Cowl Necks

They sure can be a tricky sort to pull off when you’re petite, those cowl necks. Here’s where proportions are especially of the essence. If the top is rightly proportioned for a petite size, you can avoid looking like you are being swallowed whole by your top, and actually look quite wonderful indeed. Scroll forth to browse some beautiful examples I’ve found, with a few more tips on choosing cowl necks that work for petite proportions…

A classically styled merino wool cowl neck sweater sized for a petite frame, like this one, is a closet staple. Slim arms and a torso-skimming shape help to keep the proportions working, too.

Elongating textural vertical stripes are a great added petite-friendly styling feature on this nicely petite-proportioned charcoal cowl neck sweater.

This textured fringe-y cowl neck in deep, rich plum drapes like a scarf, with petite proportions that keep the look from being overpowering. Its price is very nice right now, too.

I love the navy and camel color combo and gradations of ladder stripes on this cowl neck sweater. The swingy bottom balancing out the cowl neck at the top, along with all-over petite proportions, make this top easy wearing and small-frame-friendly.

If this were a chunky sweater, this would be entirely too much cowl neck for someone petite-sized. As it’s made of thinner jersey knit, the rather substantial amount of fabric around the neck lays pretty close to the body, keeping the volume on this olive colored top highly workable on a smaller frame.

Here’s an example of thin fabric minimizing the volume of the cowl neck, in the form of an activewear top. It’s got a slim-profile cowl neck in the front that becomes a hoodie at back that doesn’t pop out like a dorsal fin when not in use, which is so great.

An open cowl neck that reads visually like a v-neck, and is therefore very much petite friendly as a v-neck is, would be another option.


A really rather subtle cowl neck (I’d call it cowl-neck-meets-boat-neck) works well for a smaller frame, too,  as on this shimmery top that is perfection for holiday happenings.

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