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?

December 29, 2006

Shopping Spree Help Requested From a Reader

December 22nd, 2006

Hi Amy,

I like your blog I stumbled upon it while looking for a gift for my wife. I need some advice and was hoping that you could help. I am looking to give my wife a mini shopping spree in New York for the holidays, and I was hoping you could tell me where the best shops/boutiques for petites are in the city.

She has such a hard time finding things that fit, I thought this would be a nice gift. Any assistance you could provide would be great.


Hi Zach -

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I've been very bad about updating it lately, but hopefully, I'll be a little more prolific soon. Thanks for reaching out to me for advice!

As far as what your wife might like, it really does depend on what kind of price range you're willing to spend, what sort of items she likes wearing, and whether she's able to fit into regular missy clothing (with alterations). A word to the wise - NYC has a better selection, but it's still not a shopping mecca for petites. There's always a lot of give and take in regards to the style/fit/price that taller women won't have. Also, as you might have noticed, I personally tend towards the more practical side than fashionable (due to my size/price restrictions), but I'll try to give you some help.

My main suggestion is that if you can afford it and she's not short waisted, to go to a department store and get missy clothing altered. If it's a spree, it really is a luxury to get all her pieces to
actually fit well. Obviously, it's annoying not to walk straight out with something nice, but that's the way it goes for the petite. Actually, regardless of where she winds up shopping, try to persuade her to get alterations if things don't fit perfectly. It makes a huge difference. The associates at the high end stores do get a lot of customers that are short and thin, so they know if things can be altered properly, and which brands might be a better match. A personal shopper would be really helpful to help your wife out in selecting things and making sure they're a good fit physically and aesthetically.

Saks has reinstated its petite section on the 9th floor - although I honestly haven't had a chance to really check it out yet. Bloomingdales does have a petites section, but they've definitely cut
back on it, and it's not great (then again, most places don't have a petite's section at all). I happen to like Bergdorf Goodman because of their service and atmosphere, but they don't carry petites clothing (only thinner clothing) and neither does Barney's. Again, if she's
taller and can pull it off, that's my suggestion.

If she's really short proportioned, then it's going to be more difficult. Since it's going to be a special trip for her, I hesitate to suggest the usual Banana Republic/Ann Taylor/Brooks Brothers thing, but it does work, since they are better proportioned for shorter women. Make sure to visit the flagships to get the best service. You mentioned that she has trouble finding things that fit - but she wears clothes from somewhere! Conservatively, a shopping spree for that brand would also work out (but again, a shopping spree is a good opportunity to find some other brands other than the tried and true....)

If your wife is a little more sure of her fashion sensibility and doesn't particularly like department store environments, a trip to SoHo would be fun. I can't offer you any particular advice on where to go since I don't know your wife's style - but many of the places
there are owned and operated by the designers themselves. I went to Calvin Tran's store and he was walking around the store helping people out. Similarly, Zoolook was able to specially alter dresses for me and do custom work as well (and the owner is the designer). I can't personally afford it, but if cost isn't so much an issue, and she can't find her size, your wife can
probably talk these designers into making something specifically for her shape.

Finally, if she's not looking for designer wear, she can get things custom tailored instead. I know Dara Lamb on Park does do full bespoke for women. They charge an arm and a leg, but I don't know too many other notable places that do full custom for women. Admittedly, I have not used them, but they produce quality items.

Good luck with the shopping spree planning! The main thing for a successful trip is to council patience with trying things on and being honest about whether things fit. If you'd like more specific guidance, let me know what her shape and style is like, and I'll try my best.

Don't forget, a slightly larger spree/vacation to Asia is always an option! Labor is cheap and sizing is smaller....

All the best and happy holidays,

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December 25, 2006

It is a problem that the very tall face when confronted with the very tiny...

From Dinosaur Comics, November 12th, 2006.

Happy Holidays!


December 22, 2006

It's a Compliment - Really

"You look twelve," said an older woman. At the time, I was currently spacing out, clutching my oranges, waiting to pay. I whipped around to see who was speaking to me. Lo and behold, I was not the 'lucky' recipient of such a comment. Instead, it was a young mother waiting in line behind the older speaker.

Mommy didn't actually say anything to the comment, and the older woman must have realized that she overstepped somewhere. "It's a compliment," she backpedaled. She helpfully offered it up as an explanation - since Mommy was obviously too dense to 'get it'. I mean, doesn't every self-respecting mom want to look pre-legal? No comment from Mommy still. Older lady made a beeline to the exit.

I glanced over and noticed the kid. Now, I'm not exactly as accurate as say, most people, in guessing children's ages. The height throws me off (middle and even elementary school children are sometimes taller than me). But he had to be at least 5, but younger than 10. The kid was way closer to 12 than his mommy. I couldn't help but wonder, how exactly was she supposed to take that as a compliment? That she looks like a pre-teen mother? Or a little girl? No offense, but except for her height, there's no way this woman was less than 25, even sans kid as proof.

Awkwardly, I offered my sympathy by telling her, "I get that all the time" as she left. Not exactly comforting, but hey, what can you possibly say?

Word to the wise. It's never complimentary to tell a woman that she looks like she's 12 year old. Definitely don't try that at the bar guys.

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