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Petite Wedding Dresses

While every bride deserves the perfect wedding dress, women who fall into the petite category face some unique challenges. Thankfully, there are plenty of gowns made to flatter women of shorter statures. These range from classic A-line dresses to stunning mermaid gowns with sequined appliques.

What does petite mean when it comes to wedding gowns?

For most clothing brands, petite sized clothing is designed for women who are 5 feet 4 inches and under. This size range accounts for the unique proportions of smaller female bodies. Petite wedding dresses, for example, will likely have shortened skirts and smaller bodices. Dresses with sleeves may have higher armholes. Most women will get their gown professionally altered. When they choose from a selection of wedding dresses designed for petites, however, they'll likely find a nice-fitting dress straight off the rack.

"Petite" as a designation refers to the height of the wearer and nothing else. Petite dresses are available in a wide range of sizes, including plus.

What are common silhouettes for petite wedding dresses?

Many wedding dresses are specifically designed to flatter compact figures. Some of the most common silhouettes available for petite brides include the following:

  • A-line wedding dress: A-line dresses are fitted in the waist. They have slightly flared skirts that fall naturally to the floor. A-lines come in a wide variety of fabrics, including silk, chiffon, and lace. The A-line style is flattering to petite brides because it shows off their small waists and elongates their stature.
  • Empire waist wedding dress: Empire waist dresses are cinched right below the bust. They are typically made from flowy materials, like chiffon and silk. Used commonly for beach wedding dresses, the style is flattering for smaller women because the high waist lengthens the waist and legs. The effect is that the bride looks taller.
  • Mermaid wedding dress: Mermaid dresses fit closely throughout the bodice and hips but flair out dramatically below the knee. These dresses are often constructed out of stiff fabrics, like satin and lace. They are ideal for smaller women because they highlight their curves and give them a lengthened aesthetic.
  • Strapless wedding dress: Strapless wedding dresses are perennially popular with women of all sizes. These gowns are characterized by a strapless neckline. It may be connected to any style of dress, ranging from a tulle ballgown to a chic sheath. They flatter petite women as the strapless neckline shows off their shoulders and arms.
  • Short wedding dress: As the name implies, short wedding dresses are great for smaller women. The tea-length dress, which stops several inches below the knee, can be found in fabrics such as tulle and lace. These dresses make smaller statures a selling point, and they often accentuate the bride's waist and lean upper torso. Women may want to try a tea-length wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline.