Trouser Troubles

spring business casual work outfit petite fashion

Sunglasses + Crepe pants sz 0P (waist altered) c/o Talbots, Manolo BB heels sz 35, Burberry trench (current option), Ann Taylor sweater xxsp c/o (regular), Prada bag

How are pants always such a challenge? Let me count the ways… waist. Butt. Rise. Inseam. Width. So many places that have to fit just right, and I’m not even factoring troublesome fabrics that are either see-through or wrinkle-prone. And so finding flattering trousers that fit off the rack has always been a style challenge, especially for short-legged gals. J.Crew and WHBM (namely their slim style) petite ankle pants do work well for me, but I’d love to have more options in different cuts, silhouettes and seasonal colors! This outfit here is from a few weeks ago, but I received some questions on the pants so wanted to share some fit info (plus review a similar alternative).

talbots pink trouser pants ann taylor stripe sweater petites

Just to show how one cut does not flatter all, take a look at the stock photo for these Talbots crepe pants. Nevertheless, I gave them a try and found them to be classic-cut trousers made of a beautiful crepe suiting material. They’re fully lined with a tiny bit of stretch, and the material drapes nicely and is not wrinkle-prone. Now if only Talbots made extended petites sizing! I had to get the waist taken in like I do with most bottoms, but note this alteration can run on the costlier side given the side zipper and lining.

express soft wide leg trouser pants short

Express wide-leg soft pants sz 00 Short (2 colors); clipped back 2″ on the right picture

I also tried on a similar, more affordable pair from Express that have positive reviews and come in a “short” inseam. True to their name, these pants are made of a soft and very stretchy crepe material that allllmost feel as good as PJs. Compared to the Talbots pair, these are unlined, wider-cut in the legs, and the material feels a little more casual and is machine-washable (and oh, there’s side pockets). Unfortunately these also fit roomy and a little long on me in size 00 short, even with 4″ heels on. It baffles me, as I can easily find a fitted pair of jeans at stores like Express and LOFT, but their trousers in the same label size seem to run very differently!

Talbots Wide-Leg Pants size 0 Petite: 13″ across the waist, 17.5″ across the hips, 9.5″ rise, 29″ inseam, 8.25″ across bottom leg opening.

Express Wide-Leg Pants size 00 Short: 13″ across the waist, 19.5″ across the hips, 9.5″ rise, 30″ inseam, 11″ across bottom leg opening.

spring office wear ideas petite fashion blog boston

I’ve mentioned this Ann Taylor sweater a few times now – it’s a nice basic updated with on-trend sleeves, but with subtle enough flares that you don’t have to worry about them going out of style. My usual size fit fine off the rack, but even better after I machine washed and dried it (it shrunk down about half a size). Unfortunately, there is a major price difference right now between the petite and regular sizing, but hopefully the petite will go on sale soon, too.

spring work clothing wide leg pants petite style

What is your go-to store for trousers that fit? Or are you your tailor’s best customer? : )

Leave a Comment


  1. Jo wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    Do you have any recommendations for high waisted work pants for a petite woman (I'm 5'2)? I'm looking for high waisted pants that reach the narrowest part of waist but nothing seems to fit in terms of inseam! Please help!

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Awesome post! I've been trying to find a tailor in Boston. Do you think your tailor can fix dresses that are a little to wide?

    Posted 4.10.17 Reply
  3. Jean wrote:

    Hi Grace, I go to a tailor in Chinatown on Knapp St (very short street/alley, so you can see his sewing machine in the window). He only speaks Cantonese and some Chinese but can communicate via gestures for simple alterations. I'm not sure where the rip is, but if it's at a tricker-to-repair area, it might be worth using a denim specialist like you mentioned!

    Posted 3.29.17 Reply
  4. Jean wrote:

    Such a good skill to have! It's interesting as the UK has several brands that make tiny sizing in petites, but they are often the trendy / fast fashion ones (like ASOS, Boohoo, Topshop) unfortunately.

    Posted 3.29.17 Reply
  5. Jean wrote:

    Let's hope they don't get rid of that!

    Posted 3.29.17 Reply
  6. Jean wrote:

    I'm so happy to hear that and am glad I can help, even in the smallest way! I totally understand your struggles. Keep your chin up … looking / dressing the part can be a fun journey, and there are many worse problems to have : )

    Posted 3.29.17 Reply
  7. Jean wrote:

    J.Crew 000 petite might be the only option! Unfortunately they don't seem to be making too many of those anymore. Alas, alterations might always be a necessity for the perfect fitting pants!

    Posted 3.29.17 Reply
  8. Grace wrote:

    Hi Jean, speaking of troubles, one of my favorite pairs of jeans has a rip! Do you have any recommendations for a Boston area tailor who can fix denim well? I know there are mail-in options like Denim Therapy but would love to use a local business instead.

    Posted 3.28.17 Reply
  9. Posted 3.27.17 Reply
  10. Those crepe pants are actually perfect on you!

    Posted 3.25.17 Reply
  11. I'm like you, I find pants so hard to get the right fit. Those ones are beautiful, such a flattering fit and I love the colour. The trench is beautiful too.

    The Lilly Mint Blog

    Posted 3.24.17 Reply
  12. Bianca wrote:

    Wow that's a great look.
    Greets, Bianca

    Posted 3.24.17 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    The struggle is real! Why can't they make trousers to fit like jeans? I have asked myself that so many times. There is no store that does petite trousers well, in my opinion. Keep trying Loft, Banana & Express. Until they come up with a good option, I won't waste my $$$.

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  14. Mizeats wrote:

    I mostly stick with dresses and skirts so I won't have to worry about getting trousers altered. With jeans I have better luck- either they fit perfectly or I just roll them up.

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  15. Those look lovely on you!

    I normally buy Gap trousers – I've had success with almost all of the ones I've tried, apart from a wide-legged style which just looked ridiculous. Banana Republic doesn't do sales often in the UK, so their trousers are a lot more expensive than Gap's, despite often being very similar. Zara also turns up the goods sometimes. Luckily, I can alter my own trousers else I think I'd have gone mad years ago trying to find trousers short enough.

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  16. Great post! I managed to snag the express pants a few months ago on sale for $35! I also needed to take in the waist a little over two inches and had my seamstress continue that alteration down the leg to tighten the fit. The ONLY pants that fit my 5'1" 85 lb frame off the rack are jcrew 000P…

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  17. Tynka. wrote:


    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  18. Jessica H wrote:

    OMGGGGG, Im obsessed with this look girl!! WAY TOO CUTE! Seriously, those blush pink trousers are adorable. So wish I had a corporate type job to wear these too lol.

    xo, jess

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  19. Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  20. Jenn wrote:

    It's been hard for me to find pants that aren't too long. I just try to stick to finding trousers that are ankle cut or have a slimmer shape. They tend to be shorter than wide leg trousers (in my experience).

    insta | bloglovin’

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  21. M wrote:

    Ankle trousers are so easy to find (my faves are from Ann Taylor) but I have a more difficult time with wide leg trousers. The LOFT petite section for the most part will fit width wise but are always a bit long.

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  22. Natasha wrote:

    This is such a chic spring look! Love those pants. They fit you so well! Pants are such a hard thing to find though, I agree!


    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  23. Jessi wrote:

    Those pants are so chic! Looks like you found the right pair. The fit is perfect for you!


    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  24. Rachel wrote:

    Those pants fit you beautifully! I agree with you – it's hard to find a pair that fits right. I always have trouble with the length and the hip area. Loving the color of these! Such a cute look.


    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  25. Those look great! I find that for me I prefer the skinny style like skinny jeans because other styles seem to make me look too young. 🙁

    -Kirsten // pork & cookies

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  26. Testing

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  27. Unknown wrote:

    I am so glad I found your blog! I am 5'1 and 85 pounds. At twenty-six, I struggle to look professional. You are opening so many doors for me. Thank you!

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree that finding jeans seems to be much easier than finding nice work pants! I don't have a go to right now for work pants. Everything needs to be altered. I found your blog by trying to figure out a good "go-to" for work pants. I love your blog, but still haven't solved the work pants issue 🙂

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  29. I'm 5'2 & usually end up sticking to Loft. I put Banana as second. It's frustrating though because the fit fluctuates so much through each style! And there's limited options for us short girls unless we want everything hemmed.

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  30. Love the silhouette of those trousers, so chic and timeless!

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  31. For the most part, I've given up. I'll buy Uniqlo stretch pants and jeans or Eddie Bauer chinos when they are on sale and do DIY alterations to slim the waist (I've blogged the process if anyone is interested.) I've found that Uniqlo ankle pants (the ones with the elastic waist on the back) fit without alterations. They don't drape at the sides as nicely as the stretch pants, but they are all right for everyday casual wear.

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  32. AnnMc wrote:

    Talbots does have the most styles, though I also have to tailor down the 0P. The quality is nice so I know they will last for years so the price is completely worth it. As for draped trousers like you have on in this post, I've given up and go only with slim fits. Maybe I need to rethink that after seeing how nice these look!

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  33. These pants are gorgeous, I'm always lucky with Express trousers as well as Loft.


    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  34. Love your pants! Cute and stylish look<3

    RitalifeStyle.comInsta: rita__maslova

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  35. Ah I love the trousers! X

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  36. My go-to store is JCrew for their 000P size (it fits off the rack), but I think they're on and off about that size 🙁 Wish it was more regular.. I just recently started altering pants, hoping for some good results!

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  37. mybeautrip wrote:

    These pink pants look amazing on you!

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  38. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:

    Love the pastel pink trouser. So lovely! 🙂

    ��LA BIJOUX BELLA�� | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply
  39. I totally agree with you. As a petite girl, finding pants that fit right is SO difficult. I feel like I need my clothes tailored every single time – luckily, my own mother is quite good at that!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 3.23.17 Reply

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