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?

August 03, 2006

Size 5 Feet - Sometimes It Pays to Be Small

I almost never walk into a Kenneth Cole because the prices are just high - even on sale. But I promised to meet a friend at Grand Central this past weekend and needed to kill some time before he arrived. Actually, I took a wrong turn (sorry, I'm not a Grand Central navigation pro yet!) and thought I was going into the Banana Republic, but stuck around in Kenneth Cole when I noticed that there was a 70% off the sale prices sale.

Well! That makes a huge difference. I went through the clothes for a few minutes but realized that nothing would fit me. If you're a normal sized person, those items were downright inexpensive, so you should give it a shot! As an example, I picked up 2 men's button down shirts for a friend for $18 each instead of the full price of $79.50.

For me, what I really noticed was the shoe section. Most of the shoes were the random assortment of large sizes or left over ugly shoes. But more importantly, I realized that Kenneth Cole actually carries size 5 and 5 1/2 shoes in its retail store! If you have small feet like me, you realize that finding a pair of shoes smaller than a 6 is a nightmare, as a lot of stores only carry the smaller sizes online.

Lately, I've stuck to the Zenswa style that Reebok makes, with a split sole. They're very light and very comfortable - but the outer toe area tends to wear out quickly. I've been meaning to replace them for a while, and finally found my opportunity here. I found a whole stack of size 5 sneakers called Sneak a Boo II that were rather nice and I tried them on. Talk about a sweet deal - they were originally $125, but I paid $24. When I left the store, I had 2 pairs of shoes and 2 men's dress shirts. The total bill? $83.98.

For the small footed, it seems crazy is that stores no longer typically carry size 5's or 5 1/2's - even though they're still in the standard non-specialty size range. In places like Manhattan you'd think that they'd sell well, but I guess that's the way it goes. I've always had an issue with the seemingly unfathomable size allocations for stores (how many of what size is carried on a location to location basis), but there's not much I can do about that.

Now, for those of you out there that live in suburbia, be thankful that stores still stock rather inefficiently because if you're in the upper or lower ranges of sizing, sale days are fabulous. I should know - I'm from Long Island! (No jokes, please - or at least make it original!) Roosevelt Field Mall, the 10th largest in the country, was (and probably still is) this pristine field of too many size 0P's and size 5 shoes during sale season. So for all you guys and gals out there that are too small - try hitting up the nearest suburbs for a great deal!

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Blogger Steven Swain said...

You at Kenneth Cole is like me at Nordstrom. Fit my feet and I'm a happy customer. :-)

August 03, 2006 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anderkoo said...

I imagine that the economics in the city is even harsher than out in the 'burbs -- with retail and storage space at a premium, I can see why a shop would regress to the mean, unless it's a specialty shop.

August 04, 2006 5:33 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Banana Republic and Ann Taylor already have individual specialty stores in areas for petites. They could have something similar for small or large shoes. Some shoe stores advertise the expanded offering of size 11 without doing the same for smaller sizes. I guess I'd really have to see numbers to not suspect some level of irrational size bias.

August 05, 2006 12:38 AM  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

If you're willing to splurge (a lot), Stuart Weitzman also sells teeny tiny shoe sizes. Some of his shoes go as small as size 4. I think he has a large Asian (immigrant) clientele.

September 14, 2006 4:44 PM  
Anonymous nancy said...

for those of you who shop at ann taylor loft, they are no longer selling size 5 shoes, not even on their website. 5.5 is the smallest they sell. i find this to be disturbing, especially since i discovered only recently that at old nave the smallest size you can buy online is a size 6. here's my question?: in 10 years will you even be able to buy a size 6 in stores? and what will be the fate of size 5s by then?

March 15, 2007 10:55 PM  
Anonymous jane said...

since average shoe size for women has risen to 8.5, i'm not surprised that this is happening. i just wish there was something we could do about it. the fact is however that size 11s are now closer to average size than a size 5 is. so they really dont care very much about the very tiny niche we represent.

March 19, 2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

we are miniscule :) but even so, being 1% say (don't quote me...i'm not really sure), of the population is still pretty huge as a total number of people to sell to. c'mon niche brands!

i was unaware that 8.5 is average. that explains why it seemed the average "sample shoe" in the aldo i just peeked into had size 38s and 39s out.

March 19, 2007 6:20 PM  
Anonymous jane said...

yes, a size 39 is the same as an 8.5. i understand from a friend of mine who works in the shoe industry is that it's mainly women around 25 years old and under who are driving shoe shoe size average way up. he says 8.5 to 10.5 is around average among this group, and that they have pushed the average size from a size 7 to an 8.5 in the last 20 or so years. this is why you are seeing places like ann taylor loft stop selling size 5s. to them a size 5 is basically the equivalent of what a size 3.5 was in the 80s. what did you think average shoe size was amy?

March 20, 2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I didn't think of it at all for the most part :) Basically, average doesn't apply so why hassle yourself with the details?

If I were to speculate, I guess I would have realized that 8.5 made sense. But I was really surprised that they were out, since I basically thought most of the floor samples are in the smallest size?

March 20, 2007 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that anything below a size 6 will be considred specialty or child size within a few years. we already see very few stores even bothering to stock anyting smaller so i thik its only a matter of time till we reach they day when we can only get shoes online. don't you agree?

March 23, 2007 4:14 PM  

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