Review: Old Navy Petite and Tall

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Old Navy Petite and Tall featured by popular DC petite fashion blogger, Wardrobe Oxygen
When you are a woman of less than average size, there is nothing more frustrating than companies who swear they carry extended sizes but they just don’t fit.

As a petite woman, I hate when companies sell “short” lengths in trousers in jeans. The inseam usually is the right length, but nothing else about the pant is actually petite. Petite women are not the size of 5’7” women but with shorter legs; usually we have shorter torsos, a shorter space between belly button and crotch, our hips and thighs are thereby proportionally spaced on our body. A “short” pant usually gapes at the waist, goes past our belly buttons, bunches at the crotch and hips and just has a poor fit.

I have many tall friends who complain that “long” lengths are often not long enough, and if they are they are usually too short in the rise and too slim in the hip area. Again, a tall woman is usually not just an average sized woman with longer legs…

For tall and short women, other garments are also an issue. Jackets are the worst – not only are sleeve lengths wrong, so are the widths of shoulders and where the jacket is supposed to nip in at the waist. Petite women often look as though they are playing dress-up in their mother’s closets and tall women always look stuffed and uncomfortable in shrunken pieces. Dresses bunch at the waist on petite women, and often are an indecent length for tall ladies.

Well one of my favorite budget-friendly retailers has seen the light… and the fact that not all women have the same size torsos. Old Navy has come to the rescue with their new Petite and Tall lines for Women sizes 0-20!

The new Old Navy Petite and Tall lines have many pieces from their standard size line, just cut to fit a tall or petite woman. I had to check it out for myself.

Old Navy ponte | Old Navy Petite and Tall featured by popular DC petite fashion blogger, Wardrobe OxygenSince I am pregnant, I knew I wouldn’t be able to accurately test out the petite cuts of dresses and shirts. However I knew with a belly band I would be able to see how a pair of trousers fit. I decided to test the line with their Stretch Ponte Mid-Rise Wide-Leg Trouser (see left). Ponte knit is one of my very favorite fabrics – easy care, can dress up while feeling as comfy as a pair of yoga pants, keeps its shape. I own a jacket of black ponte fabric and was thinking this could make a nice casual suit. Also a true test of a proper petite fit are how the pockets lie on the frame – these pants have side slash pockets and I wanted to see if they would gap, if they would be at a place that would be comfortable to actually use, and if they were fashioned well to lie flat.

As always, the order arrived from Old Navy promptly, well packaged without extra paper and stuffing. The pants were a medium weight of ponte fabric, unlined, acetate pocket linings, simple invisible seaming. Closure of a zipper, hidden button and two hooks for the waistband (which I love because it gives a very smooth flush finish under trim knit tops).

On, the pants really do fit like a true petite! The rise was shorter than regular trousers, hit just below the belly button, laid smooth over the bum and crotch. The length was perfect for my 5’3” frame with a kitten heel. And the pockets? Even with my belly bump they were smooth. They arrived basted shut (front and back pockets) which helped the pant come shipped smooth and then wear smooth.

The pants are machine washable; I washed them on the gentle cycle and had them hang to dry. This is how I clean my other ponte garments; it helps maintain good texture of the knit and the rich black color. After washing, the pants looked exactly the same. They didn’t pill, didn’t fade, didn’t stretch out. I compared them to a $65 pair of ponte pants from a different company and they looked to be of equal quality fabric, and equal construction.

Oh my goodness, budget-friendly petite clothing that is truly fit for a petite woman? Old Navy has produced Fashion Nirvana!

Old Navy Tall line is made specifically for women over 5’10”. There is an extra half-inch in the shoulders, longer sleeves, longer length in tops, lower waist position for tops and dresses, a nice longer rise, a full 36” inseam, and proper shaping to fit a woman’s figure.

Old Navy Petite line is specifically for women under 5’4”. The garments have narrowed shoulders and higher arm openings (yay for properly covered bras!). Sleeves are shorter, hips and waist are more narrow than the classic, fit, pieces have a shorter rise and there’s a lovely 29.5” inseam for truly petite ladies.

The Old Navy Petite and Tall lines are available exclusively online.

You can see the ponte pants on me at my other blog, My Wardrobe Today. Do know they don't fit as usual due to being 26 weeks pregnant. 🙂

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  1. I disagree with this wholeheartedly. Old navy has the absolute worst sizing I’ve ever seen for my body. I am normally a size2-4 and am 5’6. 0 is too big most of the time, but the pants are so ridiculously short and their tall sizes don’t go to a zero so they are HUGEEE but at least not cut off at my shin. I can’t do it with old navy. Everything from the colors to the fit is ugly to me.

  2. Dies anyone know how much longer in the body their tall jackets are than regular? I’m 5’8″, but broad shouldered. I find their regular length jackets snug across the shoulders but a little roomy everywhere else. I’m thinking a tall might be the way to go, but not if it’s significantly longer…


  3. I thought I died and went to heaven when i discovered Old Navy had a tall selection. Finally I was able to buy jeans shirts and jackets long enough .My problem rt now is shopping at other tall stores on line .I cant figure out what my sleeve length is Old Navy doesnt flat out say what the sleeve length is and customer service doesnt know either. WOE IS ME

  4. A note from the other end of the spectrum: I haven’t tried anything else yet, but their tall rusched v-neck t-shirts are WONDERFUL. They are long enough without being cut like men’s shirts, they have enough hip room, and they’re just all around lovely. I bought four.

  5. I love petite sizes, as I am truly proportioned like a petite woman. However, at 4’10” I still have trouble with short or petite sizes still not being small enough. Do you have any tips for the extra-petite woman?

  6. Allie – I ordered a pair of these after you mentioned them last week – they are really nice for the money ( and for Old Navy). I’m 5’4 and the petite length will be perfect for wearing with flats.

    Also got a pair of the maternity knit pants, in black – very nice also. Not petite of course, but I can wear them with heels. Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. I am a bit short waisted, so I sometimes find successs wearing a top made for petites, and stick to the regular-sized proportioned bottoms.

    I am so in the need for some new clothes for fall and winter, and Old Navy really fits my budget well. Thanks Allie!

  8. Great review. I don’t suppose ON are carrying these new ranges in their stores are they? I know they don’t ship internationally and I will definitely call into a store when I am in NYC next month if the tall stuff will be there.

  9. Also, the Kate pant is an “ultra low straight fit,” and there’s also the Eva pant, which is an “ultra-low easy fit.” Many styles of Kate and Eva come in 30″, 32″, and 34″ lengths.

  10. EB-What about the Kate fit pants at Victoria’s Secret? Those are the lowest ones they offer, and they come in various inseam lengths. The Kate is too low rise for me (I like the Christie, which is the same as the Express Editor and probably ten others), but maybe it’ll work for you.

    THANKS for this review Allie! I’ve been looking at the Old Navy petites, but I was hesistant to place an order because some of their stuff just doesn’t last (though a couple of things in my closet have held up okay). I’m going to go take another look.

  11. Hey EB & LV:

    It’s tough being a woman because our bodies are as different as snowflakes – curves in different places, varying lengths of varyng body parts. Pants often cause the most grief.

    LV, that is awesome that shorts work for you! For some brands I do prefere short over petite because petite is often too narrow in the legs for my sturdy thighs. I am glad for variety out there (and tailors!) 🙂

    EB, I understand your frustration! The only thing I can think of offhand is that you are lucky that there are so many lowrise styles en vogue right now. I know brands like The Limited carry career-worthy pants in lowrise styles that on you may actually fit in a more traditional manner. Also Juniors sizing is often lower in the rise than its Misses or Ladies equivalent.

    Readers, do you have any suggestions for EB? 🙂

  12. Hi Allie-
    I have a problem that maybe you can help with, since you always seem to have good advice regarding fitting pants. I’m very short in the rise, but I’m 5’7. In other words, even ultra-low rise pants come up above my belly-button, and cut me off funny and fit terribly, so in order to get pants to fit well in terms of rise, petite is the way to go. But because I’m 5’7, petite pants end well above my ankle. I’m totally at a loss and wind up wearing skirts and dresses all the time as a result, which is really impractical based on my chosen career (I’m a scientist — I spend most of my day dealing with harsh chemicals and climbing around equipment, sitting on the floor, etc — I’m the only person in my department who doesn’t wear jeans everyday). Any suggestions on styles to try would be so very much appreciated!!

  13. Well, there are petite women, and then there are short women.

    I’m short. I am NOT proportioned like the petite women of my acquaintance; I basically look like someone chopped 5″ off of my 5’7″ sister’s legs.

    So, me? I looooooooove “short” lengths. They are much more likely to fit me than petites, which almost universally fail to have enough rise, bunch weirdly in the front, and are uncomfortable through the whole hip attachment area. (Talbots’ petites usually fit me fine, but they are the only ones.)

    Mostly, though, I end up buying regular sizes and hemming.

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