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The Best Jeans for Petite Women

The author in her AG Legging Ankle jeans.

I have an obsession with jeans. From the dark skinny pair that I wear to the office to the distressed boyfriend pair for running errands on the weekend, jeans comprise my everyday uniform. But I’m also petite — a mere five feet tall — so finding the right pair can be especially frustrating. The problem when you’re on the smaller side is that jean hems are always too long, distressing that’s meant for the knees ends up just below it, and nearly everything needs to be taken to the tailor. As a petite style blogger, I’m constantly on the lookout for clothing that flatters small-statured women. Some come from petite-specific lines, while others are the cropped versions of regular styles (which end up being the ideal full-length inseam for petites). Below, my favorite jeans after a lot of trial and error (you’ll find that most of them are of the skinny variety, just because the baggy and wide look can be particularly shortening for smaller women).

If you came away from this only buying a single pair of jeans, these should be the ones. They’re hands-down the one pair of denim that I wear probably 90 percent of the time. The fabric, which is 98 percent cotton and 2 percent polyethylene, is super stretchy and sucks you in without being constricting. To give you a sense of how much I love these, I bought my first pair more than three years ago and have since bought three more in different washes — I have one for nearly every weekday. The 28-inch inseam is also incredibly petite-friendly; I like to get mine hemmed so they hit right at the ankle, but you could definitely leave them as is for a slight stacking (it’s a personal preference). If you choose a distressed version, the rip hits right at the knee, too. On days I’m feeling blah, I wear these jeans.

These jeans flatter and hold up wash after wash. For petites, I recommend wearing their Capri styles, which actually translate into the perfect full-length on a shorter woman (they won’t look on you like they do on the model above). What’s also nice is that unlike Capri jeans that flare out at the hem, these are more tapered, so they won’t look like bell bottoms. These have a 27-inch inseam, and — most importantly — knee distressing that hits higher, so it’s exactly at the knee.

I know, it’s not the first brand you’d think of, but ever since Old Navy released the Rockstar style a few years ago, it’s quickly become a cult favorite among petites. Unlike a lot of other brands, too, these are great for plus sizes (they range from 0 to 18). What I love about these is that the fabric has amazing stretch, but it springs back to hold its shape through the day. The petite inseam runs at 28 ¼ inches, which for me runs just about 2 inches past my ankle, but I actually love that bit of stacking at the bottom when worn with a high heel.

Madewell launched a petite denim line (called “Short”), and you guys, it’s good. Inseams run at a petite-friendly 26 ½ inches, and the woven Tencel lyocell fabric not only stretches to accommodate that food baby but also sucks you in to make those legs look super slim. I really love the high waist on these, which is a nice, almost vintage, change of pace from my AG jeans. As a bonus: These are probably the softest jeans I’ve ever worn, and like the Old Navy Rockstars, they keep their shape.

As if being pregnant wasn’t hard enough, finding petite-friendly maternity jeans is even harder. Funnily enough, some of the best maternity jeans I’ve ever found came from ASOS. A word of caution: The sizing on these run smaller than in general (which is actually a good thing for petites), but I’d suggest you take advantage of the shipping and returns and order a few sizes to ensure that you find the right pair. These are the shortest of the bunch at a 26-inch inseam.

Editor’s Note: These jeans are no longer available in midwash, but you can get them in black.

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The Best Jeans for Petite Women