I Designed a Petite Clothing Line—Here Are 5 Shopping Tips for Gals Under 5'4"


(Image credit: @alyssainthecity)

It's safe to say we've hit peak momentum of influencer collaborations. New announcements seem to flood into our Instagram feeds every other day, and the collections have become somewhat predictable: Influencer teams up with a major retailer, creates clothing that's inspired by their own style, sells out within a day, and repeats itself. It's a new profitable outlet, one in which influencers are aware of their followers' loyalty and willingness to spend the dough.

But for Alyssa Coscarelli, a New York–based influencer, better known by her handle, @alyssainthecity, her first capsule collection is one she wants to differentiate herself with. Coscarelli is wise to the fact that a name does not always a good collaboration make. She shares, "I think a lot of influencer collabs currently get a bit watered down or extra-commercialized by big brands who … want the collection to appeal to a really wide funnel of consumers. But in the case of this collab, we really stayed true to my personal style and were less concerned with following the 'rules' or trends closely and more concerned with creating what felt authentic to me, my style, and my audience." That's why she turned to Petite Studio, a fashion brand founded by Jenny Wang that services women 5'4" and under, offering trend-driven items guaranteed to fit.

Those who are avid fans of Coscarelli know she recently made the big leap, breaking away from her longtime position as senior fashion market editor at Refinery29 to focus on cultivating her influencer career full-time. But even with over 235,000 followers to date, she's found time to keep close tabs on her engaged audience. "I know [from] previous support and collaborations with Petite Studio … that a lot of my followers are also petite and deal with similar struggles in finding pieces that fit properly," she says. "I get a lot of questions every single day about where I find jeans or tops or work clothing that fit petite frames, or which tailor I use or how I tailor my clothing to make it look good. So I was excited to create pieces that cater to this audience that will actually fit them and that they’ll hopefully feel amazing in, because at just over 5' tall, I know how exciting it is when you DON'T have to get something tailored for once."

Coming in at 5'1", Coscarelli has expressed that she's always had some difficulty in finding off-the-rack clothing that fits well. She explains that she's more likely to be found in slightly oversize fits. She tells us, "I realized while designing this collection that it's so hard to find clothing that fits properly when you're shorter and smaller than average. Now that I've had the privilege to create the fitted pieces I've sought after for so long, it's like a whole new outlook on fitted clothing. Surprising even to myself, I feel amazing and sexy in these more fitted pieces in a way I've never experienced with traditional sizing. And I hope the petite community feels the same."

Over the years, she's had to adopt a bag of tricks when shopping. So to celebrate the launch of her new collection, we've asked her to dish on her best tips that petite girls can keep in mind for their next shopping spree.

Tip #1: Wear More Belts

"Belts are the best secret weapon for cinching and tucking things that need a bit of fit help."


(Image credit: @alyssainthecity)

Tip #2: Find a Good Tailor

"Find a tailor that understands your style and your fit needs and stick with them. It'll make your life so much easier. I have a bag for my tailor constantly that I just add and add to, and take it to her about once a month. Every time I get those pieces back it feels like Christmas morning."

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Tip #3: Take Advantage of Free Tailoring

"On that note, since it can get pricey to tailor so much, take advantage of free tailoring services when you can! Brands like Outdoor Voices and Levi's often offer tailoring with purchase."


(Image credit: @alyssainthecity)

Tip #4: Shop for Cropped Clothing 

"I'm a big fan of getting cropped denim or pant styles and just wearing them as full-length silhouettes."

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Tip #5: But Embrace the Oversize Look

"But while I love a shrunken fit, like a baby tee or a body-con dress, at the same time, I'm all for oversize fits in most things. I lean into that look often!"

A photo posted by on

Up next: under-$100 items fashion girls are packing this summer.

Contributing Editor

Ray Lowe is a contributing editor for Who What Wear. She's spent the last decade living in New York, but now that she professionally works from home, she's slowly been going back to her roots by splitting time between NYC and L.A. A year ago, she left a four-year stint as a fashion editor for Refinery29 to explore the freelance life. Nowadays, she does just about everything from penning online articles (for Who What Wear, Refinery29, Elle, Cosmo, and many more) to writing scripts, styling, and finding ways to fuse her love for both Disney and fashion. Her main beat is fashion (trends, emerging brands, affordable finds, you name it), but you may find her dropping in with a beauty story every now and then. As for her personal style, she'd best describe it as a balanced blend of basics and contemporary trends, often with a dash of Mickey Mouse thrown in for good measure. In her spare time, she can be found coddling my pets (a French bulldog and a rescue cat), curating travel itineraries for her friends, scrolling through Instagram for up-and-coming brands, and watching so-bad-they're-good films.