Review: Petite Suiting Under $500 – Theory sz 00

This is my last post in the petite-friendly suiting series. I rushed to put this up today, because there are a few sales on Theory this weekend – rare! The most classic suit from this brand retails for over $620 (jacket + pants), but this weekend you can grab it for under $500 after sales.

Since the items are still expensive, my picks from this sale are Theory’s most classic items in their popular “Tailor” lightweight wool fabric. They make new items in this fabric season after season, so it’s the perfect choice for an investment suit:

1. Gabe blazer in sz 00 (sleeves need shortening on petites)
2. Max C trouser pants in sz 00 (update: sold out)
3. Betty Sheath Dress in sz 00
And just for fun, a slim work pant: Theory Ibbey Pant in sz 00.

Now for my review:

Theory Branden Jacket, sz 00
Pants: Theory Mark B pants, sz 00
Blouse: Ann Taylor sz XXSP
Patent pumps: Nine West

Alterations done: sleeves shortened ($24), pants hemmed ($10) and legs slimmed ($15)

These pics were taken a few weeks ago (I miss you, long wavy hair!) when I was making my blog banner. Most readers know of my love for Theory by now, so I will keep this review brief.

Pros: Great fabrics that I can wear over and over again without steaming/ironing, narrow-fitting blazers, and impeccable tailoring. I’ve had coworkers who are completely disinterested in fashion compliment me on my basic black Theory pieces. Jackets in sz 00 and sheath dresses in sz 0 usually fit me perfectly.

Cons: Length (the brand is not made for petites, so a pants hem is a must and sleeve shortening a costly maybe), price, and frequent lack of lining on dresses or bottoms. I have several items from Theory that really need a lining (itchy tweeds, wool, etc) but don’t have one.

Consensus: Despite all the “cons,” Theory is my favorite suiting brand out of all the ones I reviewed. In person, the quality and cut are distinctly better than BR, AT, and Express. Also, even though I have to hem off what looks like a foot of fabric from their pants, the fit still comes out looking normal. To avoid alterations, look for items that look “shrunken” or cropped on the models.

I wanted to show how the pants fit pre-leg slimming alterations. The Mark B cut I am wearing is similar to the Max C, except with wider legs:

Other Theory shoppers out there – what are some of your fave pieces? Any qualms or dislikes about the fit/quality? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. Kaily Yang wrote:

    Hello Jean! Do you have thoughts on theory’s Clairene Jacket in Double-Face? Their Black Friday sale is making this much more affordable but also noted the non refundable policy at check out – makes me a little hesitant as I can’t try it in person… appreciate any feedback!

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  2. Hi Jean! Love your blog. I'm 5'1, size 0, and asian so the sizing AND colors work for me! Just bought a heavily discounted Theory jacket during their summer sale (<$200). But I couldn't find ANY black pants on sale to match the jacket. I'll be paying full price :/ I'm guessing it's because black is such a staple color. Just wondering, do you have any luck getting black work pants at Theory on sale? Love to hear your thoughts! Thanks <3

    Posted 7.19.15 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    As a first Theory suit what suit style/cut/color would you recommend?

    Also, is the Max B you mentioned earlier the bootcut and the Max C is the flared pants? I can only readily find the Max C pants available on the website. Thanks for your help.

    Posted 3.6.11 Reply
  4. Jessica wrote:

    I REALLY want to buy a Theory suit, ever since I started work a couple years ago, but now that I saw this, I think I need to wait b/c I've gained weight and these suits are so unforgiving.. hopefully there will be a sale when I am ready to commit!

    Posted 5.26.10 Reply
  5. nicole wrote:

    damn you know how to make a pantsuit look really good! I love the charcoal colour of it too, it looks great against your complexion and is softer than a black pantsuit.

    Posted 5.26.10 Reply
  6. bekster wrote:

    you are so pretty!!!!
    that suit looks great 🙂

    Posted 5.22.10 Reply
  7. April wrote:

    You look absolutely STUNNING! It's strange–I am 5'1", I weigh 92 lbs, but I look waaay bigger than you. You take photos soo well! You are such a natural beauty!

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  8. StyleFrost wrote:

    This suit looks great and fits you perfectly!

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  9. p.s. You have a great tailor!

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  10. It's been SO long since I've worn a suit. This one is really cute. Very strong yet feminine. I like it!

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  11. Thank you ladies! Anon – Sleeves are taken up at the cuffs. Sometimes the buttons need to be moved up and inch or two.

    DiaryofaShopper – I bought a slip just for wearing under my unlined Theory dresses. Esp. for when I wear tights because the unlined skirt will ride up. Unfortunately my slip from Target is ugly and flesh colored, so when it slips out people inquire about it (so embarassing!). I need to find a pretty black one – let me know if you come across one.

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  12. ipehishere wrote:

    nice suit you soo much.. u looks pro here 🙂

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  13. Angie wrote:

    this suit is so flattering on you!

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    Your suit looks great! I'm just wondering: when you had the sleeves shortened, did you have the tailor shorten from the cuffs or remove the entire arm?

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  15. stylepint wrote:

    What a great suit! I've only recently looked into Theory so I still need to explore some more. I did find out that if you go to the Theory store, they do free hemming…but I'm not sure about the details.

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  16. The suit looks great on you. I always shy away from blazers and suits because it's so hard to find. I imagine it's even harder for you as a super petite gal but even for me, shoulder width is the main concern for me. I don't have broad enough shoulders to fit in what I think is my size and I'd probably rip the petite blazers up :p

    Anyway, the pants look really great on you!

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  17. Ahhhh…so those are the infamous Mark B pants! I remember you mentioning how small they run. I've been looking for them ever since you first told me about them…but I haven't seen them at all!

    The suit looks great on you. Tailored to perfection. =)

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  18. The suit looks AMAZING on you but then again- what doesn't? LOL I for some reason cannot seem to look "right" in a any pants or a pant suit so its nice to see it on another petite. I finally hunted down the Theory Gratian Lecture skirt suit!!!! OMG- it was a challenge but I did it!! 🙂

    The fit of Theory is undeniably really nice for us petite ladies. The price tag still scares me 🙂

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  19. You really do know what fits well on you. Love the suit and you look gorgeous as always 🙂

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  20. That Theory suit is definitely the nicest of the three price ranges. It looks awesome on you! Theory is rapidly becoming my favorite brand for work basics. The cuts are just right, and the I love that they are made of real wool. If only the Theory pieces were lined- then they would be PERFECT. I think I will be wearing a slip with my Theory Betty dress, due to the unlined wool being a bit scratchy.

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply
  21. PetiteXXS wrote:

    Oh so that's where the banner pic is from! The fit on that jacket is superb… anything that fits that well is worth the investment.

    Posted 5.21.10 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?