WRITTEN BY: New Bella Petite contributor Fariha Alhassen

Fashion represents changing seasons.  We see trends and styles come and go like night and day.  A majority of us women, if not all, are entranced by the styles of the seasons.  We strive to fill our wardrobes with the “next best thing.”  It’s easy to admit that many of us want to be those models, walking down the ethereal runways wearing those exact same clothes that fill the fashion catalogues, but what stops the majority of women (who are 5’5” or less) from being a part of this industry?


It’s one of the many discriminatory practices that the modeling industry is guilty of, and it is specifically targeted towards petite women.

It’s hard to fathom why it is mandatory that models be 5’7” or taller.  Is it because beauty is defined by longer bones or elongated necks?  The amazon women have that part down.  What about the petite models that make up 70% and the majority?

It seems that the modeling industry has a few screws loose.  Those involved do not accurately portray any real life “everyday” people.


It is ridiculous that a height standard even exists in relation to the term “beauty.”   In researching the definition of beauty, the word commonly refers to an entity that is “in balance and in harmony with nature.”  Beauty is a subjective experience.  Recognizing this, the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” brings with it real meaning.  Not everyone views beauty in the same light, so why has the fashion industry created an image that is so static and so unrealistic, beyond recognition to most women?

Take for example, Devon Aoki, a known petite high-fashion model, that is 5’5” tall. Does the modeling industry really claim that people during a runway show would not be able to see her walk down the runway, because she is petite?

Flipping through endless magazines and catalogues, photographs of models’ true heights are barely discernible.  What we do see are cloned physical appearances and cold faces staring back at flashing lights while walking down the runway.  No personality and no uniqueness.  After a while, they all start to look the same and portray the same concept: tall, thin and fragile.  How can someone tell a model’s height without an accurate to life scale nearby?

A woman who is 5’4” can be dressed in clothes and stomp down a runway perfectly well, even with a 5’10” model next to her.  As seen in the ANTM  ‘Petites Vs. Amazon’ fashion show, in a distressing attempt to prove why petite models can’t compete!  Nevertheless, the petite models held there ground, in spite of the ANTM producers’ clearly demeaning intentions.



Kate Moss is the perfect model to be thrown into the mix. The British beauty is a bit under 5’6’’, and yet she is the highest paid model in the world!  How does that work? How can a group of individuals claim that unless you are 5’7’’ and above, there is no chance to make it into the modeling world? Beauty is justified in many contradictory ways when it comes to the modeling industry, but Kate Moss is one of the few that bends the rules backwards.

If models of 5’7’’ and higher are really used for “easier viewing” when strutting down the catwalk, than that theory has yet to be proven.  In fact, if this is the case, the height standard should be much taller, perhaps at 6’, with the average models at anywhere between 6’2”-6’3”.  Many models in the industry do not even remotely meet that criteria, as a majority of them are 5’9’’ and 5’10’’, which is not exactly at Amazon range either.  So, what are these models really classified as?  It’s not easy to say.

The reality that many women cannot have a modeling career because “they are too short,” represents real size discrimination.  We have seen movement rise up to fight weight discrimination in the industry, and now we see plus size models making an impact, but why haven’t the true majority had their voice heard yet?  It’s time to take a stand ladies, because petite women can (and should) model too!


The petite celebrities shown above walking the runway at the Heart Truth Fall 2010 Fashion Show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, are making a strong and beautiful case for petite runway models.

The list of participants included celebrity petites: Kristin Chenoweth, Kim Kardashian, Felicity Huffman, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joan Collins, Robin Roberts, Valerie Harper, Regina King and so many other famous petites.  It’s time to join the Bella Petite fashion movement!

America’s Next Top Model 13 Fashion Show “Model Heights”: 5’3″-5’7″


Get a fashion magazine you can identify with register now.  PETITE Women 5′5″ & under it’s time to join the petite women’s fashion movement.

Enter the Bella Petite Magazine Cover Girl and Editorial model search.

FREE subscription to Bella Petite Magazine. Get 20%-50% off Allison Izu, Fernanda Carneiro and My Sweet Petites clothing when you become a Bella Petite Member!


23 thoughts on “PETITE MODEL FASHION PROSPECTIVE [petite clothing]”

  1. This has certainly raised my awareness in the static standards of the modeling industry. I hope many people find this article just as eye opening, and strive to make a change so that all petites can have the opportunity to be a part of something huge!

  2. The clothes of a top designer are in no way average, are not trying to appeal to an average crowd and therefore need not be worn by the average person. As designers do the owners of these companies not have the right to put the people they designed the clothes for into them? Need I to start arguing that more high end designers put men into there women’s clothing too since men make up very nearly 50% of the US population?

    Surely a company like this would be more fitting for the average american to model for since they appeal to the average american instead of a very small group and lo and behold… there is a picture of a walmart advertisement with a short woman!

    1. Ms. Doe if you are implying a "petite model" is average in looks next to a "tall model" you are completely out of line. Tall models are only a preference of clothing designers due to the fact they are interested in women that have boyish long figures. Many guest clothing designers and photographers have appeared on the Bella Petite Hour radio show and confirmed this "preference.' For additional support regarding this arbitrary preference see this article on "Height and Professional Modeling"

      As as petite fashionable woman I am not "average by any stretch of the imagination" my clothing is high end and I have never shopped at Walmart! (But I do have to tailor everything I purchase.) I am sure you won't find any petite celebrities shopping at Walmart either. These same designers you refer too are begging to get these high style gorgeous petite celebrities in their lines. What I do resent is the fact that petite women command "TEN BILLION DOLLARS" in the retail industry. We are the largest segment of the industry by far. The continual practice of clothing designers arrogance in designing for a non-existent illusive female, that only represents 3% of US women deserve to go bankrupt. Petite women are fashionable and rule retail in buying power. We are not "average" in the derogatory manner you describe. For additional information go to

      Why should we petite women spend another dime on these arrogant designers who don't want the "average size" woman representing their clothing line on the runways? You are right "we average size petites "should not wear their garbage.

  3. Let us move on to the argument of what beauty is because the definition that was used seems very misled.

    According to the Oxford american dictionary beauty:

    "1 a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight : I was struck by her beauty | an area of outstanding natural beauty.
    – a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense.
    – [as adj.] denoting something intended to make a women more attractive : beauty products | beauty treatment.

    2 a beautiful or pleasing thing or person, in particular
    -a beautiful women
    -an excellent specimen or example of something : the fish was a beauty, around 14 lbs."

    according to the miriam webster:

    Pronunciation: ˈbyü-tē
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural beauties
    Etymology: Middle English beaute, bealte, from Anglo-French, from bel, beau beautiful, from Latin bellus pretty; akin to Latin bonus good — more at bounty
    Date: 14th century
    1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness
    2 : a beautiful person or thing; especially : a beautiful woman
    3 : a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality
    4 : a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance <that mistake was a beauty>"

    as defined by

    "beau·ty   [byoo-tee] Show IPA
    1. the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
    2. a beautiful person, esp. a woman.
    3. a beautiful thing, as a work of art or a building.
    4. Often, beauties. something that is beautiful in nature or in some natural or artificial environment.
    5. an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm: a vivid blue area that is the one real beauty of the painting.
    6. Informal. a particular advantage: One of the beauties of this medicine is the freedom from aftereffects.
    7. (usually used ironically) something extraordinary: My sunburn was a real beauty.
    8. something excellent of its kind: My old car was a beauty.

    beauty in accordance with princeton word net web:

    -the qualities that give pleasure to the senses
    -smasher: a very attractive or seductive looking woman
    -an outstanding example of its kind; "his roses were beauties"; "when I make a mistake it's a beaut" "

    The list gets dreary but it does make one very distinct point, no where is beauty defined as “in balance and in harmony with nature.” as our writer so eloquently but mistakenly puts it. In this instance I will continue with her next point of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I agree, most things are subjective, there is no true right or wrong, but again, doesn't the designer get some say in who is in the clothing? Since most people in the industry from the magazines to the designers to the high end boutiques seem to find this beautiful, doesn't that mean a majority of the "beholders" are doing just fine and don't want a thing changed? Protest personally all you want but don't expect the world to bow down for you.

    1. Okay "DOE," don't even get me started, lol! First of all, re: "Beauty" — the number one thing that stands out to "me" in your elaborate and desperate attempt to disqualify our contributing "Bella Petite" writer on her take of "beauty," is that the definition says: "a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses." "AESTHETIC SENSES," meaning whatever may appeal to an individual…not hard to understand, and definitely a RIDICULOUS arguement to make…a very sad attempt to draw attention away from the real issue being made here (will get to that below)…"being a "petite" model trying to make it in this industry, and the unfair disciminatory nature that goes along with it." Read slower and you might be able to stay on point, or actually make a valid one.

      Our writer, I believe, was trying to convey to our "petite" readers that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," and that beauty in reference to "in balance and in harmony with nature" means when we are well and feeling beautiful on the inside, it translates to the outside. We all know that when a woman feels crappy, whether she's drop-dead gorgeous (in the sense of what society considers "beautiful") she can look like HOLY HELL on the outside…and, vice versa the other way around. To make some contention out of the word "beauty," just because the writer wrote the truth and it didn't sit well with you, shows your lack of confidence and knowledge about the "fashion/designer" world, in the first place.

      Beauty goes way deeper than what we, as society thinks as a whole, perceive or believe it to be, or clearly, what we would like it to be — how do we each explain our senses to someone else? You cannot. Most can't figure out WHY they might find someone extremely attractive when their friend or colleague thinks otherwise…that's the "beauty" of our souls. "Beauty" is just another "word," waiting for multiple definitions to attach to itself after years and years of people making it into SOMETHING ELSE — it will transform, just like the word "Gay," or "sick," etc. Haven't you noticed now, like with ANTM, they (the fashion industry or like company) want models that are "ugly-pretty or ugly-beautiful?" Gone are the days of models who are what we now call "glamor models." How do you explain that one, and is it really worth it?

      Yes, the designers have a say…clearly! They've been "saying" for years and years…but then again, is it just because the stigma of "petite models" was told long ago and each designer just is born into that concept? Can, or are there any designers out there willing to STAND UP to the masses and say, "Um…DUH, marketing-wise, I'm going to mass produce to the MAJORITY of women (which are petite women) who may possibly wear my clothing because selling my clothes EQUALS money…EQUALS, opportunity to design MORE clothing." I'm sorry, but is it really that hard?

      Perhaps if this concept traveled further than the snooty-streets of "fashionhood" and the, "you're in the main, high-end, fashion designer crowd district," we would have a lot more PRODUCTIVE designers, more job opportunities and more beautiful petite women (remember, we make up over 70% of women in the world) able to wear beautiful, fashionable clothing — HEY, now that's an idea! <cough, cough>.

      God only knows how much talent has been thrown away because of the "idea" of what's right in the "industry," or what, "might people say if I step out of the box and normality," and the IDEA of how tall a model should be wearing these clothes!! It's freakin' ABSURD!

      Oh brother (or sista), we don't want anyone "bowing down" to us or anyone else for that matter (you know, as they do, now, to the AMAZON models in the industry…that's evident!), but you can BET we will "protest" personally and outwardly to all, all we want. At some point, SOME professionals, especially in this economy and world we live in, HAS to get a clue soon.

      Boy, I can't wait to read the rest of this blog!

  4. Next we move further down the article where we will see the other claim "Kate Moss the perfect model to be thrown into the mix. The British beauty is a bit under the whopping height of 5’6’’, and yet she is the highest paid model in the world! How does that work?" and yet when we follow the authers own link to Moss we discover that her profile clearly states Moss is 5'7" not the 5'5" our author wants us to believe.

    The article closes off with some very strange accusations about the industry saying they can't use short women because they can't be seen on the runway. I completely agree with the author that this isn't a legitimate argument, unfortunately I am afraid that the industry never made this argument seriously, making it a moot point the author brings up. Tall women will be more likely to have long legs, look proportionally skinnier drawing out a certain look that high fashion appreciates. If this is not you, don't take it personally. Everyone can't be in the olympics, everyone can't be a nuclear physicist, and we don't protest this, high fashion is the same, but it is going to be okay. The man or woman who wants to be an olympian may settle for a pick up game and the woman who wishes she could be Kate Moss can settle to feel beautiful in her own skin going out on a Saturday night with out a spot light on her.

    1. Actually, several of our sources prove Kate Moss is not 5'7" or 5'8" as the Storm agency promotes. For instance show Kate Moss at 5'5" Models and actresses are famous for lying about their true height. Most men and women are off by 2-6 inches when it comes to their true height. The entertainment and modeling industry is famous for this practice. One of our partners is celebrity Nia Peeples and she along with other industry sources have helped us debunk the "Truth About Height and Celebrities." You should take the time to read Bella Petite's articles before taking a stance you are not in position to know with certainty. is an inaccurate source on height. The links to IMDB are only meant to authenticate the identity and work of the star.

      Both male and female celebrities are not accurately representing their heights they are conditioned not too. Take Tom Cruise for instance he claims to be 5'10" when in fact he's 5'4". Celebrity height chart at

      Your are clearly misinterpreting the articles points. Obviously the author was being sarcastic in proving petite models like 5'5.5" Kate Moss and 5'5" Devon Aoki can walk the runways with the average looking 5'9" tall models. The sad case is clothing designer's "preference" is to utilize tall models while financially benefiting from the petite female consumer. If they don't want to adequately scale the clothing and use petite models we should not buy their clothing and that's my "preference and advice to petites."

    2. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes down to it Jane/John Doe, however. this is all based on the perspective "one" petite model. First and foremost, no one is accusing the industry that what they are doing is wrong, its simply biased, unfair, and not targeted towards the majority. As a matter of fact, its not likely that you will see short women, 5'5" and under walking the runways. I cannot recall any famous designer, having models shorter than 5'9" grace the runways. The day it happens is the day it will make headline news. It is a valid argument, because its quite evident to every person that ever watches a runway show the "Standard" models that are seen. If that's not believable, you can Youtube any runway show (Dior, Louis Vuitton, etc) of every famous designer, and I can guarantee you won't see petite models. And this is the argument, as to why Petite models for the most part, cannot do runway. If you are unfamiliar, to be a "professional runway model", THERE ARE HEIGHT STANDARDS. It's these standards that eliminate petite models all together. You can google that too. I see your point, where you say not everyone can be in the Olympics, but there are over achievers out there that CAN model, but cannot because of something simple as height? You're comparing skill, or a trait taught in school, to something like modeling. Not everyone can be a nuclear physicist true, because not everyone wants to be one, and not everyone has the learned skill. But, what if there are models that can walk the runways, and know how to pose and model, but can't because of height? This is the argument. No one is being bitter here, but the women who want to be a part of Bella Petite want to try to push for change, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are people who are going to criticize, and people who are going to take a chance. There is nothing wrong with taking that chance!

      Now for the definition of beauty, it is not misled. You are copy/pasting terms out of the dictionary, when beauty here is spoken on more broader sense. The article says "beauty is in balance and harmony with nature," this goes back to chinese sayings/proverbs, perhaps you can relate this to ying and yang. Everything in nature has its balance, whether its the sun or moon, hot or cold, female or male, there is always an opposite, and this brings balance. This is the same with beauty. Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder and subjective, beauty in itself is apart of everyone, and this is what the human eye is attractive too. However, this being the case, it is too ridiculous to go onto broad terms, when the article itself is relating beauty to something that balances nature, and is subjective. You do not have to make it more complicated. Oh, and there is such a definition. You may want to use a more common, mainstream encyclopedia:

      You do not have to attack, yet break down something that is an ongoing effort to change standard ways of the industry. Perhaps you are taller than 5'5", and feel that this is threatening you? In fact, its not. We see plus size models doing more or less what 5'9" models are doing. Why can't petites do this? They are by far not average, as each individual is unique in her own way-so I will ignore this uneducated remark. What Bella Petite is trying to promote is a uniqueness that each girl brings, not a standardized look. And if you are not ok with this, than maybe you are searching in the wrong place to start an argument.

      No one is looking to argue, as this is ONE PERSONS feelings and expressions in the industry, which is completely valid to have. And if your not okay with it, then get out of the kitchen. It's as simple as that.

      No hard feelings.

    3. I've just proceeded in reading the rest of the blog — good points Bellapetite and Fariha! My simple question to you Jane/John, or whoever you think you might be today…who are you? You're trying to sound like you know something as fact, why not show yourself, or your name at least? I never did understand people who blog, what sounds like a passion or something that they know as fact, but then shy away from backing it all up with "who they are?" If I advocate for something or someone, you damn straight better know that I will let YOU know, and the world know, who I am, what I stand for, and more than likely, a lot more CHIT than you want to know!

      Bella Petite has taken a stand in something they believe in, something that associates to OVER the majority of women in the world — now that is something HUGE and NOT a moot point. Most women, especially young women, and women not familiar with fashion or industry standards, are conditioned to just "accept" the clothing that is being offered in stores. There are a lot of women out there that don't even know they are considered "petite" by industry standards. It's great that Bella Petite, and Ann Lauren are trying to change something that discriminates against the majority of women — I applaud BELLA PETITE!!

      I concur with bellapetite in the FACT that a lot of celebrities (and just regular people in general) fudge their height…just like AGE. Since writing for Bella Petite, I've found this out on many, many occasions.

      Question? Why do you claim the author is making "accusations" instead of fact? What proof you have? Are you an expert in this field, just asking, and if so…enlighten us? Bellapetite minds want to know! Where is your source that says the "industry never made a legitimate argument" about petite women being too short on the runway?

      The "tall women having longer leg" thing is inaccurate too, to a degree. A petite woman can have long legs too, but a short torso, thus, rendering her a "Petite woman." A tall woman can have the same length leg of a petite woman, but a long torso and neck, thus rendering HER an "amazon." So, really not a good argument there.

      If you want to talk "proportions," well…look up one of my articles — it's a known scientific, evolutionary FACT that men prefer "hour-glass" figures…so don't go there either! As far as appearing "skinnier," that can be done WITH clothing, with makeup, with props…all sorts of things, again…not a good bullet point. Designers and any other money-making business should think along the lines of the "masses," at least that's what my common-sense tells me. Again, "production," and good marketing skills and sense, equals money (thus, keeping you in the position you clawed your way to in the first place).

      Your "Olympic" analogy — HUH? Ugh, I get so bored with simple-simon terminologies! Dig deeper, come up with something of actual comparison or equivalence. At least in the "Olympics" (even special Olympics) one can TRY…but with runway modeling, you're squashed from the get go if you don't meet the height requirement…regardless of how absolutely BEAUTIFUL you might be, or UGLY-BEAUTIFUL you might be!

      THINK of how many women, who were designed to be "modeling," and to perhaps break the stereotypical mold of what a "runway model" should be (but didn't have the "balls" (with all due respect) or the know-how, or the backing (since models are usually young), or the thick-skin to stand up against the industry, as Ann Lauren has) have been discouraged from square one, pushed aside or looked over? It's terrible.

    4. Part TWO to my response to JANE/JOHN DOE — I KNEW I wanted to be a "writer" and a "photographer" (as well as many other things), but as we know, life sometimes gets in the way…but that doesn't steal away the FEELING and/or desire that I have to be one. Thanks to Bellapetite, and my own persistence and stubbornness, and NOT listening to the people who say, "Oh, you're already in your 40's, you can't start a career now," I am fulfilling one of MY wants and desires, and KNOWING it was meant to be!

      I think there are MORE "protests" out there than can be imagined, especially with the internet; your theory of no "protests" for people who WANT to be a "nuclear physicist" is unfounded — there are TONS of people who protest against government who can't get FUNDING to go to college — how do you know these people weren't designed to be Nuclear Physicists? Again, a very uneducated guess on your part.

      I'm a mother of two amazing children, including a child with type-1 diabetes. I've taught them, since day one, NOT to ever "settle," and to never take "NO" for an answer when it has to do with their dreams, wants and desires — you may be fine with "settling" at a level that is not cohesive with the inner YOU, your "authentic self"…but I'm sure in the hell not, and I don't think bellapetite would ever just "settle" for less either. You know, it's really sad to hear from someone, like you, something like this — to just "settle." How awful! Can you imagine if Thomas Edison just SETTLED at the first try at his invention? Clearly, we wouldn't have light if he had.

      PS — I LOVE and adore the "spot-light" on me, especially on a Saturday night — and that's whether I feel beautiful in my own skin or not…now that's SCARY!! hehe!

      PSS – Fariha, great article! Bella Petite — GREAT RESPONSE!

        1. Well kids, jokes on you, I am a 6’2 male; while rereading this my 5’5 (petite) girlfriend and i have been laughing and rolling on the ground over the horrible logic, lack of understanding of the burden of proof, quotes for no reason, brackets inside brackets, ellipses and internet slang.

          P.S. your clothing isn’t mostly tailored.

          1. Entertaining commentary! FYI: Most of my petite “fit” girl friends including myself must tailor majority of the items in our wardrobe to fit correctly. If you are 5’5″ you likely have better luck with fit…

      1. Maybe some other person would have invented a way to make light.
        You don't look 40 at all.
        I wish I had a mother like you 🙂
        Just some things I wanted to say!

  5. Pingback: Bella Petite | Hollywood News Flash
  6. Fariha, Great article and loved the "no hard feelings comment" the best. Agree with your perspectives on the industry and geeeeez share the love people! Cheers! Oh… and the first time I read it on your page it did not have the utubes….great addition sister.

  7. My cousin recommended and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work! Really interesting that models are to be tall. No good reason for this!

  8. Pingback: A PETITE FASHION MODEL PROSPECTIVE – Bella Petite – Fashion and … |
  9. I adored this article and loved the way you touched base that petite models are as good as the amazon women! Though I'd just like to make a point that in a study based on beauty it was proven that beauty was held in three points creating a triangle, this triangle perfectly coincides with the points of a person's full smile. So, in all technicality, every one is beautiful. 🙂 Rail thin, tall, plus sized, and those perfectly voluptuous Victoria's Secret bodies have all had their days.. I say it's time for us just-as-beautiful petite women to have our turn!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.