Some Small Sense

Shopping experiences and store reviews by a very petite woman. Indeed, it sucks. 4'10", 87 pounds, and full grown - is it a surprise I have trouble finding clothes?

July 03, 2007

Size Matters - Featured on Leonard Lopate Show

While I have been pretty busy and haven't been posting lately, I thought that readers may be interested in listening to a particular radio segment on New York's public radio station, WNYC. For those of you that love public radio as much as I do (or are just interested in the segment), Leonard Lopate will be speaking with Stephen S. Hall today about his book, Size Matters: How Height Affects the Health, Happiness, and Success of Boys — and the Men They Become.

Hall is a science writer that has written a book that gives a historical overview as to how height has been understood over the years, and why it has changed. He also explores the causes and effects of the culture of size bias. The author himself is 5'5 3/4" and includes examples and antecdotes from his own life. (It's interesting to note that he makes a point to emphasize his height accurately down to the quarter inch. Fighting for every last bit or trying to deliberately not pass as 5'6"?)

I will definitely be tuning in to listen to the interview and picking up a copy of his book soon. Those interested in a more detailed review can read the NY Times review.

The Leonard Lopate Show will be airing this segment live on July 3, 2007 at noon on 93.9 FM in the NY metro area. You will also be able to call in to ask questions or make comments during the live segment at 212-433-WNYC (212-433-9692). Those that are unable to tune in directly can stream it, or download the segment later free from iTunes or off the show's page. (Please note that there is a slight delay with the streamed content.)

The segment is actually a replay of a previous interview.

Labels: , ,

May 22, 2007

Massachusetts Height & Weight Anti-Discrimination Laws

As reported by the Associated Press last Friday by Ken Maguire, Boston Representitive Byron Rushing is sponsoring a bill to add height and weight to the anti-discrimination laws. This would provide legal protection for individuals in the workplace as well as while undergoing real estate transactions. According to Rushing (who is black, slim and of average height), he proposed this out of a desire to defend civil rights.

While I'm perfectly clear about that I see that this discrimination occurs, it's equally clear most people don't really believe that the issue is anything serious. Some choice comments from the forums prove enlightening on public opinion:
  • I'm so sick of people using 'discrimination' as a tool to demand special services. The airlines have seats in the planes, there is NO discrimination, you're welcome to sit in it. IF you don't fit, who's fault is that? Discrimination is so abused. Everyone has the right to work, to be all that they can be and there is no finer country, but stop complaining, stop using excuses and stop looking outward, look inward and figure out ways to succeed, just the way our parents and grandparents all did. If you are too short to fly a jet plane, then get a different job don't expect a jet plane to be specially configured just for you....that's discrimination. You're getting something that no one else is.
  • So I looked up the exact definition of Discrimination: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. So would the 'group' that these people belong to be over-weight people? I believe the real reason discrimination acts were brought into effect were to protect sex, race and religious beliefs. Not to protect people who chow on fast food a little too much. If you're overweight and you think people treat you differently, go on a diet!
  • Except for the most extreme situations you are never going to stop discrimination with a law. People looking for work or housing are discriminated against every day because they are the wrong color, religion, sex, handicapped, fat, tall and you name it....Its a way of life and human nature so better get used to it.
Mixed in with the comments of denial, trivialization, and outright viciousness (check out the more vitriolic ones at the posting) are a few posts defending the proposal. What is interesting is that a lot of people feel that it's perfectly acceptable to punish people using employment opportunities for traits that have absolutely nothing to do with their work performance (or credit-worthiness in the case of real estate). Or it's also fine to pass moral judgements about their character (Napoleonic complex anyone?). Some individuals even try to better define the understanding of what constitutes acceptable levels of discrimination for "overweight," as if a more nuanced bit of discrimination would then be okay.

There is no justification for this. Unless a job requires some physical characteristic in order to perform the duties of the job (i.e., jockeys, models, etc.), there really is no reasonable justification to penalize an individual based on how he looks. All candidates should be given equal opportunity for employment or living accommodations. The reason that certain categories are protected under law, such as race or gender, is that they've been shown to be systematically treated at a disadvantage. Time and time again, it's been shown that the short are economically penalized for their height, all else being equal.

For race, this problem has even been shown to produce disadvantages that are generational because the effects (and wealth, or lack thereof) add up over time and are passed along to offspring. Arguably, height and weight could be considered genetically passed along as well. Could height and weight characteristics be another example?

I applaud Representative Rushing for his proposal. Can't Massachusetts do at least as well as Ontario, Michigan, San Francisco, Victoria (Australia), and Santa Cruz to protect our rights?

While most of the heated commenting has been in regards to weight, how do people feel about the proposed legislation?

Labels: ,

May 08, 2007

Belting Up

My brother typically pokes fun at me when I complain that I can't find any belts my size. 'What do you need a belt for? You're a girl, and you don't have to wear one!'

Ok, ok, fine, I'm not going to be frowned upon by the fashion police if I don't wear one when tucking in my dress shirt (you poor men), but what if I wanted to?? And what if, god forbid, I actually needed them to keep my trousers up (the original reason for a belt)? I would have a distinct problem!

I have trouble finding stuff that fits in most stores - so I wouldn't expect to have too much luck with a belt there either. But it just doesn't make sense that I have just as much trouble in stores that are (sort of) supposed to cater to my size! So, apologies to Banana Republic for picking on it, but think of it as a loving critique from a captivated (and captive) audience member. My other steady, Ann Taylor, has the same problem (but its store is father away...).

Because these stores are trying to get customers to purchase an entire Outfit Ensemble, it would make sense for them to make sure all their accessories and clothes can match up with each other in all sizes. Now, the smallest sized belt they carry is XS. Not XSP or XXP or XXSP. How frustrating!

With this in mind, I snagged a few XS belts from Banana Republic for a test drive. I already knew that I was never going to keep these, as they were too big. But that's precisely why I wanted to get a few shots up anyway!

First up - a black silver ring belt with no prong or holes. As you can see, it's rather loose around my waist and cannot be physically tightened any further. At the smallest, it's 28" - but clearly, it's meant to be looser, as the tongue of the belt is ridiculously long.

The three-strand woven belt was my next selection - and that proved to be equally problematic! At my natural waist, I can't even punch in more holes, because the metal prong is already in the woven leather (which, FYI, isn't dense enough to keep it there). When using the narrowest circumference, it's already 32"!

The densely woven belt seems to be the type of thing that actually goes around your real waist (not your hips) because it's so wide (2 1/2"). Here's the picture of me with it at 26 1/2" wide around my waist (measured from the end of the metal prong to where it enters the leather). It looks completely silly because the tongue just flops around without any means of securing it!

Now that Banana Republic and Ann Taylor have both dipped into the 00 and even XXS game, they should really increase the sizes for their belt selections too! I bet even those women that are size 0 or 2 could use the help!

With all this trouble in finding a (quasi-)functional belt, it's no big surprise that I never quite figured out how to use a belt to accessorize! (By the way, I'm wearing the jeans that I wrote about in my post regarding gaining weight for my pants!)

Labels: ,

May 02, 2007

I Spy a Height Site

I'm basically not a fan of these compilation sites, as they aren't really guides so much as nicely edited advertising pages with little to zero original content. (Perhaps I'm just annoyed I didn't think of this super minimal effort money-making scheme first....) But I admit that got a kick out of the fact that this guide to tallness was listed in the Google ad's sidebar "Related Pages" section, right next to my emailed conversations about being really short in the Netherlands. Way to go Google! Completely the opposite topic, but I guess you got me (and everyone else reading this) to click anyway, right?

The main site generally focuses on the typical 'helpful websites' that point towards clothing, tall advice, dating, etc. The short subsection, cheerfully reached by clicking on this snazzy graph, is mostly a somberer collection of support sites (sans clothing sites), advice, and dating tips. I guess it's a nice after-thought, but couldn't you guys have picked a better graphic???


April 27, 2007

Petite Salvation (of a sort) - the Rise of the Tween Shopper

I read this NY Times article, Tweens 'R' Shoppers, with a bizarre mix of pleasure/horror. Like every other business sector (computing/electronic companies probably realized this first), the apparel industry has realized that younger and younger children are having a greater influence over how their parents decide to spend their money. Armed with ready cash or credit card, kids are much more sophisticated and independent shoppers than in years past.

There has been an explosion of attention towards the growing tween market - older than little kids, younger than true teenagers; anywhere from age 8 to 12, depending on the definition. Part of it is caused by parents wanting to dress up their kids, part of it is kids wanting to dress like the fashion spreads. Either way, it's pushing down more choice and range into this demographic. One in which I'm essentially a member due to size.

I'm closer in shape to a tween than to an adult woman. You know the shape - less curve, but not no curve, and more straight lines than the average "fully developed" woman. It's often easier to find better fitting clothing shopping in the 10-12 year old middle school girls section - where I have found myself to be shorter than most of the 10 year olds.

At first blush, the increased selection just sounds like a fabulous windfall. How convenient! I, and every other sub 5'0" petite woman should just swoop into the nearest Abercrombie and call it a day. It'd even be cheaper than shopping in the more young adult audienced Abercrombie & Fitch! How cute we'd all look, how positively easier it'd be to shop, and how dressed to kill we'd be for that next middle school party!

So, of course, that's the catch: The clothes may fit better than everything else out there, but style-wise, it's doubtful that most of the garments could be used in more grown-up settings. Let's face facts: we're really just grateful freeloaders in this youthful age and size range. While we'll certainly get a wider variety of casual and basic clothing (you and your daughter can be twins!), the particular work apparel items that are most sensitive to fit problems (and difficult to find) will never exist for tweens.

But hey! At least it's something - right?

Labels: ,