Personal Shopper: Petite Business Casual Bottoms for Michelle

Michelle writes: "Hi Outbush! Like everyone else, I'm a big fan and I need some advice. I just started my first internship last week and am in desperate need of some new business casual clothes. I'm pretty much good on tops but I definitely need help with bottoms! I'm interested in slimmer pants that will flatter my 5'3", size 4 frame. As a poor college student, my budget is pretty small so I'm hoping to spend no more than $60 but the cheaper the better. Thanks so much!"

Hi Michelle! I'm Mitchy, and I too am a short girl who's been on the hunt for flattering work pants. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of options out there under $60 that aren't ill-fitting bargain store pants, but it's worth investing in a nice pair.

1 - I can personally recommend Express's line of work pants; I picked the Columnist pant ($60) for you since you requested a slim pair.
2 - If you need more than one pair, I'd recommend checking out the clearance racks at stores like Express or Gap to see if you can find something your size in discontinued styles or colors. These Single Pleat Capris ($30 on sale) from the Gap are totally work-appropriate and will be flattering with even the shortest heel.
3 - Pants by Dickies ($27) are probably your safest bet for an affordable pair that will last you.
4 - Stores like Express and Gap are also great for the shorter among us because they offer their pants, like the Perfect Trouser Pants ($60), in short or ankle lengths, which means you won't have to hem them yourself (or shell out extra cash to have them altered).
5 & 6 - Let me also preach to you the joys of the pencil skirt; I think they're more flattering at our height, and plus, you can get way more skirts than pants with your budget. I also think it's harder to tell when skirts are cheap; the Black and White Pinstripe Pencil Skirt ($20) and the Belted Pencil Skirt ($20) are from Windsor and Forever 21, respectively.

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Posted on 05.24.11 at 10:16 AM

Delias (yes, as in the tween-ish catalog) has some great work pants on their website that are pretty cheap, comfy, and come in a bunch of sizes! :)


Posted on 05.24.11 at 12:01 PM

i second delias - their inseams go shorter than most places (as short as 26"). while express does have a "short" length if you're 5'0 like me they're still too long.

Michelle Truong

Posted on 05.24.11 at 5:10 PM

Thanks so much for this! I'm definitely going to check out all these options and look into skirts as well!

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