WHAT DEFINES A PETITE WOMAN? Height, Weight or both?

By on December 27, 2009


According to the fashion industry Petite is defined as 5′5″ inches tall and under. In the United States petite women represent 70% of the female population. There are approximately a hundred million petite fit and petite plus size women domestically. (USA Petite Model winners featured to the left.)

The petite female market has a compound annual growth rate of 8.6 percent annually. These women represent ten billion dollars of buying power in the retail industry.


In the international marketplace there are approximately six hundred million petite women. Petite women’s retail buying power is tens of billions of dollars! The available statistical data confirms what we already know, petite women have the greatest buying power and are the majority globally. Yet, this market niche is untapped.


Unfortunately, petite women are aware of the minimal representation, which contributes to negative images of their size, beauty and intelligence. This starts with the media, modeling industry and clothing designers catering to a market representing only a mere ” three percent of women at 5′9″ and above here in the United States.” The look constantly promoted as the image of beauty and fashion is tall and slender. This is undeniably wrong and we have standouts like beatiful 5’1″ Eva Longoria and to the right we have gorgeous 4’10” Kristen Chenoweth.


Fashion magazines exclusively feature tall women, leading us to believe we live in a world with only amazon women. The majority of petite clothing designers don’t even utilize petite models. Most mainstream modeling agencies, beauty pageants and televised model searches will not represent or allow true petite women to compete. In fact, many agents lie about models and celebrities height. For instance Victoria Beckham is 5’2″, not 5’6 as Elle magazine stated.

Reality check: Petite women are the majority and the mainstream media needs to recognize that most celebrities are petite.

It’s a fact, petite women dominate the entertainment industry. Petite clothing designers and retailers need to utilize petite models to effectively promote clothing lines to their consumer market and increase profits. Petite women are tired of the lack of true petite sizing, zero representation on the runways and fashion magazines! Few petite models in the business.

See in-depth analysis at Newmodels.com


Bob Mackie, world renowned fashion designer to the stars for over 40 years, states that he has spent his career dressing famous women. He recounts that most of the leading ladies in Hollywood throughout the years are in fact petites. This list includes: 5’2″ Liz Taylor, 4’10” Rita Hayworth, 4’10″Veronica Lake, Gloria Swanson, Judy Garland, Bo Derek, 5’2″ Raquel Welch, Cher, Winona Ryder, Megan Fox, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek, Rachel Weiz, Victoria Beckahm, Madonna the list goes on.

Fun movie trivia: In the old days Allan Ladd was so short, standing at only 5’2″, that his leading ladies often had to stand in a ditch while filming scenes next to him. As you can see, it was important to have gorgeous, petite screen goddesses like 4’10” Veronica Lake! To this day most leading men in film are short and need petite leading ladies to enhance their small stature.

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  1. Jane

    December 28, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Great article! It's about time someones starts pointing out the fact petites RULE!! Keep up the great work BELLA PETITE.

    • Julia

      March 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

      Yeah I think this article gives us petites a voice!

      We are georgious!
      We look REALLY sexy.
      we’ve got attitude, passion and we look healthier.

      we are multi faceted!
      We are Fashion!

  2. Cynthia

    December 29, 2009 at 2:19 am

    How short are most male celebs? Like 5'7" short or shorter? Is Tom Cruise really 5'7" or is he shorter, you think?

    • bellapetite

      December 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm

      Majority of male celebrities are 5’9″ and under. After attending and meeting Tom Cruise at a Los Angeles SAG screening for the premiere of “The Last Samurai” with Tom Cruise and the production staff on the film. I believe Tom Cruise is no taller than 5’6″ and that’s being generous. As we’ve discovered most celebrities and models lie by two-six inches when it comes to height.

  3. Rick

    January 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I’m 6’5″, and I have always–always–been attracted to petite women, particularly on the very petite end. My first girlfriend was Japanese-American and was one of the shortest girls in 7th grade, I dated a volleyball player who happened to be 4’10” in high school…and my wife is five foot even and ninety-six pounds. I have never, ever, been attracted to taller women. And yet, as a basketball player in junior high and high school, I was constantly asked and fairly expected to date tall girls. Sorry.

    There is something intrinsically beautiful about petite women. A feminine allure–and it has nothing to do with weakness, or overpowering a woman by my size. In my opinion, petite women pack the same attractiveness and sex appeal of an average woman into their smaller frame, thus resulting in a higher density of attractiveness, so to speak 😉

    When looking at the ridiculous standards of the ‘tall woman’ dominated spheres of modelling and clothing, one can see it is all a fraud, a system designed to make the majority of women–petite women–feel inadequate and somehow ‘wrong’. Nothing could be farther from truth. From past to present, petite women have shined as exemplars of femininity. Some of today’s very talented, intelligent, and beautiful actresses who define and stand as examples of petite women include Hayden Panettiere, Ellen Page, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Elisha Cuthbert, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ellen Page, Salma Hayek, Christina Ricci, Natalie Portman, Lucy Liu, Mila Kunis, Amanda Seyfried, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen Page, Ashley Greene, Megan Fox, Alison Lohman, Lady Gaga, Isla Fischer, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Ellen Page. I suppose I’ve tipped my hand here a bit in revealing which actress resembles my wife the closest, but all of these women have enjoyed at least moderate success in their careers, and most much more than that. I can’t claim that being petite is their raison d’etre for theirs success, but with the sheer number of them, you have to wonder why so many successful actresses are petite.

    It’s simple…there are just MORE of them.

    And they’re beautiful. Like my wife. And Ellen Page.

    • Rose

      February 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Hey thanks that really makes me feel a lot better about myself because this past semester in high school people have been making me feel bad about being petite, they would tell me its a bad body and it make me feel like being petite is a crime or something it would just make me ball into tears and hate myself but thanks a lot I really appreciate that comment you put 🙂


        October 7, 2015 at 10:33 pm

        I’m 57 and I’ve been 5’2″ all my life, and it makes me sad to hear you say that. Petite women can get away with a lot more than tall gangly women! We can wear outrageous clothes and still look cool, where a tall woman would look ridiculous. Not to mention that no matter how tall a guy is, there are just certain things they can’t do in bed with a tall girl. You should be proud and stand tall for being small!!! All of my boyfriends have been extremely tall and all of them said they are more attracted to small women.it may be they feel they like protecting us as taller women don’t need the protection or don’t want it. I could go on and on and on. I say take charge of your big life and stand proud to be small!


        October 7, 2015 at 10:38 pm

        I’m 57 and I’ve been 5’2″ all my life, and it makes me sad to hear you say that. Petite women can get away with a lot more than tall women! We can wear outrageous clothes and still look cool, where a tall woman would look ridiculous. Not to mention that no matter how tall a guy is, there are just certain things they can’t do in bed with a tall girl. You should be proud and stand tall for being small!!! All of my boyfriends have been extremely tall and all of them said they are more attracted to small women.it may be they feel they like protecting us as taller women don’t need the protection or don’t want it. I could go on and on and on. I say take charge of your big life and stand proud to be small!

    • ling quan

      September 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      I loved this comment..im 5’2 95 pounds & have a few kids and i’m always getting criticized for my size & it really hurts my feelings but i’m so blessed to have my amazing boyfriend because he loves my size and he’s always telling me..i just wish other girls would feel comfortable in their own skin to the can leave the petite’s alone

  4. Malaika

    May 30, 2012 at 3:14 am

    i totally agree with what Rick said. i am a Cameroonian i’m 1.54 and i’ve never felt it’s a problem to me cos i’ve never dated a guy less than 1.70 all my life.

  5. karma

    September 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I just wanna thank you for saying those encouraging words …. i have been battling crohns disease and i. Have lost a lot of weight and been under the most depression i never thought i could see the light of day. Ivwent from a size 7 to a size 1….. you have Changed my world and i thank you for making me
    Feel beautiful. I have a fiance and many family who tells me not to worry and i need to be confident but it can be difficult.Sometimes its hard when i hear ppl say girl u need to eat something but im slowly gaining my strength through the LORD… IM STILL HERE 😀 I just wanna thank u…. i think im ready for the new me God bless yalll #LIGHTSCAMERAACTION @THEKARMABFLAME ==> http://vimeo.com/m/38543022 i pray u like it its the new me

  6. rafiat

    February 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Rachel Weisz and Jeniffer Connelly are not petite. Weisz is about 5’6 or 5’7 and so is Jeniffer Connelly.

    • bellapetite

      February 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Actually, since I have personally met Rachel Weisz at the BAFTA awards she is no taller than 5’5″. Regarding Jennifer Connolly our sources tell us she too is approx 5’5″ tall. Internet sources like IMDB are off by 2-4 inches when it comes to height, likely because agents and PR reps exaggerate.

      • Sarah

        February 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        I’ve always heard and read on several sites that petite was 5’4″ and under? This is the first time I’ve ever heard of 5’5″ being considered petite. Why 5’5″ and under?

        • bellapetite

          February 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

          Hi Sarah: The information was provided within this post. Here is information about our industry expertise and experience. http://bellapetite.com/about
          Also, many clothing designers view petite as 5’6″ and under and within the modeling industry they see petite as 5’7″ and under. Most petite sized clothing can be worn by women 5’5″ and under. As a result, of these variables we have set the industry standard accordingly with our publication. We hope this information helps to answer your inquiry. Thank you 🙂

  7. Rose

    February 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    You’re awesome

    • Aliyah Evans

      December 11, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      I was told 5’7 and up are tall for a woman. 5’6-5’4 is medium height and 5’3 and under is short. Im the shortest of my 5 sisters. But we are all beautiful! Im 5’1 and 130 1bs. When people say: Wow you are short. I say: Its okay, Good Things Come in Small Packages! They either get quiet or Laugh! I prefer to be called Petite. Yes being 5’3 or 5’4 would be nice, but I accept my height, embrace it with Joy, and be Happy with it! Beauty is all heights, whether you are 4’11 or 5’11. Love Your Height! Love Yourself!

  8. Monica

    September 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I’m 5’9 1/2 and it sucks, its so hard to get clothes to fit me. I’m a very long legged girl, they always make to short, or long but big in the waist. Skinny jeans and a few other brands cater to girls like me that don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes.

    • bellapetite

      September 23, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Monica, we feel your pain! It seems fashion designers need to do a better job for consumers. We hope that you continue to enjoy our articles and experts covering a myriad of important issues for all women! Thanks for reading Bella Petite!

  9. Johnny

    November 26, 2013 at 2:40 am

    I am a male 60 and 5/4 I am dating a tall women who is 5/9
    and only 43 she is lots stronger then me too

  10. dw

    January 13, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Sorry but Im gonna side with the earlier poster. Petite is at least 5’4″ and under and frankly, i always heard 5’3″. If the majority of women were petite, petite would cease to exist. We are a deviation.And my crew (those under 5’1′) are definitely an anomaly.

    So as much as I support petite pride, I will not be welcoming in any 5’5″ chicks lol stay away tallie!!! Lol

    • d d zombie

      January 24, 2015 at 6:38 am

      I’m 5.11 slender and fit, and I feel I NEVER look good next to today’s BIG women and I feel ZERO attraction to them. Women that are slender 4’10-5’1″ ROCK THE WORLD 😉

    • Seki

      July 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Luv BellaPetite this magazine is really inspiring for me!

    • Faith

      November 8, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      If you think 5’5 is tall then you must be very short. Girls who are 5’5 are just making it from not being short, they are not even considered almost tall they’re just barely making it 🙂

      • Aliyah

        December 11, 2017 at 11:07 pm

        I was told 5’7 and up is tall for a woman. 5’6-5’3 is medium and 5’2 and under is short. So 5’2 -4″11 is short!Im 5’1 the shortest of my 5 sisters but Im okay with it. I’d rather be called Petite!’I weigh about 130. Sometimes people stand next to me and say: wow you are short! I just say: Good things come in small packages then laugh! They either stop talking about it or laugh. I have never had a Man say you are so short! Only women haters, and I hate to say it bit most of them are a little taller but super heavy and not that attractive! People should say nice things to people no matter if they are short medium or tall.Accept your height, embrace it and be happy!

    • Nita

      February 10, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      I’m 5’5.5. I usually tell people I am 5’6.

      When I was slim and fit I was frequently told that I was petite. But now that I am older and 50lbs overweight I am considered a big girl. 5’5 is that half way mark and depending on the weight and length of torso/legs we can be petite or average. It’s at the end of petite beginning average height.

      I am working on losing the weight because my frame has suffered leg and back aches. So open that door hun, this tallie petite is making a comeback.

  11. Devin

    January 30, 2015 at 6:29 am

    I’ve noticed that with modeling, whether it be fashion, retail, or whatever…the “true” petite standard of 5’4 (I say this as I’ve noticed most of the general population on these forums agree this should be the cut off for petite modeling…) and the high fashion modeling size of no shorter than 5’7 doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity for those of us who fall awkwardly in the middle. I am a “tall” 5’5, meaning I’m kind of 5’5 and a half and appear taller than I am due to my lengthy legs. I love my body. I weigh 115, I tone train every week and look great (aka healthy!) HOWEVER, I have been told multiple times that I’m either too short or too tall. Like you, d d zombie, who tosses us out just like the tall industry does. I just want to say that being in the middle can be hard when you realize you aren’t tall enough to do what you really want but too tall for the fall back. Guess I better not quit my day job…

  12. David

    February 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I am 6′-2″, 200#, and I almost always seem to end up with super-petite gfs. My current one is 5′-1″, 87#, and she looks great. I think petite slim girls can be that much more feminine. I dated a beautiful slim girl who was 5′-9″ and it just didn’t seem like what I’m used to. So for sure please don’t feel bad about being petite. I think it’s simply killer. Just my $02.

  13. dyn

    May 5, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    i jst hate being petite…5’2 nd vry vry skinny.dnt lik it

  14. Kathy

    August 28, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I am 5’0″ i add an inch when people ask how “short” i am. I went from one of the taller girls playing post in basketball thru the 5th grade…in 6th grade EVERYONE was all the sudden taller than me and i was repositioned as point in basketball..that was my last year playing all tho i was teased by many saying they couldn’t play anymore because i took their basketball and it was attached to my a☆☆. So 5 ft tall size 5 foot small hands big butt that required a size 5 pants. I have heard all the short jokes and puns. The most embarrassing hurtful thing I can remember is when Yahoo messenger came out (i was in my early 20s) and you could post your profile pic… I was in a chat room man my ego was so inflated! So many guys would compliment me in the chat room…another young girl all the sudden posted “YEAH GUYS I BET SHES ONLY 5FT TALL! OMG!!! how rude!!! It stung! my face turned red my ears burned..it was like she stabbed me right in the heart! I said nothing. I read a few comments some people bashed her for being awful others joined in.. I left that chatroom never to return.. I added my true height that day that way that never happened to me again. From that moment on I felt I didn’t deserve a “hot guy” that they would never be attracted to me. I am now 39 years old my kids are almost grown my oldest boy is 5’4″ middle boy is 5’6″ and my daughter is 5’0″. My oldest son has such self esteem issues even tho he is a very good looking man (not just my opinion lol) my middle son feels he has always had to prove he is tough getting into fights often. My daughter….well..she has it about the same as i did/do. Pants in popular stores always too long, big in the belly and tight on the butt and thighs. Hardly a selection of “short” legnth pants and yes she got my booty and less than average sized boobs. I have known no one shorter than us other than my great grandma a whopping 4’8″ RIP grandma love and miss you bunches. My husband is 6’0″ I love that he can pick me up with ease but dont enjoy my eye level is right below his armpit. I love modern vehicles that the seats lift strait up so I can see the road as an average sized person does. I have a thing for big trucks and suvs. I like.. no…. need to feel like i am as big or bigger than most vehicles on the road for security purposes. I’m not sure what my reason was for writing this comment other than it is the first time in my life i have ever talked freely about my and my kids height. We all have our insecurities most others dont see us the way we see ourselves. I am not lucky enough to be short AND a size zero and but I am blessed in so many other ways. It seems to me each generation is getting shorter but that could just be the way i see the world now. Thanks for reading if you hung in there that long lol..please excuse any and all grammar and spelling issues. I had a small procedure today and the general anaesthetic and pain meds has not worn off yet and i simply didnt feel like trying very hard. ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  15. Morgan

    February 27, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    I’m 5’7 and still in high school. It’s hard to be taller than the average guy, or at least many of the guys I have met or have been interested in. Yes, my height limits how many boys may be interested in me. I am fairly thin being only 105 lbs, and I’m extremely athletic when it comes to Track or Cross Country, but because of my height, these positives seem to be over looked. I understand how petite woman must feel, but I’m slightly insulted because I have never been told I’m attractive, intelligent, or sexy. I honestly feel as though this is slightly derogatory towards females of a taller stature, there’s nothing wrong with being tall and skinny. Just because I’m tall dowsnt mean I shouldn’t be considered attractive.

    • bellapetite

      February 29, 2016 at 4:05 am

      Hi Morgan, we appreciate your interest in Bella Petite. We agree with your point. And in no way we are we implying that tall women are not beautiful. The Bella Petite Fashion initiative advocates the use of petite models, and a greater selection of clothing for us. This starts with the media, modeling industry and clothing designers catering to a market representing only a mere ” three percent of women at 5′9″ and above here in the United States.” The look constantly promoted as the image of beauty and fashion is tall and slender. This is undeniably wrong and we have standouts like beautiful 5’1″ Eva Longoria and to the right we have gorgeous 4’10” Kristen Chenoweth.

  16. Sonya Anew

    April 29, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Well, I feel compelled to write as a woman who is about 5’8. I noticed a few people wrote some berating remarks about taller women and how they aren’t really all that.
    While I think it is great to acknowledge that beauty doesn’t come in a certain height range, I don’t think we should deny the unique beauty of taller women who have long necks and long legs.
    I’m glad there is an acknowledgement here of an underrepresented group of women in the fashion industry.
    It is totally okay not to be a certain height or a certain size. How about we all just accept that beauty can be very unique?
    I don’t need to be any shorter or smaller to be beautiful. Neither does a woman who is shorter and smaller than me need to be taller or more voluptuous or more whatever.
    As to the men who commented on what they like, all I have to say is, “Like whatever you like.” If you like that 5’1 girl in the room, then don’t feel pressured into believing you need some statuesque Vogue model by your side. If you like that 6 foot gal with her lovely long legs and want to make some tall children, then go for that and don’t feel awkward if she is almost as tall as you are.

    • bellapetite

      April 30, 2016 at 5:12 am

      Hi, Sonya: Nicely said and we totally agree with your points. Bella Petite embraces all women and we strive to be a source of inspiration and empowerment for you. We are all unique and that is beautiful. Bella Petite Magazine’s fashion initiative is about breaking stereotypes when it comes to; height, age, body style, and ethnicity. Thank you for your comment! We look forward to hearing your thoughts. As we are here to be supportive for all women. Good day!

    • Kathy Banister

      May 2, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      I totally agree with you. I’m almost 5’9 and always feel like a giant around other women. It’s good that they are representing the short women, but people need to give the tall women a break. Let’s face it, the short women have it easier. Most women in the world are 5’5 and under. They don’t get made fun of as much as the taller women, and it seems like most men like to date shorter women. Clothes fit them better too. I have always wished that I could be shorter. Also, people need to think about the fact that most tall women don’t fit the beauty standards of models. Models need to be at an unhealthy weight to be able to model. For you tall girls who are offended by this article, I know your struggle. Also, if anyone asks you “How’s the weather up there?” Reply “Too hot for you.”

    • lexy

      March 30, 2017 at 3:23 am

      Go to website that is for tall women then! we don’t need you here!

  17. Mercury

    December 2, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Hah! Try being 4″10!! I constantly feel like I’m surrounded by giants! Not in a mean way, but you kind of feel that way when your constantly looking up at a person. I kind of feel bad for my mum since she’s 4″8. Also though I feel this way I also kind of love it too! I would never change the way I am!

  18. Layla

    March 7, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Best magazine on the internet!

  19. Maci

    April 3, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Great magazine read it everyday!

  20. Michelle

    July 7, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    I’m 5ft1 182 and my family would always tease me because I’m short I’m probably one of the shortest person in my family! I hated when they tease me for being short!

    But i don’t feel bad for being short i just hate being teased just because I’m short!

  21. Michael

    July 20, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Most the girls you show are petite, yes skinny, and petite, I like it!

  22. Michael

    July 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Great magazine good work BellaPetite!

  23. Michael

    July 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Most the girls you show are not petite, yes skinny, but not petite.

  24. Lottie

    August 28, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Average female height is 5ft5. Petite is 5ft3 or under. Tall is 5ft7 or over.

  25. Diva

    October 23, 2017 at 3:26 am

    Nice article, I just like to say that it’s not about height or size it’s all about talent which takes them up.

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