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Petite Plus Size Brands: Women’s Fashion Tips for Cruisewear, Casual Wear & Eveningwear

read about plus size petites if you're short

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Hey Boomerinas, it seems as if everyone wants to know where to buy plus-size petite clothing for cruises, for casual daywear, and for dressy eveningwear. So, I’m finally writing an article with fashion tips for your body type and ideas about good brands for women who are short and fat.

read about clothing for petite (short) plus (fat) women

Petite Plus Pants

What? You say it’s wrong to use the phrase “short and fat”…  Well in the words of Joan Rivers, “Grow up!

I’m using “short and fat” because it’s confusing when people use the oxymoron “plus size petite”. To most people, petite means tiny. To the fashion world, petite means short (5’4” and under).

So, I want you to know you’re in the right place for clothing tips if you’re five foot two... eyes of blue... and you like to cook.

Petite Plus Means Short and Fat (and Cute)

I hope I haven’t insulted you if you’re short and fat. Get over it! (Would it be better if I said short and fat and cute?)

I’m short and fat. Actually, I’m five feet four-and-three-quarters inches (almost an inch too tall)… so I’m borderline petite. And, I’m (approximately) a size 12-14, so I’m borderline regular and plus sizes. I can wear every category of clothing and NOTHING seems to fit, but I’ll do my best to help you.

Plus Size Petite Pants and Jeans for Short Women

Most of the time, I’ve found that short, curvy (big, plump, chubby, chunky, stout, pudgy, porky, lusty, queen-sized) women are usually able to wear regular-length plus-sized tops… even if it means rolling up the sleeves in a trendy, au courant way. So, I think the real question is:

  • “Where the hellaroonie can I find large jeans and trousers with a short inseam that I don’t have to hem?”

Well, if you have a big tush and hips, you can try any of the usual suspects in the low-to-mid price range. I’ll name names of particular styles if I notice any great reviews for bottoms that look like they’ll fit most women:

  • Lane Bryant: Bottoms to try: High Rise Ponte Flare Pant, Lena Tailored Stretch Wide Leg Pant. (Tummy Technology jeans get bad reviews.)
  • Avenue Plus Petite Jeans and Pants: Please don’t get plaid trousers. Bottoms to try: Delux Stretch Legging Jean, Tummy Control Pull-on Pant (for work), most bottoms get good reviews.

  • Woman Within: Avoid crops. You’re short. I don’t care what women in New Jersey are wearing; most of you look shorter in crops and capris. (There are exceptions. SOME LARGER WOMEN look good in capris on cruises.) Bottoms to try: Petite Fineline Straight Leg Jean, Petite Pants in Comfortable Stretch Fabric (for work or daytime casual), read reviews for more.

There are other good websites for plus-sized petite pants if your main issue is your hips and butt. However, if you have a big tummy, I’ve written a whole article about jeans for YOU. The websites in my apple article also have trousers:

Petite Plus Websites for Cruise and Casual Daytime Outfits:

I recently got a comment from a Boomerina named Beverly. She wanted to know if she could wear pants with a dressy top for cruise formal nights because she’s older and she’ll be riding a scooter around her ship. I told her a fancy pants outfit would be perfect.

Beverly also wanted to know where to shop for cruisewear in size 18WP. And, since Beverly is only 5' tall, I told her to wear "cropped" leggings and a long top if she doesn't have time to go to the tailor before her cruise.

plus size fashion brands for petites

Style Has No Size

Women can find items that work as “cruisewear” on almost any site that carries plus-size fashion, but here are some websites I particularly like for cruise outfits:

Talbots Woman Petite Collection: Talbots is your go-to site (to 3XP or 22WP) for almost any type of clothing, because they seem to have the best collection in your size. It's definitely a great place for subtly nautical, tailored outfits.  Here are a few pieces I’d check out for a cruise:

read about plus petite size for cruise wear

Women's Petite Plus for Cruise

  • Preppy Stripe Drop-Shoulder Sweater: Breton stripes are flattering on everyone.
  • Weekend Terry Pull-on Pant.
  • Talbots Hampshire Ankle Pant.
  • Sandbar-Stripes Knit Jacket.
  • Amherst Lace Top: Wear with pants for evenings. Forget the monogram.
  • Wrinkle-Resistant Sleeveless Shirt: Don’t be afraid to go sleeveless.
  • Surplice-Wrap Top: V-necks rock!
  • Stripes Pima Cotton Envelope-Shoulder Tee: I’m totally boho. The only time I wear classic clothing or stripes is on a cruise. And, unless you’re on a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" or a "Blue Hawaii with Elvis" type of cruise, you’ll look best in classic preppy stuff (while at sea).

Nordstrom Petite Plus: Nordie’s doesn’t have a large selection of plus for short people, but you might like their Curvy Fit Pants in Petite Plus. These come in several colors and get good reviews.

Draper’s and Damon’s: Draper’s only goes up to size 18 in petite, but their regular-length plus sizes go up to 22. This is the site where I bought my clothes for a Viking River Cruise through China. It’s really easy to get a stretchy plus-sized jogging suit and have the pants hemmed. (You can roll up the sleeves if you don’t want to have the sleeves shortened. That’s exactly what I did for China.)

Drapers.com was the only place that had cute, feminine “old lady” travelwear that didn’t make me look too mannish. Yes, some of their stuff is a tad bit matronly, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need… when you’re going someplace new… and you don’t want to scare the natives. I ended up wearing my Draper’s “leisure suit” almost every day of my trip. It was perfect. It was comfortable. It was cute. Everyone liked my outfit. Even the old Chinese ladies came up and told me my pantsuit was cute.

Land’s End Women’s Plus Size Petite: If you want casual day wear, Land’s End has a small assortment of traditional daytime clothing in your size.

read fashion tips for plus sizes

Good Tops for Petite Plus Size Women

NeimanMarcus.com: Neiman’s has a good selection of REGULAR-LENGTH plus-sized designer tops in boho styles. If you want to try a top from Johnny Was or Tolani, get one with a shorter length (like one of their poncho tops)... with short or 3/4 sleeves. (You CAN'T roll up the sleeves on most of their tops. They won't stay up.)

Catherines.LaneBryant.com: This site has good basic clothes in petite for work or daytime cruise.

More Plus Size Brands: All of the photos in this article come from websites with plus-sized clothing, and most of these sites have short-length pants in larger sizes.

if you're petite (short) and a plus size (fat), it's hard to find things to fit. Here are some good brands (websites to try) - read article

Plus Petite Maxi Dresses

Plus Petite Maxi Dresses:

Maxi dresses (and maxi skirts) are other items that can be hard to find. Here are a couple of websites where you might find a long dress or two that you won’t have to hem.

  • SimplyBe.com and (sister site) Marisota.com: You can usually find one or two maxi dresses in large sizes at one of these two sites. If not, check out their asymmetric (hanky, handkerchief) midi dresses. This is a good style for you because no one knows exactly how long an asymmetric hemline is "supposed" to be. Kimonos with rounded hemlines are also good.
  • HSN Petite Dresses: HSN is hit or miss. Search for “Petite Maxi” and see what pops up.
read about best sites for plus petite clothing

Plus Petite Evening

Petite Plus Sizes for Dressy Evenings

Some of the hardest things to find in the right size are fancy dresses and dressy slacks. You can get away with separates most of the time... something like a pair of plain (non-creased) black pants or black leggings and an elegant top. Sometimes you can put a "dress" together with separates (a sparkly top and a plus-sized maxi skirt). However, you CAN find dresses.

  • Talbots.com: Talbots is the only site I see with a full range of petites in plus. Right now they have 13 dresses in WP. Some are very dressy and others can be dressed up or down. This is probably your go-to place for short party dresses - up to size 22WP. I like their Seasonless Crepe Sheath. You can change the look with different types of jewelry, scarves, jackets, etc.
  • Nordstrom.com: For separates, check out the Alex Evenings twinset tops. If you're wearing a cocktail dress, Nordie's has Donna Karan stockings in petite plus!
  • David's Bridal Plus Size Petites Evening Dresses: This site has several plus size petite party dresses. Do a search for "petite" then scroll down for "Guest of Wedding". They have short and long styles.
  • NeimanMarcus.com: Neiman's has great clothes if you're a PXL (about a size 16). Eileen Fisher's PXL is a size 18. Johnny Was comes in PXXL, which is probably close to a size 18. (Eileen Fisher and Johnny Was generally run large.) Type PXL in search.

Custom-Made Petite Plus Clothing:

If you can’t find what you want in ready-made clothing, try eShakti.com. This site has standard plus sizes up to 6X (36W)… OR YOU CAN ORDER custom items from their assortment of tops, dresses, pants, skirts, and jackets.

You give them your measurements and your height... AND they send your item(s) in about 12-18 days. How groovy is that?

read plus size fashion tips

Asymmetric Tops & Dresses are Groovy for Plus Size Women

I've never ordered anything from eShakti, but I DO KNOW they have been around for years, so I’m sure they’re good. eShakti has great tailored designs for those of you who wear traditional clothing, but they also have a few boho and dressy items. Here are two things I really like:

  • Sash Waist Peplum Blouse in navy (to wear with long black trousers for cruise dinners and parties)
  • Long Hacci Knit Open Front Cardigan in denim (for rocking a casual jeggings look)

There are lots of other sites with fun petite plus-size clothes and cute regular plus-size tops. Look around and let me know if you find another website with clothing you love.

More Fashion Articles for Plus Sized Women:

Plus Size Boho Chic: 16 Essentials for Hippie Women of all Ages

Trendy Plus Size Clothing Stores Online: 29 Boutiques & Designers Worldwide With US Delivery

Can Fat Women Wear Prints? 5 Tips for Plus Size Chicks

read about plus size fashion tips

Main Photo

Photo Credits: Prshots.com.

  • Main Photo: M&Co.
  • Petite Plus Pants: Navabi.
  • Style Has No Size: Evans USA.
  • Women's Petite Plus for Cruise: Marisota jacket by Joanna Hope, Simply Be top, Simply Be navy petite trousers, Simply Be white extra short trousers.
  • Good Tops for Petite Plus Size Women: Johnny Was poncho style blouses at Neiman Marcus.
  • Plus Petite Maxi Dresses: Marisota and Simply Be.
  • Plus Petite Evening: David's Bridal.
  • Asymmetric Tops & Dresses are Groovy for Plus Size Women: Simply Be dress, Evans top, Evans dress.

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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14 Comments

  1. kay kerns

    We are about the same height. I sometimes buy petite pants if I want to wear them with very flat shoes....!

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Kay, same here. I can wear petite pants, but all petite skirts look bad on me for some reason. T

    • Antome

      Hi, I think flats can look great if you place your waistline higher, or lower your hemline. Legs tend to look longer. I've seen women placing their belt at different heights on their dresses to obtain different effects and playing with optical proportion. Or in the case of high waisted skirt, tucking the top :).

      • Tina-Boomerina

        Antome, I wear flats when I need to (beach, dog park, travel) but I know I look better in heels.

        I've had all kinds of issues that are related to getting older... and I have to take medications that make me gain weight... ick. I used to change the height of my belt when I was thinner. Sometimes, I do that now. (At this point in my life, i never tuck in tops... but I'm hoping to be able to again.)

        Changing the height of the waistline really DOES make a difference. How did you get to be so smart?

        Tina

  2. sylvia o'connor

    found a dress i really like and want but no way to get to it or buy it why ???also no way to contact and ask

  3. Jill Aaron

    Wonderful stuff.

  4. Ann

    I am a 16WP and am 5'2" with a tummy, age 65. I love tunic tops on tall ladies, but I look like I put pants under a dress. Suggestions? Thanks. Ann