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?

November 13, 2006

Brooks Brothers, You Broke My Heart

Yes, dear readers, I know I suck for not posting in a timely fashion. But I just got a new job recently, and then I somehow got a little too caught up watching political commercials on YouTube of the midterm elections. Come on, I know you were watching something on YouTube too. I get an ounce of leeway, right?

I have committed myself to finding a decent charcoal grey or navy blue suit for fall/winter. Somehow, even though I own 3 suits that I use, only one of them can be considered nondiscript (read: wearable more than once a week). So when Brooks Brothers had their twice a year 25% off for people with BB cards sale last week, I made a beeline for the 346 Madison Avenue store. After my last experience, which I reviewed here, I figured I should give it a try and land me a suit with expert (and cheap) alterations.

Alas! Tragedy struck when all the suits available either were ugly (what were they thinking????) or very large on me. Try as I might to plead with and beg the tailor, he refused to take in the pants (sides, seat, and waist) and the jacket (through the shoulders and shorten the sleeves) as much as I wanted and needed him to, because he was concerned with the structural integrity of the garment. That, or he was afraid to screw up a harder alteration....

I made an effort to try on some other things, and again, discovered that they were just too unmanageable by the tailor. They apparently daren't do anything that requires more than an inch, or even half an inch, of adjusting in the harder to fix areas (seat, waist, leg, shoulders, etc). They also seem to not want to screw around taking in women's jackets through the shoulders. I think, for most people, they'd do just fine in Brooks Brothers. Definitely, I still stand by their generous alteration policy and their merchandise quality. Most of you aren't so freakishly small.

After exhausting the poor sales woman to find me things that would be the right size and color, I wound up trying on a skirt to see if perhaps the genre would fit me better. As you can see, I probably need to have it nipped in about 4" also around to fit me like it's supposed to. At Brooks Brothers pricing, it's not particularly worth it to buy an expensive skirt when the suit jacket will never fit me without serious financial costs. Ah well, back to Banana Republic and Ann Taylor!

But wait....

On my way down from the women's department, I figured, why not, it can't hurt. I stopped by the boy's section. Yes, you heard me correctly. The fact that I felt ridiculous in there didn't help. Nor did the fact that I was still in the men's dressing room when the sales man walked through calling out that the store was closing. Guess who had a sheepish expression on when paying for her purchases? Straight up, I never admitted to the sales staff that I was buying the items for myself. Clearly though, I was. I mean, who else would I be buying this for? And why else would I be in the dressing room?

I discovered that all the boys pants are completely inappropriate for me because they're all pleated. And most of the button down shirts have button-down collars (too male for me). I also disturbingly discovered that I am apparently the same or lesser width as a 6-8 year old boy (size S) - according to Brooks Brothers. Isn't that pre-puberty by a more than a few years? Heck, it's pre-growth spurt prior to puberty! But through it all, I found that some of the items weren't half bad.

This button down shirt was quite nice, but of course, had the button down collar. Maybe I can get away with it.... Anyway, it fit me very well except for the fact that the sleeves were definitely too short for me when buttoned. So of course, I rolled them up. $34ish isn't so bad. Just wait for the sales to kick in.

The vest was a bit baggier than I liked, being for a, well honestly, flat chested boy. Of approximately 6-8 years of age. But it was a beautiful color and 100% lambswool for $37. Definitely cheaper than an equivalent in the women's department. The wool isn't scratchy either - it almost feels like merino.

I have to say, I've been mulling over my purchases for a few days now. The only reason to buy the shirt is to wear it to work, and I honestly can't pull that off without looking silly for noticeably wearing boys clothing. Even if it's practical and fits. I recall someone at a conference noticing a woman wearing men's pants immediately (don't ask me why he was looking at her pants!) and remarking on the strangeness of it.
I think I may keep the sweater. What do you think? (If you see a small Asian female running around Manhattan in this sweater, come up and say hi!)

But Brooks Brothers, I still feel like a jilted lover! The romance has ended, and of course, I should have known it was too good to be true! (for me anyway)

(I'll post the measurements soon...I need to get another measuring tape!)

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Blogger jj said...

Good luck at Banana Republic, I suspect that sizing creep is starting to affect their petite line. I'm usually a 2P and I was in there this weekend and needed a 0P... the saleslady even suggested a size smaller, but I was happy with the fit and they didn't stock 00P in that store. You're smaller than I am, so I hope you can find things that fit. BP is a godsend for work wear.

November 14, 2006 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anderkoo said...

Don't get me started on pleated pants. I don't know for whom they are flattering, but not men, IMHO.

November 14, 2006 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Tammy said...

Hi. I saw your post on a Yelp thread about finding petite sized clothing. J. Crew has nice suits in Petite sizes and they are smaller than Banana Republic. I've been searching for a wool vest too but can't find one that fits. The vest your wearing in the photo looks cute on you.

November 14, 2006 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

No way is J.Crew smaller than Banana. Size 0P at J.Crew floats on me while 0P at Banana is just a little too big.

November 16, 2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger marlen said...

Great reads, Amy - you sooo need to be writing for a major fashmag!

I tend to be a pretty broad-shouldered guy with a pretty big rump and after living in Asia for 4 years, I can totally feel your pain. I reached a point where I couldn't even consider buying pants there!


November 22, 2006 9:06 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

hi! i'm so glad i found this blog because i have the same exact problem too. i'm 4'11" and 86 lbs and it's definitely a drag never finding anything that fits just right. i'm actually on a mission to find a winter coat right now (maybe a long wool peacoat) but nothing i've tried fits. i stick to the european and brazillian brands, they run in smaller sizes. an American size 0 is about a size 3 in european sizes, from my experience. neways, good luck with the eternal hunt!

November 27, 2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger delaina said...

I'm 4'10" and 95 lbs and I got majorly lucky this Black Friday at Nordstrom Rack. They had an rack of dress pants, all under $25 each, in the juniors section.

I hit up on every size XS they had (BTW, why does any clothes label size pants that way?).

I actually bought 4 dress pants that fit my waist and hips! I haven't been able to buy pants for work in over a year. Now all I need are some size 4.5 pumps and I'll be able to go to the tailor.

The label on these pants was some obscure name that I can't find anything about: "no appt necessary." I am for SURE going to check out Nordstrom Rack much more often now. They also have plenty of shoes down to size 4, although I didn't find any this weekend.

November 27, 2006 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm also a fellow sufferer. I'm 4'11" and 91 lbs. Even 00P in Ann Taylor is a bit loose when it comes to pants (dresses work fine). The top is too long as well for me (my torso is a short compared to my legs). Does anyone have advice on how I can buy clothes from Brazil/ Japan without actually spending a thousand dollars to go there? Are there particular brands of clothing/ styles that are better?

Thanks for your help!

April 20, 2008 6:00 AM  
Blogger Keerthi said...

Hello, I'm also a fellow sufferer. I'm 5' and 91 lbs. Even 00P in Ann Taylor is a bit loose when it comes to pants (dresses work fine). The top is too long as well for me (my torso is a short compared to my legs). Does anyone have advice on how I can buy clothes from Brazil/ Japan without actually spending a thousand dollars to go there? Are there particular brands of clothing/ styles that are better?

Thanks for your help!

April 20, 2008 6:02 AM  

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