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

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

three women wearing some of the best petite dresses
(Image credit: Future: Hobbs, Boden, Lane Bryant)

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 and holiday potential on the horizon, if you have a smaller stature, you'll want to investigate the best petite dresses, 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. 

12 best petite dresses—selected by our fashion team

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. Making friends with a local tailor—you can often find one at a dry cleaner—will help you adapt other clothes in your wardrobe too, because, no matter how much you spend on an item, a great fit always makes clothes look and feel expensive. 

Best Petite Summer Dress

Petite mini v neck floral dress with wrap detail

(Image credit: ONLY)

1. ONLY Petite Wrap 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. 

 

1. Best Petite Evening Dress

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

(Image credit: Karen Millen)

Karen Millen Cowl Neck 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. 

2. Best Petite Wrap Dress

Leopard print dress

(Image credit: New Look)

New Look Leopard Print Ruffle Dress

Specifications

RRP: £29.99 / $39.99
Size Range: 4 -18
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Can be dressed up or down
+
Fit-and-flare design flatters the figure

Reasons to avoid

-
Website doesn't give full information on dress length

New Look has been around for decades and has one of the largest petite clothing offerings for a straight-to-market brand, including some of the best petite dresses. A favorite amongst the fashion crowd, leopard print is regarded as a neutral, so you can guarantee this look will never date. From office attire to a stylish bridal shower party outfit, this dress can do it all. In a universally flattering wrap silhouette, we love the long ruffle detail that will help to elongate petite frames, adding length in an instant. Team with comfortable flats for a casual spin, or dress up for a night out with your best designer heels

3. Best Petite Plus Size Dress

Petite blue patterned plus size dress

(Image credit: Lane Bryant)

Lane Bryant Flutter Sleeve Dress

Specifications

RRP: $99.95 / £108.63
Size Range: 12-26
Length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Machine Wash
+
Wrap style flattering to most body shapes
+
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. 

4. Best Petite Party Dress

Petite sparkle v neck dress

(Image credit: Wallis)

Wallis Sequin Volume Sleeve 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.

5. Best Petite Floral Dress

Midi floral dress

(Image credit: Miss Selfridge)

Miss Selfridge Half Sleeve Midi Dress

Specifications

RRP: $19 / £14.89
Size Range: 4-18
Length: 160cm

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Made entirely from polyester

"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. From British brand, Miss Selfridge, which is well-known for its petite range, you can 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 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.

6. Best Petite Cocktail Dress

Tight fitting floral petite cocktail dress

(Image credit: Roman)

Roman Floral Print Scuba Dress

Specifications

RRP: $50 / £70
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. 

7. Best Petite Wedding Guest Dress

Petite wrap navy silk dress

(Image credit: Quiz)

Quiz Navy Satin Wrap Dress

Specifications

RRP: $69.99 / £49.99
Size Range: 6-14
Length: 155cm

Reasons to buy

+
Wrap style makes it flattering on all figure
+
Satin finish makes it look luxurious
+
Navy won’t clash with the bride

Reasons to avoid

-
Hand wash only

Looking for glamour on a budget? This gorgeous blue, silky wrap dress, from British clothing brand Quiz ticks a lot of style boxes. Ideal for a wedding guest outfit, it would also be a lovely choice for adult bridesmaids, as the universally flattering wrap silhouette will work across body types. While longer-length dresses can be tricky for petites to pull off, created with a shorter stature in mind, this dipped-back dress has reworked proportions to ensure that the fabric won't drown your frame. 

8. Best Petite Occasion Dress

Petite fucsia pink polka dot dress

(Image credit: Hobbs)

Hobbs Fuchsia Pink Dress

Specifications

RRP: $335 / £159
Size Range: 6-18
Length: 104.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Made from recycled material
+
Flattering fit and flare style
+
Has a matching jacket

Reasons to avoid

-
Hook and eye fastening on back may be difficult to fasten yourself

Hobbs delivers timeless style, with some of the best trench coats and chicest dresses on the market. It has a modest petite collection, that covers a lot of classic pieces you can keep in your capsule wardrobe for years to come. When it comes to occasion wear, be it a wedding or the races, a coordinating dress and jacket always look chic. This summer sees a revival of bright color clothing and this pink polka dot dress plays right into the look. In a fit and flare style that will highlight an hourglass body shape, while simultaneously flattering an apple body shape, this is a stylish dress to hide a tummy too as the skirt will flare out from a high waist point. With a matching cropped jacket, for those looking for added arm coverage, this outfit will ensure you turn heads for all the right reasons.

9. Best Petite Holiday Dress

Petite long v neck green holiday dress

(Image credit: Boden)

Boden Jersey Midi 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. 

10. Best Petite Work Dress

Tight fitting constructed petite dress

(Image credit: Hobbs)

Hobbs Cordelia Black Structured Dress

Specifications

RRP: $335 / £159
Size Range: 6-18
Length: 97cm

Reasons to buy

+
Flattering shift silhouette with cap sleeves
+
Perfect for going to work on warmer days

Reasons to avoid

-
Dry clean only

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. With a cap sleeve for upper arm coverage, we love the contrasting white stitch detailing that offers a figure-flattering, optical illusion finish. The seam detailing creates illusion paneling, drawing the eye down the body, to a narrowed waistline, instantly lengthening your frame and almost drawing hourglass curves onto your silhouette. A very clever design indeed. 

11. Best Petite White Dress

Petite white layered dress with tie back

(Image credit: ASOS Design)

ASOS Design Cotton Mini Smock Shirt 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 product, which will make finding the best petite dresses that bit easier.  

This white cotton dress is ideal for the summer months. Light and airy, it will certainly keep you cool on warmer days. With an open back, those that need a bra for larger busts will struggle with the lack of support here, as you'll either need to go bra-free or opt for one of the best bras, that can be worn as a halterneck or backless design. Alternatively, if you don't mind adding a layer, wear your regular bra and simply slip a white jersey camisole underneath the dress, it will hide the bra strap and stop your back from feeling too exposed too. Feeling crafty? Make a third tie with white cotton fabric across the center back that will cover up your bra, just make sure to stitch it in well, in the correct place, or take it to a local tailor to attach. 

12. Best Petite Sustainable Dress

Petite midi floral dress with leg slit

(Image credit: Reformation)

Reformation Midi Floral 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.

Rivkie Baum

Rivkie is a fashion editor, writer and stylist with over fifteen years' experience in the industry. Having studied design and pattern cutting at the London College of Fashion, Rivkie fell in love with styling and journalism, covering fashion weeks in London, Paris and New York. 


Specialising in plus size fashion, Rivkie has long championed that style is for everyBODY and has been a regular talking head on a host of radio stations and television shows, pushing for greater representation for plus size women and fashion throughout her career. 

With contributions from