No More Pants Hemming for This Petite—Here's My Review of the Short Story Subscription Box

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short story subscription box review universal
Image by Dasha Burobina
  • Quality: 17/20
  • Value: 18/20
  • Curation: 20/20
  • Fit: 18/20
  • Convenience: 19/20

Total 92/100

Recently I learned that half the adult women in the U.S. are 5’3.5” or shorter, the common definition of petite. So why are we hard-pressed to find clothes that actually fit a petite frame?

As a 5’4” woman who’s always rolling up her pants and tucking in long shirt tails lumpily into her trousers, I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever having off-the-rack styles fit—until I came across Short Story, the clothing subscription box that curates styles for women 5’4” and below.

To get started, I answered a few questions like: What’s your height, weight and age? What items do you have the most trouble finding the right fit for? What’s your preferred price range for tops, bottoms, coats or jackets—under $50, $50 to $100 or $100+? There were also a few prompts to gauge my aesthetic preferences like: “Please react to these outfit collages (edgy romantic, laid-back casual, boho, modern chic)." All in all, it’s a pretty short quiz that took me about four minutes to complete in one sitting (though you do have the option to save your results and finish it later if you need more time).

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Short Story subscription box review: white shirt outfit
Dana Dickey

1. The Perfectly Oversized Everyday Buttondown

When I received my box ten days later, I hurriedly tore into it to try on the five selected garments and almost missed the personalized love letter from my stylist, Courtney. She wrote “as a petite gal myself, I know how difficult it can be to find the perfect fit…I noticed quite a few button downs on your Pinterest, so this one, the Edison Oversized Poplin Shirt ($68), caught my eye for you.” Shout out to you Court, I. Feel. Seen.  

What’s unique about this white button down from the 17 others in my closet is that it has the proportional untucked volume you want without the sloppy length in the sleeves or the body.

So, the shirt, j’adore. I slipped it on with the Madison Front Seam Texture Pants ($68), which felt, just wrong. When I pulled the waist to its correct height, the length was a tad too short—bad news for me, but good news for anyone under 5’4”.

Shot story subscription box review: maxi dress outfit
Dana Dickey

2. The Proportional Maxi Dress

The printed peasant dress was a real wild card for me, and far more bohemian than I’d usually try, but since I’d just watched Daisy Jones & the Six, I was all in. Also, the design has an underbust cinched empire waist, again not my go-to silhouette, but here the design gave the illusion of longer legs, instead of emphasizing my superlong Gumby waist. I’m a bit shy about wearing low necklines, so I probably won’t be keeping this dress, but I’m here for the style education it gave me.

Short story subscription box review: army green pants outfit
Dana Dickey

3. The Well-Cropped Army Green Trousers

The slubby yarn top ($88) was pretty and fit me well, but again, it exposed a little too much skin for my liking. The Relaxed Grace Pant ($78), however, was like meeting a soulmate, but you know, in olive drab cotton. It’s the perfect length to wear with flat sandals and sneakers without having to roll it up. And the hem is frayed, but in that gently fuzzed way I’m never able to replicate when I try to do it at home. The medium rise isn’t so low that it’s going to prevent me from moving around, and the fabric quality and simple cut of the pants are versatile enough to wear with a dressy blouse and heels (or more likely a pair of Havaianas and a white T-shirt).

Overall, the Short Story experience was better than I’d hoped. The personal shopper element proved to be valuable and well worth the $25 you pay for the stylist's work putting together each box, which is deducted from the price of your purchases. And now that I know it’s unlikely that I’ll purchase every piece from each box, I’ll amend my price guidelines to the $100+ range, since I’m trying to buy fewer pieces of better quality. Which brings me to the only quibble I have with the box: I wasn’t thrilled with the synthetic feel of the cotton knit top and there was a loose thread on the dress. But that quality issue is far from a deal-breaker, and most likely a reflection of the under $100 price point-per-item I initially chose.

One last note: You have five days to decide what to keep and return, which is two days more than Stitch Fix and the same as Daily Look (two competing subscription boxes). As for frequency, you can change the cadence to however often or seldom you’d like to receive a box. So, no pressure.

I’m glad I discovered Short Story, because I’ll be hitting them up for a seasonal infusion of style inspo every few months, as well as asking for help whenever there are any special occasions I want to have the perfect fit for.

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dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...