide a polished, professional look.

Dress Suit Tips for Petites

There are a range of dress suit styles available suitable for career wear, but not all of them are equally flattering to petite women. Career dress suits for women in general should look sharp and professional - although there are more alternative styles of dress than ever before, looking polished is always a must when it comes to conveying a professional, business savvy image.

Dress suits for career wear should never be revealing or expose too much skin. Petites should take extra care in buying suit blouses to make sure the cut is appropriate for their figure, as standard tops might be a little too revealing for business wear on smaller frames. Watch skirt lengths as well - the opposite effect can occur, where a knee length skirt might be longer on women under 5'4" and end up looking frumpy. It's best to have suits in sizes designed for petite figures, or have suits altered to fit your measurements. Like any career wear, it usually pays to purchase the best quality you can afford.

Some modern dress suits have patterned jackets paired with plain dresses or skirts (or vice versa); however, it's typically best that petite women avoid these suits and opt for monochromatic suits or those in similar shades instead. Not only can prints be overwhelming, a single hue can provide a longer look. Wearing business appropriate heels in a similar shade can also help elongate your appearance.

Petite Dress Suit Style Suggestions

  • Petite women should look for suit jackets that fall at or below the hips, as cropped jackets will shorten your torso.
  • If you want to give the illusion of longer legs, suit jackets with subtle detailing above the natural waist can create this.
  • Look for structured skirt or dress styles that fall either at the knee, or three inches above or below the knee. Avoid very long, unstructured skirts that can overwhelm smaller frames. Depending on your body shape, pencil, a-line, and or vertical pleated skirts work well with suit jackets on petite figures.
  • Suit styles with understated vertical prints, such as pinstripes, can also help elongate your look.
  • To create the elongating illusion of a v-neck with a business dress suit, pair a lighter colored blouse with a darker colored scarf in the same color family around the neck.
  • Look for detailing near the collar, shoulders, or top half of your ensemble to draw the eye upward.

Where to Shop for Women's Petite Career Dress Suits

Many department stores and clothing lines carry petite business wear lines. The offerings for business clothing in ladies petite sizes are typically classic and tailored in style, appropriate for many professional environments.

Stores

  • JC Penney: Offer stylish classic options from brands such as Jones Wear and east5th.
  • Chadwick's: Classic, single hued suit wardrobes and select contemporary suit styles.
  • Talbots: Carries seasonal and all-season business suits in petite sizes.
  • Nordstrom: Petite business dresses and separates from Jones New York, Anne Klein, Missok, and more.
  • Appleseeds: Modest jacket dresses for petites.

Designers with Petite Dress Suit Lines

  • Ann Taylor: Smart, sophisticated petite skirt suits that never go out of style.
  • Liz Claibourne
  • Eileen Fisher
  • Dana Buchman

Personal Business Wear Tailoring for Petites

Since there are many body types and sizes that fall within the petite range, personal tailoring is a great option, especially when it comes to items like jacket dresses or two piece business suits for women. You can choose to have your own garments tailor-made, or take purchased items in to be fitted to your size.

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Tips for Choosing Petite Career Suits