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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