Being 5’2″ with short legs means looking for pants that fit me can be a pain. It is very hard to find pants that fit me off the shelf, even with petite size pants. Over the years, I have tried numerous pants styles and brands, and these are the best pants for petites, especially if you have shorter legs like me.
Slim Fit Pants
One of the best pants for women with short legs like us are the slim fitted pants. In fact, if you are petite like me, anything fitted, whether it’s tops or bottoms, generally looks much better on our short frame. This is especially important when it comes to pants.
Since our legs are not long to begin with, you want to go with the pants that fit closer to your body and avoid extra bulkiness.
It is important to note that fitted pants does not mean your pants have to be skin tight. This is especially true in the summer when you probably do not like pants that are clinging to your legs. Instead of super tight pants, look for pants that are fitted but offer plenty of space in the leg shape for you to feel comfortable.
Solid Color Pants
Wearing one solid color on the bottom half of the body helps to create one long line down the body (or longer legs in this case). If you have short legs, this is a major perk of wearing a solid color! Anytime you are choosing pants, whether it’s denim jeans, trousers or something in between, try to stick to options that are one solid color throughout.
This may go without saying, but it’s worth mentioning, that when choosing denim it’s best to avoid a lot of whiskering and fading throughout them. The black jeans I was wearing has a lengthening and slimming effect. These little details may seem small but they break up the leg line and in turn, shorten already short legs.
Full Length Pants
When dressing short legs, one of the main focuses, generally speaking, is to avoid having them look shorter than they naturally are. For this reason, full length pants are going to be (and should be) your best friend.
Now, full length pants aren’t all created equally, as you probably know. Pay close attention to where your straight and skinny pants are resting on the leg. Full length pants should be at or just above the ankle to acquire a lengthening effect to legs. When wearing a full length style of pants you’re essentially creating one straight, long line down the legs – allowing you to take advantage of every inch so they look longer.
Long Wide Leg Pants
It probably comes as a big surprise to learn that wide leg pants are actually an incredible choice for short legs. It’s true! The theme continues as to why they’re such a flattering choice in that they give legs a long, uninterrupted line down the body.
Now, it is important that wide leg pants have the right inseam length. Ideally, the longer, the better! I know this may sound counterintuitive to you, as it is very templating for petite women to be intimated by long pants, let alone wide leg pants. Here is the rationale. The longer your pants are, the longer they form the vertical line for your bottom half, and that will give the eye the illusion of long leger legs! The pants should lay flat on the body with the shoes you choose to wear.
I am 5’2″ and my ankle length is 25″. With wide leg pants, I can go up to 29″ inseam and I always wear them with heels! If you haven’t tried wide leg pants in the past, try them out – they’re a fit that’s pretty epic for short legs.
On the other hand, you do not want the pants to be excessively long as to be dragging on the floor. Depending on how tall you are, you may need to have some tailoring done on the length to make sure the wide leg pants don’t drag. This is especially common, if you happen to be under 5 foot tall. The popular petite brands such as Banana Republic or Ann Taylor typically makes wide leg pants with inseam 29″ and above, even for petite sizes. So, if you happen to have shorter legs, then it is advisable to hem the pants, even if they are petite sizes.
Moderately Cropped Pants
Full length pants were mentioned above, and their benefits to short legs. Typically, our legs are only as long as the inseam of he pants we wear! But, the truth is if you have short legs you CAN still wear cropped pants and there are ways to look great doing so.
There’s one major factor that is going to either make or break cropped pants with short legs, though. You may have guessed it based on some of the tips mentioned previously – it’s the length placement. Cropped pants are…cropped – obviously and because of this they CAN crop the leg. In order for cropped pants to not do this to already short legs, you’re going to need to pay close attention to the length.
Length of any cropped pants should be right above the ankle bone. This length will give you the chance to embrace the cropped style of pants while also showing just a touch of skin to aid making legs look a bit longer.
Straight Leg Pants
Straight leg pants or jeans are not just trending, they’re also a perfect choice when you have short legs. Not repeat previous tips, but it’s simply because of the straight line – notice the theme here?! Fortunately, straight leg pants have also made a major comeback, so you can be on trend and lengthen your legs simultaneously.
Paper Bag Pants
Another style of pants that you can always count on to enhance short legs? Paper bag pants. This style of pants is generally presented with a high waist and belt – these are the two main attributes that make them a great choice when dressing short legs.
The accentuation that occurs at the smallest part of the waist, thanks to the high waist fit, brings the leg line up on the body and – as you probably guessed – makes legs look significantly longer than they are naturally.
When selecting paper bag pants for your wardrobe just be sure that the rest of the pants aren’t too baggy in their fit. Remember that just because they offer the highlighted waist element that elongates legs, the rest of the fit still plays a role in how flattering they are.
Pants that are too baggy with a lot of extra material add bulk and then tend to cause legs to look much shorter. That being said, the pants overall should fit to the body (skin tight isn’t needed!) so the outline of your shape is shown to really hone in on the style of pants and get all the figure flattery benefits.
Buttoned Up Front Pants
There are two styles of pants that offer multiple buttons on the front of them. Sailor pants, where you will see two lines of buttons on the front. This is a very distinctive style of pants. The other common way you may find buttoned up front pants is with one single row of buttons down the center taking place of the classic zipper and button closer that’s common in pants. Both of these options are wonderful choices for short legs. It may be hard to believe but lines of buttons on the front of pants, created even just with a few buttons, adds a defined vertical line down the front of the body.
Right now it’s a big trend in denim for multiple buttons as the closure, in both full length denim and shorts. So if this is a tip you’re keen on now is definitely the time to focus on trying them out and doing some shopping to add to your collection.
Avoid Wide Leg Pants too Short
Cropped wide leg pants have been very much on trend for a number of years now. Honestly, I do not think they are an easy style for women with short legs to pull off. The reason is the voluminous leg shape can create a horizontal line, and if they happen to end somewhere on your calf, it is quite easy for them to make your legs look even shorter.
Avoid Low Rise Pants
A general rule of thumb when dressing short legs is to avoid low rise fits at all costs. The issue that comes with low rise is the placement visually shortens the legs – which is probably not your goal when you already have short legs. Instead, high rise pants are a better option. Focus on high rise pants that rest at the natural waistline area of the body. If you aren’t quite sure where you natural waistline is, it’s the smallest area of the waist. Feel free to get the measuring tape out if necessary to help you really narrow in on the proper placement of a high rise pant. This is going to do wonders for lengthening the appearance of short legs. Because high rise jeans quite literally lift the waistline, they automatically add inches to legs.
Shop the Petite Section
Whether you are actually considered petite or not, as someone with short legs you may find that the petite options fit your body better. Because length and placement of garments on the body plays such a big role in flattering and elongating short the look of short legs, petite fits may be one of the missing pieces in your wardrobe.