Sunday, March 16, 2008

What does 'petite' mean to you?

I've visited a bunch of other sites and blogs recently that are dedicated to petites. What I have noticed is that 'petite' can mean a host of things but I think the biggest thing we 'petites' face is this question — does petite mean short, thin or both?

The Free Online Dictionary defines petite as small, slender, and trim. Used of a girl or woman (when used as an adjective for all you grammar junkies out there!) Or a clothing size for short slender women (for use as a noun.)

This definition (found here) says in fashion and clothing, petite sizes are standard clothing sizes designed to fit women of shorter height, typically 5'3" or less. According to the U.S. Census, 60% of American women are under 5’5” and I would think that this means many of these fall into the petite category. (that's surprising considering the lack of space that is dedicated to us in stores.)

So, I think we can all agree that Nicole Richie is petite (5'1").

But what about Jennifer Love Hewitt (5'2")— is she petite? (I am in no way saying that this girl is fat, but she is a few sizes bigger than Nicole.)

So, you guys tell me. What is your definition of petite? Is it defined by size, height or both?


CynthiaC said...

Petite is height, as many clothing people will tell you. You can be a size 24 (and I don't mean waist sizes) and still be petite if you're shorter than 5'4". However, many people in the general public will think otherwise. They often think petite means slim (smaller than a size 6), period. I recall Oprah calling Kirsten Dunst "petite". Kirsten's height ranges from 5'5" to 5'7" (though her real height could be more like 5'4", but we're going for her public height here). Average in most people's eyes.

Petite girl said...

I agree. It's interesting that most dictionaries I checked out define it related to weight as well. We need to lobby them to chance that!