If you’re 5’4 or under, you’re probably familiar with the perils of shopping for clothes. Between too-long pants hems, too-big armholes, and skirts and jackets that make you look like you’re a kid playing dress up in your mom’s clothes, being petite can certainly present some challenges on the fashion front. Which is why we’re shocked that more retailers haven’t jumped on the issue and hustled to create clothing to suit small women. Caroline Misan Alvo agrees—as the founder of Gambita, a new e-comm site geared toward petite women, Misan Alvo knows firsthand the trials they face.
“I’m 4’9, so shopping has always been this total nightmare for me, she said. “I grew up thinking it was only because I’m exceptionally short that I had these issues, but I was having enough conversations with my petite friends who were a little taller than me—but still under 5’4—and they were all complaining about the same thing.”
From there, a light went off for Misan Alvo, who said she did her homework and started by looking at the census. “I noticed that almost half the female population is petite which really surprised me.”
After getting laid off from her non-profit job last January, the 28-year-old took it as a sign and dedicated her energy to launching Gambita, which features a variety of petite-friendly pieces to suit all shapes (jeans with a 29-inch inseam, chic cut-out cocktail dresses with elongating V-necks and above-the-knee lengths) as well as pieces that short women have typically been told they can’t wear, like flowing silk tunics and floor-grazing maxi dresses, all scaled to size.
“Petite women can pull of anything as long as they pay attention to proportion and fit. You can definitely wear a loose-fitting blouse as long as it’s like tailored in the right way.”
That said, Misan Alvo offered up 8 petite shopping tips—and we made a Pinterest-ready checklist to make sure you’re always buying pieces that suit your small frame. Read on, and be sure to Pin the chart below! And if you’re interested in shopping the site, Gambita is offering StyleCaster readers 30% off using the code Gambita4StyleCaster30.