Women's bodies com in all shapes and sizes, and the sizing of women's clothing reflects these differences. Walk into a department store and you will see sections selling specialty sizing ranging from plus sized to petite. Misses sizes are meant to fit relatively slender women, while petites are designed for shorter than average women. This does not mean, however, that petites are simply smaller sizes, as there are also differences in the way that the garments are cut.
The main difference between petite clothing and misses clothing is that petite clothing is designed for women who are under 5'4" in height. This does not mean that these women are necessarily thinner than the average women, only that they are shorter. Petite fashions are cut differently than standard women's clothing so that proportions of the garments will hit the woman wearing them in the right places. Misses garments, on the other hand, are cut to the same length as standard women's or plus sized clothing.
Misses clothing differs from women's sizes (which are similar to plus sizes in that they are made to fit a rounder, more mature body) in the proportions related to the wearer's width. Misses fashions are are made to fit average busts and hips, while plus and women's sizes are fuller. Misses sizes usually range from size 4 to 20, while women's and pluses start at size 14. Petite sizes are can be made for misses proportions or with plus-sized proportions.
Since misses styles are fitted for a body type typical of younger or more fit women, the style of the clothing is usually designed to appeal to a younger or more fashion-conscious demographic. Alternately, petite sizes are just shorter-scaled versions of garments, be they misses styles or plus size styles.