Petite Choices in Charlotte, NC
Steve Swain was kind enough to send me a link to Popular Shopping Resources For Petite Clothing in the Charlotte Observer. Crystal Dempsey was doing a series about different clothing resources for women with "different body types" (i.e., "deviants" like plus sized, tall, and petite women). Ironically, as I've been finding, paying more to live in a big city gives more choices - except when you're looking for petite clothes. I frankly don't see that much more selection in NYC than in Charlotte, NC.
It was definitely interesting to read the comments and suggestions that Dempsey received. Now, Charlotte isn't a tiny backwoods hick town (despite whatever Southern jokes people may crack), but it isn't exactly known for its cutting edge fashion either. Charlotte is somewhere you'd expect people to be a little more conservative in dress, and a few seasons behind on the latest trends.
New Yorkers will delightfully tear Talbots to shreds. (and then embarrassingly walk in because, hey, there's still occasionally stuff that works!) Perhaps North Carolineans (?) are more forgiving? Maybe not. Beth Johnston mentioned that Talbots clothing was "guaranteed to fit and sort of stylish. The better stuff doesn't look too much like my mother...." Ouch. Well Talbots, be glad that your clients are settling for stuff that isn't too terrible! J. Jill is said to be the "same as Banana Republic, only not trendy." It's not only the sharp-tongued urbanites grousing about frumpy wares!
Interestingly, while stores like Banana Republic and J. Jill were mentioned, the only department store mentioned was Macy's - specifically its International Concepts, I.N.C., line. "You will not find the typical polyester, flowered 'grandma' type styles." Isn't it strange that no one mentioned the Nordstrom in town? Perhaps they don't stock petites in this particular location? Just another reminder that retailers do take regional variances into account (too few petites probably).
Unsurprisingly, great customer service is a big plus no matter where you live. Cinch was recommended despite the lack of petite sizes because "the ladies are terrific at finding what works on the vertically challenged." If only we had great customer service up here (that didn't cost a million bucks)!
The bottom line, though, is that mail ordering is the bread and butter of the petite woman's closet. And although I personally wouldn't buy anything from Lands' End or L.L. Bean (both unstylish and way too big for me), they certainly do supply quite a few petites with the garments they need.