Personally, I think that purchasing a new coat (or two or three) is one of the most exciting things about Winter. A simple piece of outerwear can make a really big statement so getting it right is a must.
Unfortunately for petites, high street coats can often be a bit ill-fitting, not catering for narrow shoulders, short arms, and little torsos. And don’t even get me started on buying online- it’s always a disappointment when said garment finally arrives and the reams of excess material leave you looking like a frustrated 5-year-old. Of course, petite ranges can be a bit of a godsend when it comes to getting the right fit but, more often than not, the fashionability just isn’t there.
This is why I’ve done the legwork for you and rated the fit and quality of a whole bunch of coats. Some from petite ranges, some from standard ranges and even a few oversized items!
AND remember, having a smaller frame shouldn’t limit your choices. Many style guides will tell you that petites should stick to peacoats and waist-cinching styles only, but at Offbeat Petite, being basic isn’t an option.
My coat rating criteria:
Just to ensure the experiment is completely unbiased, the following points system has been put in place. Each coat can score a maximum of 5 points; here’s a breakdown of the scoring system:
- 1 point for arm fit
- 1 point for shoulder/back fit
- 1 point for flattering length
- 1 point for quality
- 1 point for overall fashionability
Yes, I take this VERY seriously.
FYI my proportions are:
- Size 6-8/XS-S (all coats tested were in these sizes)
- 5 ft 2
- Narrow shoulders
- Short legs
Casual Coats (Puffers/parkas)
For me, the XS cobalt blue parka from Bershka has it all. It’s on trend, fits to flatter and is thick enough to get you through the colder months. Massive thumbs up.
Though the vibrant red puffa from UO was slightly chunky, this only added to its charm. Surprisingly, rather than having a dwarfing effect it actually looked quite cool. It just lost 1 point for being a bit too long on the arms. FYI this one was a Small.
The white lightweight puffa from Mango (XS-S, standard range sale piece) was another great find- considering it wasn’t from a petite range, it fits like a glove. However, it did lose 1 point for the slightly unflattering length; due to its padded material and cropped style, it kinda made me look like a human snowball. A final point lost due to the quality not being on par with the others; particularly when it came to heat insulation.
This fourth and final pastel blue Miss Selfridge number is the most fitted of all and definitely flatters the waist best. Despite this, the length and straight cut of the hem means that it cuts the body in half- highlighting the shortness of the leg. It would be ideal if it came up a tad shorter as it’s a perfect fit on the back and arms. I removed an additional point for fashionability, just because the shape and colour aren’t hugely en vogue right now.
Topshop has pulled it out the bag with this camel teddy coat (£65). Though you don’t always have to follow the rules, it’s no secret that one of the most flattering lengths for a petite coat to fall is mid-thigh. This coat was a size 6 from their standard range.
In joint first place comes this new season beauty from Mango (£79.99). For a statement faux it’s seriously lightweight which is fab news for those of a more diminutive disposition. Again, it’s from the main range but the fit of an XS-S was perfect.
Next comes this XS orange number available at UO. Everything about this coat is glorious except for the super wide shoulders. If you have broad shoulders but are otherwise petite, it’s likely to be a great fit but if not you’ll be giving this infamous Gemma Collins’ look a run for its money. Loving the cropped length though and paired with some high waisted Levi’s this could look super cool.
Usually I have nothing but love for Bershka, but unfortunately, this beautifully blue faux fur just didn’t cut the mustard. On the hanger it looked incredible but it turns out that it was just way too big for somebody of smaller proportions and the collar shape isn’t great for elongating the torso. It’s also worth noting that this particular coat was a Small as there were no XS’s in store. (It’s also a limited in-store only piece).
Scoring 4/5, this size 8 piece from Topshop’s petite range was stylish, chic and snug. It is also single breasted which really is more flattering on a petite frame. The coat’s only downfall is the quality. For a coat priced at £70, one would expect something a lot thicker and warmer- especially in the winter months.
This supposed ‘midi’ coat from Urban Outfitters (£149) is on fleek in terms of fashionability, quality and length. But this is where the positives end. Despite me trying on an XS, the fit on the arms, shoulders and back was terrible. It definitely would have given the Olsen twins a run for their money.
H&Ms long line navy number (size 8) looked v chic in the window but was a different story when I tried it on. Nice length and style but dodgy fit. A size 6 would probably have done me more favours but wasn’t available in store.
Though Miss Selfridge’s petite range is somewhat limited, this size 8 black boyfriend coat is pretty decent in terms of fit. Great length too! It just loses a point for quality, where it’s very lightweight for the price and another point for fashionability, where the style didn’t blow me away. That said, we all need a few basic staples in our wardrobe.
River Island really pulled it out the bag with this amber article (size 6, standard range). The cropped cut gave it a perfect fit on the back and shoulders and the arms weren’t too long either- HURRAH! It’s also just a great statement jacket for Winter and Spring, even making gym gear look glam.
Scoring 4/5, this XS red devil from Bershka is hardly a loser. It looked amazing on and the quality couldn’t have been better for the price, but it lost a point for having a slightly unflattering length.
The second 4/5 was another Topshop jacket (size 8, standard range). It was lovely in so many ways and almost scored full marks but just missed out due to the arms being a tad too long.
Oh dear, this XS aviator from Mango (XS-S, standard range sale piece) had so much potential on the hanger. It’s beautifully crafted, super snuggly and just screams luxury (no surprise at £399.99) but unfortunately, it was disappointingly huge.
So there you have it, my selection of the most suitable winter coats for petites on the high street.
What did I learn? Firstly, a good quality smart coat is pretty hard to come by if you’re short. Secondly, you really don’t have to stick solely to petite ranges to find something that fits. And finally, if a coat is stylish enough, it can sometimes break the rules but more often than not you should follow the basic pointers- especially if you’re an avid online shopper!
I hope you’ve been inspired! Check out the rest of the site for more petite insights.