Best petite dresses—from summer frocks to evening, work and casual designs

Best petite dresses—the best summer styles for those under 5'4

Best petite dresses
(Image credit: Future)

If you're 5'4 or under, then the best petite dresses should be a high priority on your shopping list. Designed with smaller statures in mind, they'll help you get the perfect fit this summer.

When it comes to our summer capsule wardrobe, the best dresses play a huge role. With a host of summer occasions on the horizon, if you have a smaller stature, you'll want to investigate the best petite dresses and the best petite jeans so you can fill your wardrobe with clothes that offer you a great fit. While petites can of course buy any dresses on the main fashion market and have them taken up, the best petite dresses have been specifically designed with a shorter stature in mind. That means that often the whole cut of the torso will have been adapted for a petite frame. 

There is a huge misconception that petite is its own body type, but petite women come in all shapes and sizes. You might want to consider your shape prior to shopping, so you know which cuts are generally the most flattering for your silhouette. Check out our guides on: How to dress a pear-shaped body, how to dress an hourglass body shape and how to dress an apple body shape for some extra hints and tips. 

18 best petite dresses - selected by our fashion team

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The best petite dresses in this list have been chosen for their petite cuts. When the information has been available, we have also listed the length of the dress. While petite cuts take into account that the torso also needs to generally be shorter, you can also adapt dresses from mainline collections to fit your frame. Making friends with a local tailor - you can often find one at a dry cleaner - will help you do this, because, no matter how much you spend on an item, a great fit always makes clothes look and feel expensive. 

Petite mini v neck floral dress with wrap detail

(Image credit: ONLY)

1. ONLY Petite Olivia Wrap Dress

Best Petite Summer Dress

Specifications

RRP: £32 (US site coming soon)
Size Range: S-XL
Length: 86cm

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect for summer
+
Wrap style makes it adjustable, comfortable and flattering
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited Size Range
-
Currently only ships to the UK

British clothing brand ONLY has a dedicated petite range, serving up the same stylish designs as the main range, reworked specifically for a smaller frame. For those who are also looking for the best sustainable clothing brand, ONLY have a mission to be climate positive and fair for all, making them a great label to support. 

One of the best petite dresses for summer, the gorgeous blue floral print can easily be dressed up or down, depending on occasion. For running summer errands, team with your best white trainers, or style up for an occasion with a pair of heels and some statement earrings. 

 

Petite mango colored long silky bias cut dress with cut out back

(Image credit: Karen Millen)

2. Karen Millen Petite fluid crepe cowl neck dress

Best Petite Evening Dress

Specifications

RRP: $186 / £109
Size Range: US: 2-12 / UK: 6-16
Length: 132cm

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect for date night
+
Cowl neck makes it flattering for majority of bust sizes
+
Gorgeous mango color ideal for the summer

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size range

Karen Millen has really diversified in recent years and now has a host of categories to cover different body types. One of the best plus size clothing brands, Karen Millen also has an extensive petite collection, checking off everything from smart workwear to chic evening styles. 

This mango hue plays right into the fashion color trends 2022. Leaning towards dopamine dressing, this is a mood-boosting bright dress that will look gorgeous for an evening occasion. From what to wear on a first date, to what to wear to a wedding this summer, this bias-cut silky dress answers a lot of fashion dilemmas. 

If you're shopping for a bridesmaid look, either as part of the bridal party, or you're the bride looking to get your party into a figure-flattering frock, then this dress would also make one of the best bridesmaid dresses too. 

Petite long v neck green holiday dress

(Image credit: Boden)

3. Boden Crochet trim jersey midi dress

Best Petite Holiday Dress

Specifications

RRP: $150 / £98
Size Range: US: 2-12 / UK: 6-16
Length: 115cm

Reasons to buy

+
Loose fit to keep you cool in the hot weather
+
Detachable tie belt 
+
Timeless design

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size range

Boden has been delivering fantastic spring/summer looks for years, and the majority of its dresses come in both regular and petite fits—although you'll have to be quick as sizes sell out quickly. With a focus on added detail, the clothing brand often offers unique prints and attractive trims to ensure its looks have a bit of an extra luxe factor. 

This stylish olive green dress with crochet trim is bang on trend for the summer months. With a really artisanal feel, we saw a lot of crochet detailing on the runway both on clothing and via the handbag trends 2022. Made from jersey, this relaxed-fit dress has a lovely soft drape. With a throw-on-and-go aesthetic, this dress is ideal for holidays and could even act as one of the best beach cover-ups, just add your best beach bag and you've got one stylish poolside look. 

Banana Republic silk mini dress with halterneck and blue square print

(Image credit: Banana Republic)

4. Banana Republic Petite Belay Silk Mini Dress

Best Petite Mini Dress

Specifications

RRP: $250 (US only)
Size Range: XXS-L
Length: 71.12cm

Reasons to buy

+
Made from fine silk charmeuse
+
Swing fit offers added comfort
+
Ideal for occasionwear

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in the US

Banana Republic have a great petite selection of product, often producing the same styles as the mainline collection, but with a considered fit for smaller frames. Offering luxury fabrications, this dress is 100% silk and ideal for what to wear to a bridal shower this summer. With a stylish swing fit, this is also ideal for petites who want a dress that isn't formfitting. Featuring a halterneck fastening, you'll want to invest in one of the best strapless bras or the best bras that can be worn multiple ways for bust support. Dress up with your best designer heels to finish the look.  

Lane Bryant petite yellow maxi dress

(Image credit: Lane Bryant)

5. Lane Bryant Cami Midi Dress

Best Petite Plus Size Dress

Specifications

RRP: $89.95 / £98.74
Size Range: 12-24
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Adjustable straps
+
Has pockets
+
Ideal for holiday

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't provide information on length measurement

There is a common misconception that petite women can't also be plus size, and that has meant that often brands cater to either one of the other. Luckily American clothing brand, Lane Bryant tackles both in one, with this plus size, petite dress. Specializing in sizes 10-40, Lane Bryant is certainly a market leader when it comes to plus size clothing. Lane Bryant is all about inclusive fashion and this curve-loving dress is also one of the best maxi dresses for petites too. A versatile style, pair with your best sandals for a holiday-ready look or dress up with heels for a summer occasion. 

Petite sparkle v neck dress

(Image credit: Wallis)

6. Wallis Sequin Volume Sleeve Dress

Best Petite Party Dress

Specifications

RRP: £89 (UK only)
Size Range: 8-18
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Sophisticated shimmery look to add some sparkle to your evening
+
Puffed sleeves for a comfortable fit
+
Timeless design

Reasons to avoid

-
No information given on dress length

A metallic dress is always a good idea, and while this look used to be reserved for the Christmas party, the fashion trends 2022 hailed a return of the sequin for the summer months. After dressing in our best loungewear for so long, designers filled the runway with party-ready styles to entice us back out again, and it has worked. While this dress isn't clingy, for a really smooth silhouette, you'll want to invest in some of the best shapewear for underneath this sparkly frock. The V-neck at the front and back is a clever design for petite women as it draws the eye up and down the body, instantly adding length to your torso. Wallis has had a really active petite collection for a long time, with a whole category dedicated to those 5'4 and under.

Loft floral mini petite dress

(Image credit: Loft)

7. Loft Petite Floral Side Tie Button Dress

Best Petite Floral Dress

Specifications

RRP: $89.50 / £95.98
Size Range: XXS-L
Length: 89.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Features tie waist so you can get the perfect fit
+
Can be dressed up or worn casually
+
Can be worn for smart or casual

Reasons to avoid

-
On the longer side for a petite mini dress

"Flowers for spring? Groundbreaking", pardon the Devil wears Prada, fashion quote, but while this design might not be revolutionary, it certainly offers plenty of style mileage. A floral frock never goes out of fashion and in a black-based print with sleeves, you can easily wear this dress all year through. 

With a specialist petite category, the majority of Loft's dresses come in a petite option. Pair this dress with tights and your best winter boots in cooler months, before swapping them out for sneakers or sandals come warmer weather. Easy to dress up or down, this dress is a style classic that can be worn again and again. Whether you're after something for day to day, or a chic option for what to wear to the theatre, adjust your accessories to dress this look up or down.

Roman petite red and floral print cocktail dress

(Image credit: Roman)

8. Roman Floral Print Scuba Dress

Best Petite Cocktail Dress

Specifications

RRP: $67 / £48
Size Range: 8-18
Length: 96cm

Reasons to buy

+
Made from stretchy scuba material
+
Perfect for formal occasions

Reasons to avoid

-
Made primarily from polyester 

Roman is a family-owned business, established in 1957. Specializing in occasionwear looks, it's a great option for some of the best mother of the groom dresses and mother of the bride outfits, with lots of lovely mix and match dress and jacket options. 

The petite clothing range, although it isn't as broad as some brands on this list, is an ideal place to shop for those looking for cocktail, summer wedding, and race day wear. Offering fascinators too, this is a sleek one-stop-shop that also has fantastic price points. 

Chi Chi Clothing teal silk dress with red flower print

(Image credit: Chi Chi Clothing)

9. Chi Chi Petite One Shoulder Floral Printed Midi Dress in Blue

Best Petite Wedding Guest Dress

Specifications

RRP: $197 / £82
Size Range: US: 0-12 / UK: 4-16
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Satin finish makes it look luxurious
+
Blue and red won't clash with the bride
+
Great price point

Reasons to avoid

-
No information on length

Looking for glamour on a budget? This gorgeous teal silky dress with red floral print from Chi Chi Clothing looks like it has just stepped off the runway, ensuring you'll turn heads at any event this summer. Ideal for a wedding guest outfit or for taking on vacation - think of those alfresco dinners, this dress can be reworked for multiple occasions. With an asymmetric hem, it's ideal for lengthening your frame as it draws the eye up and along your silhouette. 

Petite Dressing black lace dress

(Image credit: Petite Dressing)

10. Petite Dressing Vivianne Lace Dress

Best Petite Occasion Dress

Specifications

RRP: $99 (international shipping available)
Size Range: S-L
Length: S - 109.22cm | M - 111.76cm | L - 114.3cm

Reasons to buy

+
High waistline elongates your legs
+
Independent business
+
Smart style

Reasons to avoid

-
Not size inclusive

We love championing indie clothing brands and Petite Dressing, is as the name suggests, specifically designed for shorter women. Founded by a woman who is 5'2, the brand knows exactly what its customer is looking for and creates gorgeous designs and fits, keeping stature front and center of the design process. 

In a pretty lace, this dress is ideal for smarter occasions, from work dinners to weddings. The higher waistline nips you in, elongating your legs, a clever styling trick to look out for on other dresses. For even more height, team with some slim heeled sandals or courts. 

Hobbs black midi work dress

(Image credit: Hobbs)

11. Hobbs Petite Alva Belted Dress

Best Petite Work Dress

Specifications

RRP: $290 / £139
Size Range: US: 4-14 / UK: 6-18
Length: 103.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Flattering silhouette with adjustable belt to define waist
+
Perfect for going to work on warmer days

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited size range

If you're looking for one of the best petite dresses when it comes to what to wear to an interview, then this is the LBD that needs to find its way into your closet. A classic black dress in a shift shape is a timeless design and will never go out of fashion. Easy to layer for different weathers and occasions, it is the ultimate wardrobe building block. We love the belted wait that will help to flatter the figure. You can wear this all year round by pairing it with a little cardigan or blazer and some sheer tights in the colder months. Simple and sophisticated.

white smock shirt dress

(Image credit: ASOS)

12. ASOS Design Cotton Mini Smock Shirt Dress

Best Petite White Dress

Specifications

RRP: $32 / £22
Size Range: US: 00-12 / UK: 2-16
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Guide where you can put in your height to find best size
+
Smock fitting gives comfortable fit
+
Made from 100% cotton

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size range

We love ASOS for its huge range of both own-brand and branded labels. A real one-stop shop, you can always find something on the ASOS website. But with so many options, many shoppers can find it overwhelming. Our top tip is to always use the filter buttons to narrow down your search. You can immediately remove non-petite products, which will make finding the best petite dresses that bit easier.  

A white cotton shirt dress is ideal for the summer months. Light and airy, it will certainly keep you cool on warmer days, particularly with the smock shape that will avoid fabrics sticking to your skin. Easy to dress down with sandals for evenings out, or style up for the office with your best blazer

Petite midi floral dress with leg slit

(Image credit: Reformation)

13. Reformation Midi Floral Dress

Best Petite Sustainable Dress

Specifications

RRP: $248 / £248
Size Range: US: 0-12 / UK: 4-16
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Slim bodice with relaxed fitting skirt gives structure yet comfort
+
Elasticated cuffs and shoulders
+
Made from sustainable materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Dry clean only
-
Expensive

Originally selling vintage clothing from a small LA storefront, Reformation is now one of our top fashion destinations. With an emphasis on sustainability, the brand produces clothing in small runs, testing the market, rather than making huge production runs that might end up in landfills. If demand is there, the brand increases supply, but every piece at Reformation still has a more limited run, than many other straight-to-market clothing labels. 

One of the main players in the fashion market showcasing that style doesn't have to cost the earth, this sweet floral dress, with bust flattering square neckline is certainly a look that won't date any time soon. The thigh-grazing split adds a little glamour to the look and also ensures comfortable ease of movement. Pair with a new season basket bag for a directional feel.

Macy's Alfani black and white print midi dress

(Image credit: Macy's)

14. Alfani Petite Printed 3/4-Sleeve Shirt Dress

Best Petite Shirt Dress

Specifications

RRP: $89.50 / £73.19
Size Range: XS-XL
Length: 89.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Self tie waist for adjustable and comfortable fit 
+
Machine washable
+
Great length for a petite midi dress

Reasons to avoid

-
Made from polyester and elastane

Created exclusively for Macy's, this Alfani frock is one of the best shirt dresses for petites. The abstract black and white print ensures this dress makes a punchy statement, that can be worn for multiple occasions. A great summer outfit for work, the shirt dress is a classic style that won't date, making this a strong investment piece. The monochromatic coloring ensures this dress can be worn in cooler months too. Team with low-heeled summer sandals or a pair of on-trend loafers to keep this look smart and tailored. 

J.Crew maxi cream side cut out dress

(Image credit: J.Crew)

15. J.Crew Petite Harbour Side cut-out Dress

Best Petite Cut-Out Dress

Specifications

RRP: $148 / £165
Size Range: XS-L
Length: 120.015cm

Reasons to buy

+
Made from recycled material and organic cotton
+
Features pockets
+
Ideal for warm weather

Reasons to avoid

-
Very limited sizing

Fashion brand J.Crew provides a wide range of clothing that covers multiple categories. From petite to plus size, we've come to rely on this American retailer for timeless items that we can slide into our capsule wardrobe. 

A favorite with celebrities and stylists, J.Crew pieces give a nod to the latest trends and this chic maxi dress hits two trends in one. Answering the common fashion question, what is boho style, this relaxed fit dress with tiered skirt certainly has the answer. Coupled with cut-out sides - a look we also saw in the swimwear trends 2022, this runway-worthy dress is a sure-fire hit this summer. 

Although the dress is a maxi length, cut specifically for petites, it is ideal for those 5'4 and below. Great for the beach, it's time to grab your favorite sun hat, beach bag and best designer sunglasses.

River Island leopard print petite midi dress

(Image credit: River Island)

16. River Island Petite Leopard Satin Midi Dress

Best Petite Animal Print Dress

Specifications

RRP: $93 / £50
Size Range: US: 4-16 / UK: 4-16
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Made from satin fabric which will feel smooth against the skin
+
Tie waist detail for adjustable fit
+
Machine washable

Reasons to avoid

-
No information on length

River Island has been around for decades and delivers directional styles across a host of categories. From petite to plus size, the brand has a range of designs for every occasion. 

Leopard print never goes out of style, so this chic satin midi is a piece you can wear year after year. A sophisticated, high-neck design, with long sleeves, it's ideal for those looking for something smart and modest. A great option if you're wondering what to wear to the races this summer. Simply add a fascinator or hat, plus any of the best clutch bags and a pair of on-trend kitten heels and you're good to go

Petite Studio blue gingham midi dress

(Image credit: Petite Studio)

17. Petite Studio Blue Gingham Dress

Best petite tea dress

Specifications

RRP: $168 (international shipping available)
Size Range: XXS-L
Length: 108-116cm

Reasons to buy

+
Elasticated waist for flexible and comfortable fit
+
Made from light and breathable fabric
+
Stretchy

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited size range
-
Hand wash only

Tea dresses have become increasingly popular over the last few seasons. A ladylike design, this pretty gingham dress is evocative of the summer, with the picnic check print reminiscent of beach strolls and long sunny days in the park. 

Photographed on a 5'4, petite model, the dress falls to the knee, making it a midi-length dress for those of shorter stature. This pretty dress is ideal for smart-casual occasions with a faux-wrap front and neat elasticated waist. The cut-out back adds a directional feel. 

Express green and white print petite ruffle dress

(Image credit: Express)

18. Express Conscious Edit Printed Sleeveless Tie Waist Tiered Ruffle Dress

Best Petite Ruffle Dress

Specifications

RRP: $78 (international shipping available)
Size Range: XXS-XL
Length: 81.28cm

Reasons to buy

+
Part of the brand's sustainable clothing line
+
Machine washable
+
On-trend coloring

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited size range

Ruffles and frills are a big trend this season and the look really comes into its own when it comes to dresses. Part of the brand's Conscious Edit, it focuses on pairing great design with sustainable credentials. The green and white leaf print is ideal for the summer months, conjuring up tropical holiday vibes. Easily adaptable for different occasions, this dress could easily be styled with the best denim jackets and white sporty sandals for a casual spin, or dressed up with a cropped jacket and heels for a smarter feel. The length is perfect for those with a petite frame, being just 81.28cm long.