How to wear buffalo checks if you’re petite

Susan B wear a buffalo check sweater with light wash jeans and leopard print loafers. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If I may be so bold…

I’ve always had a soft spot for buffalo checks. But it’s been years since I’ve worn them. Being petite (5’1″), it’s easy to be overwhelmed by larger prints, especially when they’re bold or high contrast. (And most buffalo checks tend to be high contrast.)

earrings (c/o) | sweater | bracelet (c/o) | jeans (similar) | shoes (similar)

So when I spotted this buffalo check sweater in a camel/ivory combo, I pounced. It’s from a new-to-me brand, Petite Studio. As the name indicates, they specialize in clothing for those 5’4″ and under. (The sweater is also available in Lavender.) I’m wearing the XS.

I’ve been watching brands and retailers whittle down Petite options over the last few years with no small amount of frustration. The remaining options seem to fall into either Basics or Boho. It’s exciting to find some fashionable but not-too-trendy pieces in Petite proportions! Though not everything suits my style, I’ll be keeping an eye on this brand.

Some tips for how to wear a buffalo checks or any bold or large pattern if you’re petite:

  • think balance: don’t go too oversized, keep the rest of the outfit relatively simple and let the print be the focal point.
  • choose a print that’s in harmony with your coloring and contrast levels.
  • forget what the “rules” say. You don’t have to stick to small ditzy prints just because you’re under 5’4″.
  • keep accessories in harmony…graphic prints work best with simple, clean jewelry pieces, florals will handle more ornate styles.
Susan B wears a buffalo check sweater, down puffer vest, corduroy pants and sneakers. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

earrings (c/o) | sweater | vest | bracelet (c/o) | pants | sneakers (similar)

More from Petite Studio

This post is not sponsored, nor have I received gifted items from Petite Studio. I’m just happy to share a new resource for Petite clothing.

Would you wear buffalo check styles? Or do you prefer a more classic plaid?

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  1. I’m not sure I’d wear buffalo checks, although that sweater looks fabulous on you.

    Would you be willing to write about which pieces you most often need to have tailored and/or hemmed to fit your petite frame?

  2. I didn’t know that size of check were called “buffalo” ! I rather like that on you – as you say it is very much in some of your best colours and is very much your style . I like checks in theory but rarely find something I want to wear . So it is usually stripes or small florals . My mother was your height but had a good eye for prints – even quite large-scale ones ! She did encourage me to go for something “wilder” but I don’t have her confidence .
    My problem with sizing is that in the UK petite’s tend to stop at 5’2′ and women’s begin at 5’4″ . At 5’3″ I guess I shouldn’t exist !

  3. You look fantastic! I love the top with jeans and also with your colored bottoms. The contrast of the animal print shoe looks good too!

  4. Love that sweater! And the colors on you are fab.u.lous! I just returned a cashmere sweater to J.Crew…and in the comments section, on why I was returning, I used all 300 characters to explain that petite sizes should go up to and XL – theirs only goes up to L…they are loosing an over 30 year customer because of their limited sizing! Busty petites need cashmere, too!!

  5. The colour of that sweater is perfect on you. I wish my mother had more choices when she was alive, as she was only 4’11” and always had to alter. Good to know you are spreading the word about a great new find.

  6. Love these outfits. I don’t have a sweater but I do have a shirt but never thought to pair it with leopard And I plain forget to wear my tennis shoes, I reach for brown boots for my buffalo plaid shirt. What color are these pants?

  7. I’ve not heard the term Buffalo check either but bought a similar style and colour here in the UK three years ago. At 5’1″ I empathise with you all the way, so few petite styles about, do not know how I would survive without my trusty sewing machine for alterations, I do like a good fit. I too was declared a Spring colour by my Kettlewell colour consultant and have spent about a year clearing out my wardrobe. I don’t find too many choices in my pallet and style which I like to think of as classic chic with a nod to fashion ! I wish that I could find Bloggers in the UK with your style and outlook.

  8. I have two petite daughters under 30 years of age, both are frustrated with the petite offerings in many stores. I am thrilled to share the link with them for some younger and fresher looking petite styles. Some department store petite clothes are so Meemaw that even I ( age 58) run shrieking.

  9. I like look number one, with jeans and printed shoes. The scale and proportion and colors look just right. It also fits your gamine style.

  10. I love that sweater on you, so when you said lavender, I was hooked! I just purchased the lavender checked sweater! I, too, am petite and find petite selections becoming less plentiful! This brand looks very promising! Thanks for posting!

  11. I love the buffalo checks on you! You make a good point about high and low contrast plaids. At 5’3″ I also struggle with petite vs regular sizing. And to further complicate things my legs are proportionately long for my height. So I often buy regular pants and petite tops. Dresses can go either way depending on the style. With fewer people shopping because of the pandemic I think stores will reduce their inventory. Petites would be one of the first types of sizing to go.

  12. I love this new online site for petites! I already see a couple of items I am coveting. I am 5’3”, so like you, have difficulty finding stylish clothing that fits my proportions. I often see beautiful things online, but the sites don’t off petite sizes, and the models wearing the items are 5’9” or 5’10”. Thank you for yet another wonderful find!

  13. I can imagine you pounced. It looks so good on you and exactly the right length. I never knew this is called a “buffalo check”. It is a check you don’t see very often.
    You made a smart decision buying it. Being tall myself, I will refrain haha.