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?

June 13, 2006

Talbots Store Review: A Short Disappointment

525 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

I have to admit that I very reluctantly entered the store today - mostly to give it a fair shake with a fresh look. As soon as I entered the door, I was already confused. The store was several floors, and as usual, the petite's section was not on ground level. I consulted the floor directory and my eye immediately latched onto "Talbots Woman" on the 3rd floor. Maybe it was from walking into several department stores recently, but somehow "petite" became instantly knocked out of my brain. I'm a woman, I thought (duh). This must be my section.

Entering the elevator, I was soon confronted with the truth. Indeed, the phrase "Talbots Woman" wasn't really an indication of brand loyalty and gender, but a euphamism for "large Tablots Woman." Not only was I wrong about my section for sizing, but it wasn't even for petites! Another woman in the elevator confided that she had gotten confused too.

When I stepped out on the 4th floor, I kicked into browse mode. Ok, some of the stuff was definitely wearable. I started leafing through a rack of skirts (hung woefully high, I might add!), looking for a 0P. I could have sworn that they carried this stuff. Well, after going through several different styles, I confronted the sales staff. Excuse me, I asked, what is the smallest size here?

The answer shocked me because I swear that they used to carry 0P. Maybe it's a function of wishful thinking or turbo-advanced old age (yeah I know, I'm only 20-something), but I was wrong. NO 0P stuff at all!!!! The smallest size in the store was a 2P. And yes, I tried stuff on that totally didn't fit me (what a surprise). With that, I became fully despaired. Some of the stuff shows promise, even if it is a little, eh, old. The website even helpfully gives inseams for pants! (A cause for some confusion as a pair of pants I brought up had the unfathomable measurements of 32" for misses, 29 1/2" for petites, 31" for woman, and 28" for petite woman. I guess heavier older women are pressumed to not wear heels?)

Talbots has completely abandoned all attempts at capturing the young (maybe fashionable) audience! Ok, sure, you have to admit they're not strong on the fashionable side of the equation, but there are certainly enough young, not too picky women that'd like a fair selection too, at a reasonable price. Overall, their prices weren't that much lower than for the lower end stuff at Banana Republic or Ann Taylor (though my complaint about crappy fiber content is still valid - check out the amout of polyester being used!). Heck, label us as unfashionable, but don't cut us short and skinny people out completely!

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Blogger Steven Swain said...

My mom's 58 and she won't shop at Talbots because it's too musty and conservative for her, so I can imagine how you feel as a 20-something in there.

In terms of how "special sizes" are hidden; I'm soewhat suprise they didn't reverse the petites and plus-size floors. I know at Saks, petites (before they took it out) was on the 7th or 8th floor (not sure) and somewhat visble but plus-size was well-hidden up on the 10th floor.

June 13, 2006 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anderkoo said...

I'm not sure what the euphemisms are, exactly, but "Woman", "Miss", "Junior" and "Petite" all mean something.

June 15, 2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

In the early days of ready-to-wear apparel, all clothing was made to a boxy "women's" size. Shaplier women wanted something more flattering, so the "misses" or "missy" sizes soon appeared and became the standard.

"Petite" sizes are the shorter verion of misses and women's sizes. When misses sizes became the standard, women's sizes became "plus-size."

As the youth of America expanded and got taller with less defined curves, the industry responded with "juniors" sizes.

June 17, 2006 6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get over your short petite little self and go to a petite store for young girls! Talbots has never said they were for the 20 set, but for classical woman's clothing. My 20 something daughter wouldn't be caught dead in Talbots clothes....but I would. Are petite people too short to walk to an upper floor???

September 25, 2007 2:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...I guess some people have life so easy. I have NEVER heard anyone complain over what floor they had to go to. You did not even have to walk up the stairs....really, was it that challenging to get there? If you get confused at a clothing store, I can not imagine how difficult your day must be. Good luck, and I hope you find a SIMPLE store that is full of your size on the FIRST floor with cute little racks.

July 20, 2010 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very whining post! The store is not meant for you any more than the men's department would be. It's like complaining a steak house doesn't serve vegetarian food.

June 07, 2012 12:04 PM  

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