Petite suits are hard to come by, especially those designed for a more conservative office environment. Many women are on the hunt for a petite business suit that combines a refined, updated style with a good, straight fit; too-tight fabrics and plunging necklines just won't cut it for many offices—or many petite figures. The challenge rests in the variances of the petite frame, as some women have a longer torso, others have a short waist and still others have a short stature but an ample figure. The key to a great petite suit is a proportionate cut, emphasis on the vertical line and the right fabric for your style.
Fits that Flatter
One major concern with petite business suits is the fabric. As is the case with petite tops, thick fabric will only make you look wider. If climate allows, look for jackets and slacks in a lightweight fabric, such as a polyester blend or even linen, which will hang nicely and resist bunching. To accentuate height instead of width, be sure that the jacket sits well on your shoulders and look for long, thin lapels to lengthen your figure. Straight leg pants will likely be the most flattering, whether they are wide or boot-cut; stay away from skinny pants unless you have especially thin legs and small hips.
Banana Republic carries some trendy petite women suits that are well-proportioned and designed with sleek vertical lines. For a greater selection of petite business suits and separates, look to the versatile collections of Nordstrom, Tibi, BCBG and Arden B, though you should expect to pay more in these stores than you would in most department stores. Unfortunately, the selection of plus-size petite suits is relatively limited in department and designer stores, so a custom petite tailoring company like Moi-Même may be your best bet for a great fit. Remember that fit is the most important aspect, so it will be more worthwhile to buy one perfectly fitted suit than a handful of cheaper, inadequate versions.
Sometimes the final touches can make all the difference in your business outfit, lending a sense of confidence and control. But you'll want your finely crafted petite suit to be the focal point, so be sure that your accessories don't break up the vertical line. Stick with thin belts, delicate dropped necklaces and moderately high heels that just peek out from your pant leg hem. A light touch can make a big impression.