Petite frames are shorter than average, topping out at 5 feet 4 inches, and often have a smaller bone structure, but can be standard or petite plus sized. Petite sizes can range from zero to larger plus sizes. Being petite doesn’t mean you can’t have curves or a large bust, however. Choosing clothing for your busty petite figure poses a few challenges, whether you’re dressing for the office, the gym or a night out.


Underneath It All

A well-fitting bra is critical if you’re both busty and petite, and can be hard to find. To be sure you’re buying the right size, invest in a professional fitting at a lingerie boutique with a good range of sizes or a high-end department store. Look for a shop that offers band sizes starting at a 28 or 30, and cup sizes up to H or beyond. Depending on your build, you may need to look for a style with shorter wires to keep the wires from digging into your underarm, and fully adjustable shoulder straps. Balconnette style bras, which typically have a relatively low cup and are sometimes called demi bras, often work well for busty petite figures since the wires are shorter than in a full-cup or plunge-style bra.

Stylish Silhouettes

The right silhouette is essential when you’re shopping for a petite, busty figure. Knits can be forgiving, but for button-downs or other woven fabrics, consider shopping for bra-size clothing to allow room for your bust without overwhelming the rest of your frame. Your clothing should be fitted, rather than oversized, and should emphasize your waistline. Since a petite figure often comes with a relatively short waist, if your tops and dresses hang from your bust, it’s easy to lose your waistline and look bigger than you are. Slim-fitting pants and skirts are often flattering, especially if you’re slender. Petite hourglass figures that are curvy on top and bottom may work best with more fullness on the bottom, such as an A-line or full skirt.

Cut and Color

Shape is only one part of dressing a busty, petite figure. Color, fabric and detail matter, too. Skip fussy fabrics, high shine or details on the neckline, such as bows and ruffles. Avoid heavy or stiff fabrics. Look for soft, fluid fabrics that glide over your body, especially for tops and dresses. Bring the eye upward with short, chunky necklaces. Lengthen the look of your legs by matching hosiery and shoes to skirts and pants, whether you favor flats or heels.

Dressing for Everyday

Keep your everyday attire simple with practical and wearable outfits. For the office, try a simple fitted knit top, pencil or A-line skirt, and belted cardigan or fitted blazer. These styles will create a waistline, look professional and add some height to your figure. Keep lower necklines office appropriate with a camisole or scarf to avoid unwanted cleavage. For weekend wear, replace your skirt with skinny jeans or a comfortable, short knit skirt. Wider legged jeans can visually shorten your legs. Fitted dresses, with an open, relatively low neckline, are ideal for evening attire, whether you favor bodycon pieces or something in a ’50s rockabilly style. These will make the most of your curvy figure.