I’ve been thinking about writing a post on this topic for quite a while… I’ve drafted several different versions, each headed in a slightly new direction. But what it really comes down to is… I’m short y’all. Vertically challenged. Not tall. And that’s just all there is to it. Somewhere between 5’2″ and 5’3″, my height puts me in unfortunate situations like, “almost everything I buy needs to be altered/hemmed/taken in” and, “these are cropped pants???” or better yet, “these are REGULAR pants?!” and most regrettably, “I’m never going to look like a super model in my clothes, no matter how tall my shoes are.” I’d say it’s been a life-long struggle, but I’d be lying. Let me explain… being short isn’t really hard, at least in my opinion, until you’re an adult. It’s not weird to be short when you’re a kid. Hell, it’s not even that weird to be short when you’re in high school. Everyone is growing, and it’s mostly happening differently for everyone, and I’d MUCH rather have been short back then than tall (emphasis on the then). My Mamaw used to tell me (wise woman that she is) that boys really preferred short tiny girls. And you know what?? I believed her. Even in college, my height pretty much worked to my advantage. You can’t very well aspire to be in the top part of a pyramid if you’re the tallest chick on the cheerleading squad. On my campus, almost no one wore heels, except to Barn Dances on the weekend, and even then, it was more the exception than the rule. So, no real self-concious struggles… then I graduated. And moved to the “city.” And was expected to start dressing, and looking like a grown up. UGH. That’s when this all started.
It’s hard to look like an adult in flat shoes (when you’re short)
It’s hard to be taken seriously sometimes (when you’re short)
It’s hard to have tall friends (when you’re short)
It’s hard to buy regular pants, at regular stores (when you’re short)
(Side note: pants didn’t used to be so long. I swear… when I was buying jeans in high school, they generally just worked. I didn’t have to have anything hemmed, or taken up, and if something was too long, I just double-cuffed and went about my business. Now, I go into a dressing room with an armful of jeans, and just about every pair is literally 6-8″ too long. Like, I can fold them under my feet and make footie-pajamas. That’s not a problem double-cuffing can, or should solve. Has anyone else noticed this trend?? Another big UGH.)
This is me. Standing next to my tall/slim/beautiful friends. No special outfit, no high heels, no flattering pose. Just 5’2.5″ me, in cut-off shorts and a pineapple tube top:
(Image/Source: my darling friend Chelsea of McGowan Images)
So today, I’m going to tell you how I “deal” with my situation, in regards to buying pants. Or jeans. They’re really not my favorite thing to buy, or wear, but sometimes, it’s gotta happen. Now I don’t know about you, but I hate being dependent on a tailor to “fix” a pair of brand-new jeans. Occasionally, fine. But not always. Not when there are perfectly good ready-to-wear options out there. Here we go…
1. If I must wear pants, I make sure they’re good ones.
My absolute favorite jeans in the world are Paige… I bought them almost brand new at Buffalo Exchange in Dallas for less than $30. I’ve never found anything like them again – perfect wash, perfect fit (somewhere between boyfriend and skinny), a little loose in the waist, slightly distressed and the perfect length. They’re the kind of jeans that I’m often terrified to wear, because I just know something terrible is going to happen to them. That said, I can’t reconcile purchasing another pair – even if I could find them – I prefer my investment pieces to be jewelry, shoes, handbags – things that last.
These particular jeans aren’t available online anymore, but here they are, modeled by Rachel Parcell of the Pink Peonies blog:
(Image/Source: Rachel Parcell via Pink Peonies)
See what I mean?? Best jeans ever. If you don’t mind forking over $200+ for a great pair of denim, there’s a similar pair from Paige here. Also, you are braver than me.
2. Options to look for, and love: Petite, Cropped, Short (which I think is a bit discriminatory, but WHATEVER. We’ll get to that in a minute).
While I maintain the idea that pants have generally grown a few inches in recent years, most retailers are offering options when it comes to fit/length. Petite sizing typically insinuates a smaller all-around fit, while “short” or “cropped” options are length-specific.
I love Gap’s Curvy jeans in the petite sizes – they fit me SO good, and don’t need to be altered (click on image for link to purchase). PLUS, Gap is offering 30% off orders through August 13th (TODAY) with code “GAPFRIENDS” – that would make these jeans less than $50
My favorite pair of dress pants are from The Limited. They come in three different lengths: short, regular and long. Ugh. Rude. I hate being specifically designated into the “short” category, but I’m over it. If the pants fit, I buy them – and then I go home and cut out the tag Here’s the “Drew Collection Pant” that I own (in the “short” length, of course):
I also adore Gap’s “Slim Cropped Pants” because they look like regular, cute pants on me (See? We’re coming full-circle here!). Bonus points: they come in several different colors and materials, and regular priced, they’re around $50 (and as mentioned above, Gap is one of those places that’s always running a coupon/discount code). I have a navy pinstripe pair, similar to these:
Most online retailers will list all the “dimensions” of pants/jeans: you’ll want to pay attention to the “inseam” measurement. I look for inseams around 30″ or so, depending on how I want them to fall – at the ankle, around my feet, and longer for jeans to be worn with heels/wedges.
I think F21 also makes some great skinny styles, and for $10 or $15, they’re worth having altered (or just roll them – I love that look right now!). These “Classic Slim Denim Pants” (click photo for link) have a 28.5″ inseam – not too shabby for “regular” pants!
So there you have it. A short girl’s advice on buying ready-to-wear pants/jeans/britches. There are options! There is hope (but don’t de-friend your tailor just yet, lol)! If you’re in the same (small) boat as I am, I’d love to hear your suggestions!