Guide to the best Leggings & Barefoot Dreams Cardigans

zella petite joggers nordstrom sale

Zella restore joggers xxs regular (love!) vs. live in joggers xxs Petite, BR top (similar), Everlane Sneakers 5

I wanted to do a post comparing pieces from some of the most loved categories of the Nordstrom sale (BFD, joggers + leggings!) and how the styles fit a petite frame. I also wanted to include some simple outfits with pieces I got in previous years that are back / updated for this year’s sale!

Zella Joggers Guide (Restore vs Live In)

First up, a quick look at Zella’s two most popular jogger pants and how they fit a petite frame!

1. Zella Restore soft joggers (regular inseams only)
There are my old favorites (read my review) and one of the top items I’d recommend from the sale! Even though they are regular sizing, the xxs length is petite-friendly on me. The fabric is incredibly soft and comfortable, but still has a smooth finish which is nice (not “fleecy” which can get pilly or nubbly on pants).

I’ve also heard that some of you got the kids version of these! I haven’t tried the kids in this particular style but I usually take a kids size L in Zella bottoms.

2. Zella Live in joggers (regular + petite inseams)

In comparison to the Restore, the fabric of the Live In joggers is less cozy against the skin and more of a lightweight woven material, making these better for athleisure outfits and running errands, compared to the Restore which I wear to at home to curl up at my desk or on the couch in! They also have a small zippered pocket convenient for things you don’t want to lose while working out, like keys.

Leggings Guide (Zella, Comando, Spanx)

I rotate my Zellas for running, light workouts, lounging and travel while I love a good faux leather legging for everyday fall-winter outfits. Here’s a rundown of some popular styles and how they compare:

nordstrom anniversary sale best black leggings comparison

1. Zella Studio Lite Pocket 7/8 leggings size xxs

My favorite Zellas for everyday wear thanks to the shorter length and convenient, generously sized pocket for holding my phone! Mine in the photo are a prior year version, and they’ve since moved the pocket up to make it more flattering and flush against the leg (I do own this year’s but they were in the wash when I snapped these photos!). The 7/8 length in a regular size XXS hits nicely right below my ankles.

2. Zella Live In leggings size Petite xs

The original Zellas with nice and smooth compression fabric (a tad thicker than Studio Lite) and a little slot pocket hidden in the waistband. I personally wear the Studio Lite Zellas more due to the pockets and shorter ankle length!

3. Commando 7/8 faux leather leggings xs

Just added these to my staple leggings collection! After two babies, I’ve been wanting a slightly higher rise and more compression, and these delivered with a subtle pebbled faux leather finish. The Commando have the look of lightweight leather pants with a higher rise, while the Spanx below are more like stretchy activewear leggings with a slinkier feel. Heads up, the Commando leggings fit small with a lot of “shaping” power and took me a little time to wiggle on at first. The length is a little long on me but have a raw cut bottom hem that is very easy to fold under.

4. Spanx faux leather leggings

These are thin and light, liquid style leggings with a wide banded waist and side seams. A Petite XS was a little too much like a tight second skin on me and showed my knee grooves, etc (and was ~ 2 inches too long), so I had to return. Compared to Commando, though, they are a lot stretchier and more like athletic leggings, so I can see how comfy they are for all day wear and sitting!

I was curious about their very affordable kids sizing so gave these leggings another try, unfortunately the Kids XL pictured here is too loose throughout and pretty long (hems are folded under a few inches in the pic), though might suit someone who is a Womens XS and taller. Someone my size should fare better with their girls size Large.

nordstrom anniversary sale best black leggings comparison

nordstrom anniversary sale petite try on 2021

BFD long cardigan xs vs circle cardigan xs/s, dress xs, SM boots 5.5 (prior year’s), Rag & Bone Zoe hat

Barefoot Dreams Cardigan Guide

Around this time of year I always get questions on the cuddly Barefoot Dreams cardigans, and which style is best for a petite frame. I have a small collection from over the years and pretty much lived in them during pregnancy, postpartum and for travel back in the day. They also make a cozy gift for mom, MIL, aunts, sisters, even grandma!

For fit reference, I’m about 5 feet tall, size xxs / 24 in jeans

1. Barefoot Dreams Long Cardigan size xs, pictured in Bisque
Weight: CozyChic Lite

This is my favorite lately of my BFD trio! I tried it on a few years ago and didn’t even consider it, thinking it was too long for a petite frame. But tastes change, and as I’ve gotten older I keep gravitating toward longer lengths which I now find more flattering. While this one is longer than other BFD styles, it’s also cut a little slimmer throughout the body and the sleeves, helping it look sleek and drape well. Like with the other styles, I do have to cuff the sleeves up on this one.

barefoot dreams long cardigan petite nordstrom sale 2021

Left – everyday errands: P448 Sneakers 35, Zella 7/8 pocket leggings xxs, BR cami xxsp, 47 hat
Right – fall outing: Spanx Kids leggings (folded under), SM boots 5.5 (prior year version), Rag & Bone hat

2. Barefoot Dreams Drape Rib Cardigan size xs, pictured in Beach Rock
Weight: CozyChic Ultra Lite

This made a cameo last year as a limited edition style, which is why there are no customer reviews. It’s the lightest weight out of the bunch but only by a little. The sash belt is stitched to the back center which means you won’t lose it, but you also can’t remove it (can try tucking it into the pockets when unused). Personally, this one is less versatile for me bc the belt doesn’t come off and I like to wear my cardigans open

barefoot dreams drape rib cardigan petite nordstrom sale

3. Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan size XS/S
Weight: CozyChic Lite

The most loved style of the BFD family! And my first step into this cozy, snuggly world many many years ago. I think this cocoon shape is the most universally flattering cut out of the bunch, and the sizing is a little more flexible, so would be my pick if you’re shopping for one to gift a friend or loved one. If you’re poking through the thousands of reviews on this, I would suggest sorting to read the most recent ones instead of ones from 5 years ago, in case they’ve made updates!

barefoot dreams waffle cocoon cardigan nordstrom sale

4. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Waffle Cocoon Cardigan size xxs/xs
Weight: CozyChic Thick

This one is new and I just had a chance to try it on. It is very thick and probably the type of cardigan that you only need to wear if you live somewhere cold and you don’t keep the heat on very high in your home! Compared to the popular Circle cardigan this is definitely more of a cocoon shape that envelopes you and has dolman style sleeves. Sizing starts in XXS/XS but fit is pretty oversized.

If you’re debating between the long and the circle cardigan ~ same outfit, slightly different looks:

Barefoot dreams cardigan petite review nordstrom sale 2021

Everlane jeans 24 ankle, M.Gemi woven sneakers 35 (JEAN60 for $60 off a first order)

petite narrow calf over the knee OTK boots nordstrom sale 2021

SM OTK boots 5.5 (2 colors) – slim calf friendly, stretches to fit. Mine are last year’s but I tried this year’s here

allsaints dalby cognac brown leather jacket petite fit

Allsaints Dalby jacket 00 – great savings on their 2 petite friendly styles. Gucci mules 35.5 (my review)

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Leave a Comment


  1. Nida Lo wrote:

    Thank you for always weeding out the best of many sales!

    Fun fact : I am 5 feet and am the tallest female in my family! (I have 2 sisters.)

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  2. Kathy V wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    I’m from the UK. and met my husband while studying in San Francisco. We married three months after meeting, we just celebrated our 30 year anniversary and I finally became a US citizen😊

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  3. Amanda G wrote:

    I was browsing the sale last night and was a little confused by all the options – this post is exactly what I needed. Thank you!!!

    My fun fact: I’ve been in a book club for 9 years and this month is our anniversary!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  4. Jaimee M. wrote:

    Love your blog and style!

    I’m a mama of a 3 year old boy and a 9 month old girl. They were born a couple months apart from both of your cuties! 🙂

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  5. Andrea J wrote:

    Fun fact: I like the smell of skunk (smells like coffee)! Haha. Love your recommendations!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  6. Krista B wrote:

    Thanks so much for doing the leggings comparison ~ I’ve always hesitated to order, so this is helpful! I’m a fellow petite mama and have been following you for years.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  7. Tess K wrote:

    Thank you for all the helpful comparisons! Fun(ish) fact: I’ve followed you since your personal finance blog.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  8. Jen W. wrote:

    Love this review! Especially your thoughts on the cardigans. Recently got a shorter, slightly boxier one and noticed it fell a bit differently. Didn’t quite know how to describe it so seeing your descriptions was helpful!

    Fun fact: bought my first trench coat many years back because of your reviews! Have continued to buy them ever since! 🙂

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  9. Janet Kennedy wrote:

    I’ll be visiting Boston with my daughter next week to look at schools. And I’ll be using your Boston visitor’s guide!
    Thank you for posting N sale recommendations!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  10. Jasmine V. wrote:

    Loved reading your recommendations for the BFD cardigans. I’m expecting my first baby in just 5 weeks and have been looking for something to spoil myself with postpartum!

    Fun fact about me: I am right handed but can write left handed, in cursive, and backwards. Now there’s a useless skill if I’ve ever seen one😜

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  11. Kristin C wrote:

    I love your blog and look forward to your sale suggestions every year for petite gals!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  12. Emily H wrote:

    Such a great blog post to compare popular items! It will definitely help me make a more informed decision on what to purchase. Fun fact: I’m going to be an aunt for the first time in October!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  13. Carol Y wrote:

    Fun Fact: My first and only pet was a baby turtle that I had as a child named Sammy.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  14. Kim D wrote:

    Ah, being petite I love your recommendations! The nearest Nordstrom store closed near me so it’s nice to read the fit before ordering online. Fun fact- I recently quit my job of 15 years to focus on me and my family- and I don’t regret it one bit!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  15. Lisa L wrote:

    Loving all your posts!
    Fun fact: I love baking and created an IG just for my baked goods:)

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  16. Katie S wrote:

    Thank you for all the detailed notes on the petite sizing! Very helpful in deciding what’s worth it. As someone who is 5’1 on a good day, regular sizing just doesn’t work 🙂

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  17. Monique wrote:

    Thanks for sharing these reviews! I’ve been curious about the different BFD styles so this is helpful.

    Fun fact: I’ve made your addictive garlic noodles so many times that it’s one of the few recipes I can make from memory! 🙂 My toddler loves it too!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  18. Saskia Burmeister wrote:

    I’m about to move back to California

    Ps I’ve been following you since 20212- still so impressed with your blog and outfit recs!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  19. April B wrote:

    Hi Jean!

    I absolutely love your site! It is such a great guide for picking out and styling outfits for every occasion. I feel so much more confident now!

    Fun fact: I am working on altering some of my grandmother’s vintage clothes. It is so much fun and Extra Petite gives me tons of help with styling these older pieces to make them look great again. Thanks so much!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  20. susan b wrote:

    Hi! Really like your blog-not just the fashion, but also the kids stuff recommendations! Fun fact: started prematurely graying in my 20’s!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  21. Priya B wrote:

    Hey Jean, I love your style and I have been following you for 2-3 years. Your petite recommendations are always so helpful ! Thank you so much !!!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  22. Yvonne Y. wrote:

    Just the comparison info I was looking for!! My fun fact is that I have perfect pitch – I can listen to music and tell you what the notes are 🙂

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  23. Joyce P wrote:

    I’ve been dying to get a BFD cardigan for the past two years but I never bit the bullet. Your guide is super helpful in narrowing down the choices! I might go for the long one this year. Thank you for sharing! You always have the best insights.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  24. Eve Gaddini wrote:

    Currently 5am and breastfeeding (first time mom) while going through all of your Nordstrom recommendations so I can start shopping today!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  25. Dung H wrote:

    I love the comparison between the barefoot cardigans.

    Fun fact – You had a DYI skirt tutorial that helped give me confidence to start sewing. I’ve been doing it for at least 3 years as a hobby. Last year I sewed hundreds of face masks and donated them to shelters, food banks and other community organizations.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  26. Lena H. wrote:

    Appreciate this super helpful post!

    Fun fact: I just had my first non IVF baby after 3 kids via IVF.

    Your blog posts help save me time with making choices! Thanks again!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  27. Catarina wrote:

    Love following you! Fun fact: just gave birth to our 4th and first boy! New adventures! — Catarina W

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  28. Adella S wrote:

    I’m just trying to pull myself together because my youngest is starting kindergarten this year. I feel like a part time empty nester

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  29. Iris L wrote:

    Love the cardigan, I have been looking to get one like this! Fun fact: I just started a new job 5mo pregnant with my rainbow baby, so excited to get to hold him in a month!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  30. Caroline B. wrote:

    Love your blog- the first fashion blog I started following years and years ago! Fun fact: I’m getting married on 10/10 this year 🙂

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  31. Lisa N wrote:

    Hi Jean! Love the Nordstrom picks and would love to pick up some items!

    Fun fact: I finally had my postponed pandemic wedding this past weekend!! Yay! Finally married, nearly 10 years in the making.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  32. Jennifer L. wrote:

    Your blog posts with photos and reviews are so helpful to me as I am also 5 feet tall! Fun fact about me: I still remember how to play my piano recital piece from when I was 10 (I am now 35!).

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  33. Quynh C. wrote:

    From Houston, TX

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  34. Jenny N. wrote:

    Hello 😊 I’m in the financial industry but I am into baking (not necessarily eating what I bake) more so I enjoy sharing what I bake and seeing everyone’s excitement.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  35. Jacqueline wrote:

    Thanks for the reviews. We’re very similar sizing-wise and it’s been super helpful to get the reviews particularly during our year-long lockdown where I couldn’t try stuff on.

    Fun fact – I started running during the pandemic and plan to run my first marathon distance in August.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  36. Stefanie H. wrote:

    Thank you for all your detailed posts! Even though I’m not petite, I really appreciate the advice you give about products and styling.

    Fun fact: my boyfriend and i are planning to get engaged soon! 😄

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  37. Lisa W wrote:

    First time reading your blog and I love it! you got great style ! 🙂

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  38. Belinda A. wrote:

    Fun fact I love croissants! 😂

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  39. Hannah C wrote:

    I’ve been following your blog for years now. As a fellow petite, you by far have the best tips and posts like this one! It’s always so helpful to see things styled on someone my size. I never would’ve considered the BFD long cardigan but looks great on you! Fun fact: I work with babies and toddlers and love it! Also, my son and I are huge fans of your salmon and garlic noodles recipes, it’s in our regular rotation! I don’t make salmon any other way anymore 😊

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  40. Krista C wrote:

    Fun fact- I’ve visited 56 countries!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  41. Jaina Soni wrote:

    Thanks for your reviews! I’m a new follower and I am so happy I found you! Adding some of your picks to my wish list!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  42. Salima Jiwani wrote:

    Thank you for all your wonderful recommendations! Been following you for almost a decade and enjoying seeing your family grow. I’m a CFA charterholder – I think you are too? 🙂
    – Salima J.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  43. Josephine H wrote:

    Thank you for all your recommendations! Fact about myself is I am pregnant with my rainbow baby boy.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  44. Stacy wrote:

    Mama of 3 little one who rarely has the time to shop in person anymore so your posts helps me stay on top of fashionable wear from the comfort of my home and ordering online ease #orderinghacks 😆

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  45. Sachiko E. wrote:

    I don’t see a lot of petite bloggers so I appreciate your posts!! I love how honest you are with your reviews and I know I can count on you to suggest great work wear!! Thanks for all you do!!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  46. Krislyn A. wrote:

    Actually came to your blog for your Nordstrom anniversary sale picks as yours are always so good! A fun fact about myself: I’m currently 7 months pregnant with my first and I’ve loved following your motherhood journey and feel better prepared due to your recommendations.
    -Krislyn A.

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  47. Lisa Y wrote:

    I look forward to the anniversary sale every year. Thank you for your recommendations. I also live in Mass!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  48. Erika G wrote:

    I left my life in LA to open a cafe for refugees in France, fell in love with an Afghan refugee and now we run the nonprofit together to help his people find a better life here!

    Love your blog! It was the first step for me to finding clothes that actually fit. Thanks!!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  49. Aida Z wrote:

    Started following you on Instagram because I loved your fashion sense and now I’m pregnant I’m legit obsessed with your style guide through your pregnancy and mummy journey! Have actually used you as style inspo for maternity clothes, and am definitely popping the Spanx leggings into my cart (thank for international shipping)!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply
  50. Justine J wrote:

    I gifted a BFD cardigan to my mom, and she loved it! Thank you for the recommendation.

    Fun fact: I can play the accordion!

    Posted 7.16.21 Reply

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