2023 fashion decisions: evaluating sizes

evaluating sizes f

Happy Fashion Friday, everyone!  It has been such a fun week with great discussions on the blog.  Today, I want to address how, for my 2023 fashion decisions, I am evaluating sizes.

On Monday, I shared with you my need to make some new 2023 fashion decisions in the post,  Fashion Search for 2023 Begins.

I began my search at Dillard’s, and the pieces I tried on just did not feel right…. but I was not sure exactly why.

Then, I remembered something……


evaluating sizes

During one of our shopping journeys, Leigh Ann had be try on petite sizes and they looked much better.

In the Monday post, I tired on the Ali Miles brand in my regular size.

However, once I switched to petites….I liked the pieces much better and purchased three in petites.

Today, I am wearing the Petite Size Brushed Knit Abstract Print Cowl Neck 3/4 Sleeve Pintuck Detail Tunic

I love this top and wore it here out to dinner with the family this week.  It is a cooler weather top, but not too heavy.

The length is perfect and makes a huge difference it how it fits me.

These are the types of abstract prints I prefer to florals…though I do occasionally wear florals.

evaluating sizes

I added older Soft Surroundings Metro Leggings in a terra cotta color, bronze ballet flats, and a bronze cuff…which was a Goodwill Find.

evaluating sizes

I also wore this Ali Miles top to a doctor’s appointment.

This is the Petite Size Abstract Print Wire Mock Collar 3/4 Cuff Sleeve Button Front Woven Tunic

It is a lighter fabric, so I can wear it as often as I like.  This outfit will travel  with me on planned trips.

I styled it with the lantern pants sent to me recently from Alembika. 

However, I love the Eileen Fisher lantern pants at Dillards.  They are a more substantial fabric.

Dillard’s has brown cropped lantern pants on sale….check out the Tencel™ Lyocell Knit Jersey Pull-On Lantern Ankle Pants

I like this look very much…it has a great amount of brown in the top that is difficult to see…looks more like brown…but there are more of my colors than is reflected in the photo.

I will show you the third top another time.


evaluating sizes

I have to be evaluating sizes right now to find the best looks.

Most of my adult life, I have been 5 8 1/2 and most often been larger…(working on changing that.)

But, always thought petites were not for me, because traditionally it is for shorter ladies.

  It has been a nice surprise to discover that some tops work much better than Misses….but not all, it depends on the garment.  

I really do best when I try clothing on.   Just this week at JJIll, I was able to wear and look good in a Misses Medium…but in other garments it may take an XL.

Sigh!  The battle is real…isn’t it ladies.

The good news is that I am finding answers.  I love these three new tops I just added to the wardrobe.  I know the cost per wear will be low on these for me.

But, I admit…me? in petites? Who knew that would happen?

Here are some brands you may want to check out:





Has anyone else recently tried a different size or changed your size?  There are so many challenges to consider…but something I will work through in my 2023 fashion decisions of evaluating sizes.

Enjoy your Friday, everyone…and hopefully I will see you tomorrow for….WOULD YOU WEAR IT?


By Pamela Lutrell

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2023 fashion decisions



  1. Pamela, I have found the same thing! A few years ago I realized petite tops fit me better, as I have a short torso and as I am getting older I am losing a bit of height. My leg length has always been “regular”. I particularly notice sleeve lengths work best in petites. Thank you for your blog, one of the first things I do in the quiet of the morning is sit and enjoy what you are sharing for the day.

  2. Thank you, Irene. I failed to mention that I have lost a half inch in height during my sixties!

  3. That is so interesting, Linda. Our body types are so very different, I guess I can see how sizing is a big challenge for the clothing industry. We have to try lots of options to see what works best.

  4. It all depends on body proportions, leg length and torso length, but this is why I avoid shopping online. I will only purchase online when I know specifically what fits me perfectly in that brand. I always double check by looking at the garment’s measurements. Recently did this with a cashmere sweater from Talbot’s and it fits perfectly. It’s a Petite. But online shopping just doesn’t work for me for the reasons you stated. You just honestly have to try on to avoid mistakes and the dreaded returns. At least I do. I am 5’4″ and can wear Petites in dresses and tops, coats and jackets, but Petite pants don’t really fit me. This is due to having a shorter torso. I do have to alter the Misses pants quite often, which I can do myself, but the rise in Petites just doesn’t work for me. Thank goodness we still have brick and mortar stores to shop in!

  5. I agree, Karen. If it wasn’t for the stores, I would not have tried petite sizing in tops at all. I am grateful that I have discovered this and it was trying on different sizes which helped.

  6. As a true petite at 5’2”…or perhaps less now at 76… and always small-boned, it is frustrating to me that there seems to be few petites IN stores to actually try on. I realize this is probably true because there are definitely more people larger than I am and clothes in stores are geared to their sizes. However, if I order online, then I have to deal with returns which I so dislike. I’m happy for you that you have found some petite tops that you feel more comfortable wearing. I like both of the tops you bought at Dillard’s. Fortunately, I found my mother-of-the-groom dress there many years ago, but I no longer live close to any stores carrying petites.

  7. Yes, I am 5 ft 6 with a short bust-to-waist measurement. Petite tops fit me better for sleeve length and location of the waist. This is only true in some brands, though. Often petites are cut for a larger bust, which means a top is too wide for me. It’s trial and error every time. The Ali Miles tops look wonderful on you!

  8. I understand that if you are not near the locations, how frustrating that can be. But, perhaps it helps to stick with the retailers and brands you know will work in your size and then ordering online is less stressful.

  9. Thanks Ann. I do love these tops and glad I ventured out to try the other sizes. No one can give one answer as to what works here. I do believe once we learn the sizes at our favorite brands then success is possible with less frustration.

  10. It just proves that you can’t look at the size number or letter because all things fit so differently. You look fabulous, Pam.

  11. That’s true, Marcia. Many women get depressed over what a size label says. But the best fit will yield confidence and smiles!

  12. I have the opposite problem. I’m 5’2.5″ tall and find that Misses ankle pants can be full length on me, which I prefer. Rises are tricky, though. Sometimes the difference between Misses and Petite rises are 1/2″ and sometimes 2 inches or more. Same with Misses mini skirts. I don’t shop in stores yet, so I have to rely on what’s online. Pam, any advice on where to find Petite MOB/MOG dresses? I am a 4P and have yet to find anything in my size.

  13. I have just started my search, but I will let you know if I find something for you!

  14. I have purchased petite pants before! At 5’8”, never thought that was possible. But pants are so long now, and I hardly ever wear heels. I resent having to alter things right out of the box. As long as the rise is ok, petite pants sometimes are a possibility for me. My favorite white pants are petites from Macy’s

  15. JJill is incredibly vanity sized, but when you know your “JJill size,” I find the brand remarkably consistent, as is Chicos and Joules (not Talbots; the T line runs at least a size smaller). At 5’5” I’m on the cusp of petites but have a longer torso, so almost never can wear them. I shop mostly on line because retail outlets are closing near me, or are poorly stocked. I get frustrated by a few things that make life even harder, especially retailers who show only one view of an artful model (sometimes twisting or even crouching) and nothing full on to show how the clothes hang (looking at you, Chicos). I also will not buy any longer from retailers who don’t have a retail store here and make you pay for returns. Lands End in particular has inconsistent sizing (even different colors of the same item vary), yet expects me to pay for their mistakes. I unapologetically buy at least two or even three sizes for a try on when I shop on line. I know that’s bad from a profit standpoint and likely for the environment, but if I’m taking advantage of a sale, I need to do this to avoid sell outs or paying full price later. I understand the challenges retailers face, but at least within the brand, sizing should be very consistent.

  16. Petite sizing has changed. Most are now geared to 5’4″ and under. IIRC, 5’2″ was the top height in the past. Also, petite plus sizing exists.

    I’ve been able to wear petite sizes in certain sleeveless or short-sleeve tops and dresses. I’m not a fan of great gaping armholes in regular sizes. Empire waistlines in tops and dresses work for me in petite sizes. Check out the online size charts. I had to go up a size in petites.

  17. This is very interesting. Our body proportion is very important. I remember liking a top and it was available only in petite. I tried it on and it looked great. It was a tunic type top and just looked better as to where it fell at my hips. I’m 5’7”.
    I really like the top you have on in the first picture. Those definitely are your colors. I’m cool so wouldn’t work for me but they look great on you!

  18. Welcome to the world of petites. At just 5 feet even petites don’t often fit my short torso. I can not shop on line and in Canada fewer and fewer stores are carrying petites. The few stores that do carry them have mostly business attire. More casual pieces are even harder to find and forget athletic wear. The popularity of ankle length pants has been a bit of a boom as they sometimes will be full length for me if the rise is not too high. In my youth my mother made all my clothes, including my wedding dress, but as she is now 93 I have to fend for myself and unfortunately I didn’t get the sewing gene.

  19. Very interesting blog. I am 5’9” and I am going to try on some petite tops. I measured the length of my favorite tops and found that they were shorter than I expected. I am about to enter a new decade and maybe a different department at the store.

  20. You look so nice in your new tops! Good luck in your continued search. I am short wasted and have found petites work well for me. Happy 2023.

  21. Great post, Pam. I used to be 5’6” but after a hip replacement in my early 60s and now just “aging petitely”, I doubt that I am 5’4”. I am learning the hard way (shopping mistakes) that the petite tops look so much better, particularly at Talbots and Jjill. At Talbots last fall I bought two regular sweaters in small that just seemed to bag out. One I am donating and the other with the quarter zip I am using as a sweatshirt type of feeling. Geez. What is happening to brands that used to be only made with quality fabrics is really making me ponder my purchases. It seems hit or miss now. Often they look great but wear differently. I could have used both of those sweaters in petites I think. Thank you for introducing me to Ali Miles. I am very drawn to her but see black in her pieces, which I don’t wear. I notice some readers don’t order on line. I do because we are losing interesting stores. I try to stick to free shipping, free returns.
    When we travel, which has been cut back considerably, I always love looking at the one of a kind boutiques in order to pair something unique with my basics. Loving this phase of your shopping. Are you allowing yourself to drift out of your autumn palette at all?

  22. I just wish all retailers would include actual garment measurements online. I’m a petite, but I seldom buy petite sized clothes. I don’t know how you average and tall gals deal with all the cropped looks currently offered.

  23. No…my best colors are in my palette! I want to look my best everyday! Thanks Deborah!

  24. I was always just under 5’8″ but, due to hip and knee replacements and inevitable loss of height, I’m now 5’6″ and I, too, have discovered that some petite garments fit and look so much better on me. This was a recent revelation to me, and I’m sure that you’ve done a great service to a lot of ladies today be encouraging us to try petite sizes. Have a lovely day, Pamela! You are the best.

  25. Oh, yes, the loss of height! My last doctor’s appointment revealed I had lost half an inch somewhere, so am now just 5’8-1/2″. My torso is quite long, as are my arms, so petite sizing has never worked for me. I have been purchasing shorter inseam pants when available though, as I prefer to wear flats and tennis shoes for the well-being of my feet.

  26. Thanks for this reminder, Pam. Those of us that are taller have such an advantage….we can try petites if we want to, or regular sizes. I have done it a few times and should try it more often, though oddly enough, I feel like I’m cheating when I do! (I’ll get over that.). Tunics seem to be everywhere and that long length is not flattering for many of us, nor are sweaters that just hang and have no ribbing at the hem.

  27. Hi Pamela! Thanks so much for your blog. I enjoy it so much. I’m 5”2”, but I wear all different sizes! I have a long torso so find myself wearing regular sizes in blouses, sweaters and such. But my inseam is 26” so I’m in short pants. I have bought ladies capris and worn them as full length if they’re an unstructured pant. Dresses are near impossible. When crop tops came in to fashion everything fell directly under my large bosom. I’m still distressed! Oh well, I find fashion fun and my closet is full of many sizes!

  28. I have been wearing petites for a couple of years now after years of frustration finding the right fit. I would love to know where you got those beautiful bronze flats. I can’t find anything close. It’s not so much the color as the style that I love.

  29. Hi Trish…I have owned these Cole Hahn flats for years…found on a sale rack at Dillards. I have almost worn them out. If I ever see something like them, I will post about it. I love them!

  30. Great post. I am petite, but once in awhile I try on the XS in misses and the fit is better.

  31. With two retailers- J Jill abd Takbits I definitely need petite pants. They tend to run a bit long for me. (5 ft 3). In others I wear regular. Tops are pretty much the same – so I’m accustomed to trying on both regular and petite ( if they have petites in stock).
    You look so lovely Pam. Have a great weekend!

  32. Pam, what a novel and brilliant idea! I am exactly your height, 5‘9“ most of my adult life but shrinking to 5‘8“ due to some back problems in the past few years. My height tends to be in my torso, so I would never have thought of trying petites, but it’s a trick I’m going to add to my toolbox. In general, I am frustrated by the variety of sizing even within brands. Sometimes I’m a small or even rarely an extra small in J Jill, but other times a medium or even a large. I understand the concept of vanity sizing, but I’m more of a realist and just want to wear whatever fits. I’m going to broaden my search to the petite racks next time I’m in a store, and I appreciate the suggestion!

  33. At 5′ 8″ I have never considered trying petite sizing. Although, once I purchased a jacket in a petite size because I loved it so much and that was all that was available! I had to have it! And, it fit me just fine. I guess I just thought that was a fluke and never considered trying anything else. Hmmm…I will now rethink.

    After getting used to shopping from home during the pandemic (and beyond!) and having as much success as failure with fitting, I have declared to do MOST of my apparel shopping in the stores. (I need to get out more anyway! LOL)

    My biggest complaint about clothing sizing is why do designers think that the bigger the size the shorter the customer? I have an awful time finding pants that are long enough. Often tall lengths stop at 14! And, I live in a cold climate, so the popular ankle length pants are not very practical, although I adore the look.

    As always, thank you for sharing your discoveries and tips! I look forward to them!

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