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Stylists spill how to dress for summer if you're petite — plus 16 budget-friendly picks

From tops and bottoms to dresses and jumpsuits, these styles are a petite gal's dream.
TODAY Illustration / Ann Taylor / Old Navy / Boohoo
/ Source: TODAY

Dressing a petite frame can be challenging, but you don't have to settle for oversized clothes that fit poorly. To help you rock your summer in style, the Shop TODAY team called up two fashion stylists to pick their brains and find out which clothing items work best for your body type. Taking their expert advice, we've also selected 16 shoppable pieces that won't break your budget.

Petite tops for summer

  • What to look for: Cap sleeve shirts and smocked blouses
  • Why they work for petites: "Smock blouses open up the neckline, making them a petite girl’s best friend," celebrity fashion stylist Cindy Conroy explained. "Cap sleeve T-shirts are another game changer because they elongate the arm and balance proportions."

Banana Republic Factory Cotton Slub Tank

Set to be your wardrobe workhorse of the summer, this classy tank features flirty flutter cap sleeves and a breathable fabric that's perfect when the mercury rises. Wear it tucked into a skirt or dress pants at work and pair it with shorts and canvas shoes for a busy afternoon running errands. Either way, you're sure to get plenty of use out of it well into the fall!

Loft Bee Linen Smocked Square Neck Top

Talk about a twofer! Slight smocked detailing at the neckline of this sweet printed top adds a touch of volume, while cap sleeves also offer the illusion of longer arms. The soft knit top comes in petite sizes ranging from XXS-XXL so there's plenty of variety, and it's also cute as can bee.

LC Lauren Conrad Eyelet Ruffle Top

Available in two neutral shades (white and black) and a precious pink, this petite ruffle eyelet top is a true summer statement piece. The eye-catching eyelet cap sleeves elevate an otherwise basic top, adding plenty of dimension. Plus, you can easily dress it up or down to suit your mood and the occasion!

Leota Megan Top in Leopard Macadamia

Summer is all about bold prints, and this classic leopard pattern can serve as a standout piece or a neutral when paired with neutral bottoms. The tie collar and wrap-like asymmetrical hem can create enough curve appeal without overwhelming a petite frame, plus the no-wrinkle fabric makes it a fuss-free find that's worth adding to your wardrobe.

Petite dresses for summer

  • What to look for: Mini dresses, wrap dresses and dresses in solid colors/small patterns
  • Why they work for petites: "Wrap dresses serve curves all day long and midi and mini versions let you play with the look, without extra material overpowering your frame. But if there’s a maxi wrap that calls your name, opt for one with a slit. The pop of leg opens things up, so you aren’t swimming in fabric," Conroy said.

Petite Nine West Button-Front Tiered Drop-Waist Dress

Mini dresses create the illusion of long, sculpted legs, according to Conroy, and this one is giving us serious summer vibes. We're crushing on the tiered hem and drop-waist design and dig the multiple color options, especially the vibrant green leaf print.

Candace Cameron Bure Petite Flutter-Sleeve T-Shirt Dress

"Dresses with a solid color or small pattern will create length and not overwhelm your frame," Stitch Fix stylist Heather Tooker told us. Take this flutter sleeve T-shirt dress, for example. It comes in both stripes and solids (our favorite is the pretty pink) and has a flattering semi-fitted silhouette.

MSBASIC Wrap Midi Dress

With over 6,700 five-star ratings under its belt, this Amazon bestseller is quite a catch. It comes in 48 solid colors and patterns (the lemon print is seriously making us smile!), and has a defined waistline that looks great on petites. It's also stretchy and breathable!

Maurices Skater Dress

Whether you dress it up with heels and statement jewelry or keep things casual with flip-flops and a baseball hat, you can't go wrong with a classic skater dress. This cutie is available in sizes XS-XXL and comes in eight colors, including a pretty pink polka dot.

Petite jumpsuits for summer

  • What to look for: Fun prints and cropped styles
  • Why they work for petites: "Jumpsuits are a fabulous choice for the petite gal and can be dressed up or down. Try a small floral print cropped jumpsuit styled with wedge sandals and a cropped denim jacket for Sunday brunch with friends," Tooker recommended.

Boohoo Petite Ruffle Sleeve Culotte Jumpsuit

Avoiding jumpsuits just because you're petite? You're missing out! Simply look for a cropped style, like this sweet ruffle sleeve design that's cut specifically for petite frames. It comes in two neutral hues and one statement shade, and it's a great alternative to dresses when you're looking to switch things up a bit.

Miss Selfridge Petite Eco Strappy Shirred Jumpsuit

We can't decide what we love more: the adorable rose design of this red jumpsuit or the fact that it's made of materials that come from renewable sources. There's plenty to love about this stunner, especially its ruffled top and breezy wide legs. Plus, the price is right!

Encore by Idina Menzel Petite V-Neck Jumpsuit

This V-neck jumpsuit is equally comfy and charming with its self-tie belt and wide leg. We're particularly crushing on the subtle yet striking back cutout and the draped silhouette, and could see ourselves rocking this all summer long.

NY Collection Petite Short Sleeve Belted Jumpsuit

Denim is a classic material that never goes out of style, and this denim jumpsuit is sure to become a staple in your summer outfit rotation. The adorable puff sleeves take the simple silhouette to the next level, and the collar neckline makes it ideal for both work and play.

Petite pants and skirts for summer

  • What to look for: High-rise bottoms
  • Why they work for petites: "High-rise bottoms are a must for the petite gal. This applies not only to pants, but to your summer shorts and capris as well," Tooker said. "If you opt for a looser fit bottom, I recommend tucking in your top."

Marshall's High Waisted Vintage Recycled Shorts

Denim cutoffs are always a summer essential and this high-waisted style stands out from the crowd with its distressed details. The affordable find is made with recycled materials, making it a responsible choice for your wallet and the environment.

Old Navy Curvy High-Waisted O.G. Straight Cut-Off Ankle Jeans

Available in sizes 0-18, these high-waisted jeans are perfect for curvy petite gals. They have a no-gap, high-rise waistband and a summer-ready light wash. As an added bonus, the stretchy design is made with five percent recycled cotton!

New York & Company Petite Whitney High-Waisted Tummy Control Capri Pant

Is it really summer if you haven't rocked something white? We think not! These high-waisted petite capris offer comfort in spades with their pull-on design and are also quite functional with their tummy control construction.

Ann Taylor Petite Flecked Flounce Wrap Midi Skirt

Much like midi dresses, midi skirts are perfect for petite gals who want a bit more coverage without an overwhelming amount of fabric. The gorgeous green dotted skirt has plenty of detail with its ruffled, tiered hem and comes in petite sizes ranging from 00-16.

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