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Slim vs. Petite: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 5, 2023
"Slim" describes a slender body shape, while "Petite" refers to a smaller stature, often in clothing sizes for shorter individuals.

Key Differences

"Slim" and "Petite" are both adjectives used to describe body types, but they highlight different aspects of an individual's physique. "Slim" primarily refers to a slender and narrow body shape, without much excess fat or bulk. It's a term that speaks to the width or thickness of a person.
"Petite," on the other hand, is a term that often addresses height. Specifically, in the fashion industry, "Petite" is used to describe clothing sizes designed for individuals who are shorter in stature, typically 5'4" and under in the U.S. This doesn't necessarily indicate a person's weight or breadth but rather their vertical measurement.
It's essential to understand that "Slim" can apply to people of all heights. A tall person can be slim, as can a shorter individual. "Petite" specifically caters to the challenges shorter individuals might face in finding clothing that fits properly in terms of length.
Moreover, while "Slim" is a fairly straightforward term with a focus on slenderness, "Petite" in the fashion world might address various proportions, such as shorter arms, legs, or torso lengths. It's a more specialized term catering to a specific demographic.
In summary, while "Slim" and "Petite" both pertain to body dimensions, "Slim" looks at slender body shapes across any height, and "Petite" focuses on the unique sizing needs of shorter individuals.

Comparison Chart

Primary Focus

Body width or thickness
Height and proportions


Describes a body type
Often used for clothing sizes

Height Dependency

Can be of any height
Typically for those 5'4" and under in the U.S.

Industry Use

General term in health and fashion
Specific category in fashion

Body Aspect

Refers to slender shapes regardless of height
Addresses challenges of shorter stature

Slim and Petite Definitions


Slight or small in amount or degree
There's a slim chance of rain tomorrow.


Of a small and dainty size or stature
Jane is petite, standing at just five feet tall.


Gracefully slender
The model had a slim and tall silhouette.


Short and attractive in a dainty way
Her petite frame was complemented by her vibrant personality.


Insufficient or inadequate in amount
We have a slim budget for the project.


Delicate or diminutive in nature
The jewelry had a petite and elegant design.


Small in girth or thickness in proportion to height or length; slender.


Referring to clothing sizes for shorter women
She shops in the petite section to find the perfect fit.


Small in quantity or amount; meager
Slim chances of success.


Having a small, slender figure
Though petite, she was a powerhouse on the dance floor.


To become or make slim.


Short and slender
This rack of clothing is for petite women.


To lose or cause to lose weight, as by dieting or exercise.


Small in size or scope; tiny
“a bagel that is fairly petite by today's standards” (Ed Levine).


Slender, thin.


A clothing size for short, slender women.


(of a person or a person's build) Slender in an attractive way.
Movie stars are usually slim, attractive, and young.


(especially of a woman) fairly short and of slim build.


Designed to make the wearer appear slim.


(clothing) of small size.


(of an object) Long and narrow.


Small, little; insignificant; petty.


(of a workforce) Of a reduced size, with the intent of being more efficient.


Small, little; of a woman or girl, of small size and trim figure.


(of something abstract like a chance or margin) Very small, tiny.
I'm afraid your chances are quite slim.


A garment size for short or slender women


Bad, of questionable quality; not strongly built, flimsy.


Very small;
Diminutive in stature
A lilliputian chest of drawers
Her petite figure
Tiny feet
The flyspeck nation of Bahrain moved toward democracy


Sly, crafty.


A type of cigarette substantially longer and thinner than normal cigarettes.
I only smoke slims.


A potato farl.


AIDS, or the chronic wasting associated with its later stages.




(intransitive) To lose weight in order to achieve slimness.


(transitive) To make slimmer; to reduce in size.


Worthless; bad.


Weak; slight; unsubstantial; poor; as, a slim argument.


Of small diameter or thickness in proportion to the height or length; slender; as, a slim person; a slim tree.


Take off weight


Being of delicate or slender build;
She was slender as a willow shoot is slender
A slim girl with straight blonde hair
Watched her slight figure cross the street


Small in quantity;
Slender wages
A slim chance of winning
A small surplus


Having little body fat or thickness
She has a slim figure after months of training.


Small in width compared to length
The alley was so slim only one person could pass at a time.


Does "Slim" always refer to weight?

No, "Slim" can describe anything slender, not just body weight.

Does "Petite" clothing only differ in length?

Mostly, but it can also adjust for other proportions like arm or torso length.

Can a tall person be described as slim?

Yes, "Slim" refers to body shape and can apply to any height.

Is being "Slim" the same as being fit?

Not necessarily. "Slim" describes shape, while fitness relates to health and physical capability.

Can a "Petite" person be overweight?

Yes, "Petite" primarily refers to height, not weight.

Can men's clothing be labeled "Petite"?

While rare, some brands might offer "Petite" sizes for shorter men.

Do "Slim-fit" jeans mean they're for slim people?

Not necessarily. "Slim-fit" describes the cut or style, not the intended wearer's body type.

Does "Slim" always have a positive connotation?

No, context matters. It can be neutral or carry varying connotations depending on usage.

Are "Petite" sizes standardized?

Generally, but it can vary by brand or country.

Can a "Petite" person wear regular sizes?

Yes, but fit might vary, especially in length.

Can "Slim" refer to chances or possibilities?

Yes, like "a slim chance" means a small possibility.

Is "Petite" only about height?

Primarily yes, especially in clothing, but it can also imply daintiness.

Does "Petite" imply youth?

No, it refers to stature, not age.

Are "Petite" sizes available globally?

Yes, many countries offer "Petite" sizing, but specifics can vary.

Can "Slim" and "Petite" be used together?

Yes, as in "a slim petite woman," describing both slenderness and stature.

Is "Petite" used outside of fashion?

While common in fashion, it can describe anything small or dainty in nature.

Does "Slim" have synonyms?

Yes, like "thin," "svelte," or "narrow."

Can "Slim" refer to objects?

Yes, like a "slim" book or phone.

Can "Slim" describe a margin or difference?

Yes, like "winning by a slim margin."

Do all brands carry "Petite" sizes?

No, but many do, especially larger brands or those specializing in varied sizing.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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