Fitting Room

Petite and Curvy Dressing Guide - Episode One - Pants

Pants for Petite and Curvy Women

Curious about which pant styles are flattering for women who are shorter in stature yet curvy? 

As a personal stylist, I have encountered this quandary more times than I can count. I'm constantly learning more with each and every woman I work with who is "vertically challenged" and "curvy". With my learning I decided to create a guide specifically for this underserved group of women - which I'm working on as we speak! That said, I'll be adding to this blog with each section and then will unveil the whole guide when I have it complete!

Navigating this unique and wonderful body architecture can pose challenges in finding the perfect pant style. That's why I've curated a comprehensive guide on the best pant styles for petite women with curves, because everyone deserves to indulge in fashion. Below, you'll find a list of pant styles that should complement you beautifully.

The Basics of Finding Pants for Petite and Curvy Women

Choosing the right pant styles is essential for achieving a fashionable and polished look. It isn’t rocket science to select a flattering outfit; but it is all about understanding your body. Here are some tips to assist you in finding the perfect pants for you!

Finding the Right Fit for Pants for Curvy Petites

There are three basics to consider when shopping for pants. They are as follows: 

Inseam length

Fit - Your Top Priority

When finding the right clothing in any category, the fit is always your top priority. Both relaxed-fit pants and skinny-fit pants have their own appeal. However, finding a balance between the two is crucial if you want to achieve a look that suits you best. Oversized pants can emphasize your curves and make you appear shorter, while skinny pants might draw attention to areas you'd rather not highlight. Therefore, opting for a boyfriend-fit or relaxed trouser fit is preferable as it beautifully shapes your body and accentuates your best assets in all the right ways.

Rise - Choose Mid to High Rise for Best Results

Mid and high-waisted pants are ideal for women who are shorter in stature and curvy. High-waisted pants create the illusion of longer legs while offering ample space to accommodate your midsection. It's a win-win situation on all fronts. However, if you have a shorter torso and longer legs, opt for mid-waisted pants as a better alternative to get the proportions correct for you.

* Tina Tip: Find your absolute favorite fitting pair of pants and measure the rise of those pants. Save that for when you are shopping for pants so that you can have your greatest success! Put simply, the rise of a pair of pants is the distance from the top of the waistband to the middle of the crotch seam, which sits in between your legs. Typically, the rise is between 7 inches and 12 inches long, though it can vary between different pairs of pants.
How To Measure Rise of Pants

Inseam Length

Selecting the appropriate inseam size is just as crucial as selecting the right waist size. Opting for long inseams can extend past your ankles, potentially diminishing your height. Cropped pants that reveal your ankles, however, are excellent for creating a leaner appearance. They complement petite women of all body types, whether they're slender or curvy.

Ankle-length pants are often the optimal choice for petite women. This may entail purchasing cropped styles in regular lengths and wearing them as ankle pants. Additionally, consideration should be given to the width of the pant leg. If the pant leg is both too wide and cropped, it can visually shorten the wearer's legs, which is less than ideal.

*Tina Tip: Again, measuring the inseam of your best-fitting pair of pants is a great idea, so that you know what you’re looking for! How to Measure Your Inseam. Start with a pair of pants you already have that fit you well and lay them flat on the floor. Carefully measure the length from the crotch seam to the bottom of the leg. THIS NUMBER IS YOUR INSEAM.

Pant Silhouettes That Work for Curvy Petite Frames

High-Waisted Wide-Leg Pants

Wide-leg pants are versatile staples suitable for any occasion, whether it's work, dinner, dates, or virtually anywhere else. Including relaxed-fit wide-leg pants in your wardrobe is essential for achieving a chic look. The relaxed fit provides ample room to accommodate your beautiful curves, which is ah-mah-zing! Plus, we're all familiar with the magic a high-waisted pant can work. To maximize their benefits, pair wide-leg pants with heels. Their typically elongated length allows for easy pairing with heels, enhancing your overall silhouette.

Hi-Rise Petite Pants - Macy's

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Elastic Waist Flare-Leg Pants

Embracing the comfort of an elastic waistband is a delightful experience as it allows for greater freedom of movement.

Flare pants are a great option for petite and curvy women. With a snug waist and loose legs, particularly at the bottom, they offer a flattering silhouette as long as the length and rise are proportionate with your particular figure (as discussed earlier).

What's most appealing about this style of pants is their versatility. Dressing them up is effortless—simply pair them with elegant plain heels and a fitted blouse. If you find the pants snug around your hips, try sizing up or adding a tunic-length cardigan to provide a stylish solution.

Flare Leg Elastic Waist Pants

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Vertical-Striped Palazzo Pants

In general, curvy petite women may want to steer clear of printed pants. However, vertical striped palazzo pants can create a more streamlined silhouette, making them an ideal choice for both petite and plus-size women. Pairing a top with vertical striped pants can be tricky as pattern coordination is crucial. Opt for a solid-colored fitted top in a matching hue to complement the pants. One tool to remember when wearing palazzo pants is not to pair a flowy top with flowy pants. If you have flowy pants, then a more fitted top is ideal to achieve the perfect balance and proportion in your ensemble.

Striped Palazzo Pants from Macy's

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Belted Pants

If you hate belts, then skip this paragraph! That said, belted pants can help cinch your waist, highlighting an hourglass figure. They allow you to showcase your curves effortlessly. The high-waisted design not only provides support for your midsection but also avoids emphasizing any areas you may want to de-emphasize.

Neutral-colored high-waisted belted pants are a versatile wardrobe essential suitable for every season. They exude elegance, particularly on petite women, and effortlessly complement any aesthetic. You'll look great from every angle in high-waisted belted pants. Opt for pants with a wide leg fit or a relaxed fit so you are both comfortable and chic. 

Pairing these pants with a V-neck fitted shirt or crop top adds a touch of sophistication and style to your ensemble.

Belted Petite Pants from Macy's

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Cargo Pants

Cargo pants are currently a popular trend, but petite and curvy individuals should approach them with caution. While cargo pants are ideal for casual ensembles, it's important to exercise discretion.

Cargo pants can indeed complement curvy short women beautifully, but it's crucial to be selective. Avoid excessively baggy styles with big pockets on the legs and opt for a slightly loose fit to ensure they don't add unnecessary bulk. Steer clear of designs with elastic or ties at the hem, as they can disrupt the balanced proportions and silhouette you're aiming for. Instead, aim for a relaxed yet structured look for a flattering appearance.

Petite Cargo Pants from Macy's

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What to Avoid when Choosing Pants for Curvy Petites

Low-Rise Pants

Avoid opting for low-waisted pants if you have a shorter and curvier frame. They typically don't flatter your body type well. Low-waisted pants can make you appear shorter and accentuate your midsection, resulting in a less-than-ideal look. Instead, consider mid-waist and high-waist pants as they are more likely to complement your figure.

Pants Too Small

Pants that are Too Long

Choose cropped pants or styles that hit just above your feet, especially if you're petite. It's preferable for the pants to reveal your ankles.
Excessively long inseams can make you appear shorter, particularly if you don't plan to wear heels. They can be challenging to style for short and curvy women, often failing to complement your figure.

Pants Too Long

*Tina Tip: Finding a skilled alterations person will be crucial for your success. While we all aspire to purchase items directly off the rack, the reality is that EVERYONE should have access to a great seamstress or tailor. This ensures that if you come across pieces you adore but require minor adjustments like hemming or seam alterations, you can still incorporate them into your wardrobe seamlessly!
Alterations example

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, selecting the right pants is essential for petite and curvy women to feel confident and stylish. From opting for high-waisted styles to considering inseam length, we've covered key tips to help you find the perfect fit. Remember to prioritize comfort and embrace alterations when needed. With these guidelines in mind, you'll be able to build a versatile wardrobe that flatters your figure and reflects your personal style effortlessly.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links. However, this comes at no additional cost to you and helps support the maintenance of this website. Rest assured, all recommendations are based on thorough research and genuine recommendations from our team.

P.S. Here's my list of retailers who carry Petites!

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I hope you enjoyed this post! I post weekly to share the journey with you, and I have a million ideas floating around in this head of mine. But, I want to serve you! So, what would YOU like to talk about?