An Honest Review of Short Story, the Personal Styling Service for Short People, by a Short Woman

Photo: W+G Creative
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If you’re below 5’4”, then you’re considered a shortie. As you probably already know, like most things, there are pros and cons to being of small stature. One of the cons being that clothes tend to fit weirdly on our short bods, whether they’re too long, too baggy, or overall ill-fitting. And if you’re plus size and short, shopping can be even more annoying. I’m on the higher-end of straight sizing and border on plus at a size 14. Every pair of jeans I’ve owned have always been comically too long, resulting in saggy ankles or me resorting to cuffing them so I look like a dude from The Outsiders (IYKYK).

Over the past couple of years, I tried buying bellbottoms three times and they were all way too long for me. Heartbreaking for my ‘70s style goals! Dresses are much easier to wear, but there is a magic length holy grail that I have to search for when it comes to minis since a lot of skirts tend to rise higher in the back because of my booty. And if a dress is too long past the knee, I feel frumpy. I’ve learned to love maxi dresses, but I often have to get them hemmed or wear four-inch platform heels so I don’t look like a ghost floating around the halls.

All of these reasons are why I was so excited to learn about Short Story, which is a subscription styling service that helps us shorties find cute clothes that actually fit. The founder and CEO, Isabella Sun, knows firsthand the struggle of being petite, as she’s 5’1” herself. “I’ve struggled my entire life to find clothing that fits, and intimately know the challenges of shopping as a petite person,” she tells Well+Good.

“For women of shorter stature, shopping can really suck. Finding clothing that actually fits our frames can be exceptionally hard because most clothing is designed for women who are much taller, and often fitted on 5’9” fit models.” After learning that nearly 50 percent of women in the U.S. were considered petite and had the same frustrating experiences, Sun decided to leave her corporate job as a financial trader and start Short Story. “I wanted to create a better shopping experience that actually inspired confidence in petite women by helping them dress in perfectly fitting clothes,” she says.

While Short Story carries classic and up–and-coming brands, they also develop their own line of clothing, which is based on real feedback from a whopping 100,000+ respondents. “From this data we’re able to identify crucial ‘patterns’ in everything from silhouette and color preferences, to sizing dimensions that allows us to create clothing that directly addresses all of this,” says Sun.

Strangely enough, I’ve never really considered shopping in the petite section because I always thought of it as not just for short people, but for tiny, size 0 types, so I wanted to make sure that Short Story had my size, which they did. (They currently carry sizes 00 to 18P and have plans to expand their size range.) As far as what items they offer, it’s everything from tops, jackets, dresses, pants, jeans, and more.

How Short Story works

First, you take a quiz that asks you about the items that you usually shop for, things you wouldn’t wear, your opinion of a few of their clothing and styling examples, what your budget looks like, plus basic questions about weight, height, and age. They’ll also ask for your Instagram handle so they can get an even better sense of your style. After that, you order your Short Story Box, which can be sent monthly or every few months, and they’ll match you with a stylist who uses your responses to curate your box just for you. The styling fee is $25 per box, and that money goes towards any items you decide to keep. You can cancel your subscription at any time, and shipping and returns are always free.

short story
Photo: Marie Lodi

When you receive the box, you’ll get a small pamphlet with information about each of the five pieces of clothing they sent, as well as tips on how to style them, which I find super useful. Then you just try everything on and keep your favorites. Everything else can be easily returned via the prepaid label and shipping bag that is included. You just have to return your items within five days to avoid being charged.

short story
Photo: Marie Lodi

My honest thoughts on the Short Story box 

Pink dress

marie lodi
Photo: Marie Lodi

This dress couldn’t have been more me. I loved the neon pink color and it was the perfect length—not too short and not too long, so I didn't feel like I was drowning in it. I can see myself wearing this to everything—date night, parties, work events, vacation. It was a dream to wear.

Black short sleeve bodysuit

I appreciated that they included a black bodysuit, which is a great basic piece for building a year-round capsule wardrobe. Even better, it was comfortable to wear! Sometimes bodysuits can be too long in the torso, or too tight if you’re closer to plus size, causing the bust area to be pulled down and your bra to show. This didn’t do any of that, thankfully, and gave me the perfect amount of cleavage. Overall, it just felt really good to wear.

Pink printed skirt

skirt short story
Photo: Marie Lodi

The color and print of this skirt was also another “perfect Marie” pick. I can see myself packing this skirt (along with the bodysuit) on a trip. That sexy thigh slit just screams vacation, baby!

Velvet floral print robe

robe short story
Photo: Marie Lodi

Robes are one of my all-time favorite pieces of clothing. They instantly make me feel like a glamorous eccentric aunt (which I am, actually). They’re also super versatile because you can wear one over a slip dress, lounge around the house in one (with some cha-cha heels), and even pair them with jeans or trousers. I loved the velvet, and the rose pattern is always a win for me.

Black jeans (by 1822 Denim)

black jeans short story
Photo: Marie Lodi

I had to save the best for last—the jeans! Like I mentioned, jeans are a sore spot for me when it comes to shopping. They’re usually way too long, and instead of getting them hemmed, I just deal with it. I was absolutely shocked when these fit me perfectly just putting them on. The only thing is I wish these had pockets. Otherwise, they were perfect.

Final verdict

Overall, if you’re a short person who has had trouble finding clothes that fit, or just wants to experience a personalized shopping experience, Short Story is totally worth trying out. I loved all of my picks and found the return experience so much more simple than when I shop regularly.

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