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?

February 23, 2007

Cheap, Fast, and Painless Way to Grow 12 Inches!

No, it's not some warped XXX ad or some crazy growth hormone.... Unlike either of those, this one is proven to work!

I love to make homemade soups and stocks, so I bought this pot a while ago. Cheap too at around $100 - pasta and steamer basket included. Disclaimer: cracker box is only used to demonstrate size. Buyer is solely responsible for producing edible items.

But since I live in a tiny Manhattan apartment, I ran out of places to store it. No sweat though, as I wound up just leaving it out - and I'm glad I did! Most of my storage space is way above my head, and I'd been meaning to get a step stool. But I soon realized I didn't need to - I already had one built in! This lovely multi-purpose household aid added a full foot to my height. Suddenly, even the cabinets above the fridge were easy to reach! It was also pretty helpful in giving me a boost to standing on my miniscule kitchen counter (for those hard to reach top shelves).

While I certainly will say don't try this at home, you do have to wonder for yourself - just exactly how strong is stainless steel? I haven't a clue, but is anyone out there able to calculate what weight limit this pot can support?

Labels: ,

February 20, 2007

At 5'3" Even Professional Critical Shoppers Have Trouble

Zarah Crawford begins her NY Times Critical Shopper piece, Vintage Clothes With an Eye on Tomorrow, noting that "at just under 5-foot-3, with a body my mother describes as 'well covered,' I often find my love of high fashion to be a sadly one-sided affair." This statement, posted in an article just after NY Fashion Week concluded, highlights one of the problems that non-standard shaped people have with high fashion. If the shoe doesn't fit, my dear fellow Stepsister, you're just not Cinderella in Designerland.

What's worthy of note is that 5'3" is just an inch under average height for a woman in the United States. I personally have already written off designer wear because I'd have to perform radical and expensive surgery on the already expensive garments for things to fit - and potentially destroying the elements and proportions that make it notable to begin with. I mean, what can you do when the waist of the garment is at your hip bone? The very fact that a woman of average height and probably higher budget has the same problems makes it even more troubling. I mean I hate to ask again, but how tall do designers expect their clients to be to wear this stuff? 5'7"? 5'9"?

Crawford's review of Frock, seems generous and hopefully, particularly for a shorty like me. She starts by uttering the statement that I've become fond of when entering unknown stores: Do you have anything to fit me? The answer for her is yes! So it's no surprise that I'm anxious to try this place out.

The knowledgeable owners helped her find a few things that worked, and Crawford even purchased something that "fitted like it was made for [her]." At a full 5" height disadvantage to Crawford, I still intend to hit Frock up sometime this week to get my own impressions. Hopefully, the owners are as knowledgeable as she claims them to be. And after all, vintage is one of the suggested options for smaller and shorter people. And you know what? It's good that some benefit can come from our parents' and grandparents' nutritional woes!

Labels: , ,

February 15, 2007

How I Got Inside the Tents, or How I Hope I Won't Get Denied Next Time Around Because I Wrote This

People are probably wondering how in the world I got past the security checkpoints at Bryant Park last week. While I'd love to say that it was because of the slew of invitations, my killer wardrobe, or my ability to sneak through several layers of security every day, I actually got in the old-fashioned way: through press credentials. I have to say, I was surprised how easily I managed to get access, but apparently, blogging is now an acceptable 'in' for the shows. (Silly me, for not realizing they realized it sooner!)

Certainly, at this point in time, there's no possible way for bloggers to NOT have access to the shows. Maybe not to the extent that Courtorture managed to last season (see the article below). But it's a guarantee that someone in the guest list blogs and will be posting. Obviously, traditional outlets (and publicists) just can't control the flow of information like they used to. Ignore the blogger at your peril.

Sheryl B., a fashion stylist I met at the tents the first night, was kind enough to send me Bloggers in Tents: Fashion Warms to New Media, posted at According to the article, the show organizers decided to officially open up the shows because "these are credible journalists, and if that's the way news is being distributed, then we want to be a part of it." And yes, the 221 official shows were underattended by the "important people" (i.e., buyers, celebrities, traditional media editors), so I guess we were acceptable filler.

Ok, so all this may be true, but they don't officially tell you a few things. Certainly, it's a means of damage control. Woo those bloggers with access and maybe you'll win them over to the merits of your brand (Hey, there's a reason why brands bother with these shows. They're more impressive in person than from a computer, paging through It's also a means of officially keeping a sense of exclusivity at these events while maintaining audience membership. Joe Schmo still can't waltz right in through the front door and get a seat (even if half the shows are not so well attended by the invited guests).

As you can see from my pass, it allows lobby access only, not guaranteed entry to the shows. The organizers for each particular label's show control their lists - not the Fashion Week organizers. I certainly wasn't on the show lists. To be fair, my experience is marred by the fact that I signed up last minute, so there wasn't time to invite me even if they wanted to. But I suspect most bloggers who signed up way in advance still didn't get invitations into the show unless they're big. The Sartorialist being a good example. (Scott, did I actually see you in the front row for Anna Sui?) I definitely met quite a few other bloggers, in the waitlist line for each of the shows I attended. What was interesting was that the waitlist also had plenty of invitation holding guests as well. Yup, you read correctly. Even if you RSVP, you still don't get guaranteed anything unless you're important to the designers. You're there to fill in the empty seats if the editor/buyer/celeb doesn't show up. Just like me.

The other thing they don't tell you is that press access isn't free. Anyone wearing one of the dangly passes above paid to play. Depending on when you registered, each pass granted costs $50-$100. And I highly doubt the NY Times and Vogue writers needed to pay (they got invitations to each of the shows). Only the little guys (and gals) like me did. As someone in the press access line ahead of me told me, our registrations got held up because to a certain extent, we don't actually matter to them.

While I'm certainly grateful to get my foot in the tent without a huge hassle (even with the fee), I definitely maintain my skepticism that the sudden inclusiveness is ushering a new era of press democratization. Maybe you'll get an invite next time around if something you say is particularly noteworthy by the designer. But don't forget that even the NY Times can be revoked for a bad review too (and the designers can be likewise publicly punished for doing so). Actually, maybe the waitlist and the standing room aren't so bad. You can't exactly be slapped by an uninvite unless you were allowed at the party in the first place. And after all, I still maintain that the best viewing spots (trumped only by the front row) are actually in the standing room areas.

Or maybe it's because I'm too short to otherwise see.

Labels: ,

February 13, 2007

Designers for Darfur

Lest anyone think that NY Fashion Week is just an 8-day self-absorbed commercial event, the last runway show I went to was a charity and awareness event organized by Designers For Darfur on February 9th at the Roseland Ballroom. I was invited to the event last minute, but I was happy to tag along to see how it would turn out. The organization was recently founded to help bring international attention and donations to Africa's Darfur region, and this was their first event. Guests were encouraged to commit donation pledges after watching a video, highlighting the effects that the genocide has had upon the region, and the show. I don't think anyone in the entire room was unaware of what was going on in Darfur prior to the video, but it definitely served as a sobering reminder.

40+ well-known designers each donated a look for the show - a very impressive feat organized by DFD founders Malcolm Harris, a designer for Mal Sirrah, and Lydia Hearst, heiress and model. Designers were from Heatherette, Chado Ralph Rucci, Malandrino, Donna Karan, Carmen Marc Valvo, Baby Phat, etc. - a wide cross-section of styles and customer bases. All of the runway looks are actually for auction on eBay, with all proceeds given to charity (find better shots by clicking on the photo above).

A lot of effort was put into the front-end of the show - the designers were obviously top-notch and so were the models. The Roseland isn't a minor venue either. I have no doubt that the organizers really believed in this event and pushed as hard as they could, hoping for a greater media splash. Unfortunately, it didn't really come to fruition. It was not actually covered as anything other than another show in most media outlets (if it wasn't ignored completely, which was most of the time). Perhaps everyone was tired by the full week of 200+ shows already given. The other charity event, the Red Dress Collection, to raise national awareness for heart disease in women, actually snagged a First Lady and plenty of press power by kick-starting the week on the first day of shows, in the tents. Obviously, timing didn't exactly explain everything either.

Even the event's own sponsors didn't really push it. Looking through sponsor websites, only Fashion Television actually posted any information about the event. Yet, the nagging truth is that of course, no one had to bother participating at all. Say what you will about their reasons for helping out, it's commendable that at the very least, they made an effort and a commitment.

You can learn more at the Save Darfur Coalition.

Labels: ,

February 09, 2007

The High-Heeled Take a Fall - Off the Runway

I have definitely not been dressing to impress at the tents. Jeans, flat shoes, and maybe a dressy jacket on a good day. Slap on some makeup, and I'm good to go. I was dressed to be comfortable standing around for a few hours. Looking around, it was clear that most of the women (and some of the men), were not taking practicality into account. Not surprising, given the event!

Honestly, I felt like I was the only girl in the place not wearing towering heels, except for the working crew (most of them, anyway). Obviously, my runway view while standing would have been slightly better had I been wearing heels - but is 5'2" going to be much better than 4'10" anyway?

I was in the waitlist/standing line a lot of the time, and every so often, I'd hear a resigned variation of the "my feet hurt" refrain. Unsurprising, given the huge numbers of wedges, pumps, and boots around me. I do wonder, however, if their footwear choice would have been slightly different had they realized how booby-trapped the tents are!

Most of the uncarpeted lobby is cobblestoned - which is difficult enough to manage when it's well-lit, you're sober, and not tired! Right before the shows start letting people in, it's often incredibly crowded in the lobby, so it's easy to lose your footing as well.

But once you get past security to enter the show corridor (past the security guard in the 3rd picture), you need to navigate up the stairs. So, going up is no big deal really, but I've already seen, firsthand, three young women go tumbling down the flight while coming out of the show, into the lobby. Twice, a security guard caught them, midflight. Once, the woman actually landed, but luckily didn't hurt herself. I wonder if the vast number of security guards are really there to protect us from ourselves more than to prevent disorderly conduct!

During shows, all eyes are on the runway, and model wipe outs become something of a shocking and tragically memorable mishap. But come on, these girls are actually professionals! The shoes are super-strapped to their feet (see my commentary here on dressing them). Not only are the runways flat and the women practiced, but most of the shows put a plastic sheet over them to protect the surface from any dirt or loose pebbles that could lead to disaster. The sheet comes off moments before the start. If anyone should be worrying about a spill, it's the audience!

House lights are usually not so illuminating, and the seats are jammed right into each other. Narrow risers and stairs are almost unavoidable. Electrical lines, tripod legs, and taped signs on the floor give plenty of snaggable opportunities. Believe me, I've been in the stand room sections a lot - all the way up in the nosebleed section. It's pretty damn steep and you don't want to fall down the stairs!

If you're lucky and are cool enough to get a seat by invitation (or fast enough to snag one when they need to fill up the house), you have 15 minutes of seated bliss. The standing room section is not kind to those that can't keep their balance. When the lights are off, and everyone's shifting around to get a good look, it sometimes feels like the subway during rush hour.

Once the show's over, the mad surge by the entire audience to the lobby is another source of consternation. Good luck with the stairs, wires, impatient people, and everything else in your way! You're won the game if you make it outside onto the sidewalk without any mishaps.

I tell you, looking fabulously fashionable isn't easy! You're freezing in your skimpy outfit (or boiling with your fur coat inside), your bag's huge and heavy, your feet hurt like hell, and your shoes just might get you killed. But really, if you aren't suffering, you aren't trying hard enough! How else will you get in that shot, taken by an intrepid photographer? Well, you definitely won't be seeing me in any fashion spreads this week. I'll pass on the photo-op and aim for practical (and less costly) comfort!

Labels: ,

February 07, 2007

The Photographers' Pit - Tighter Than Moshing!

I enjoy paying attention to things that other people aren't covering. Particularly, what happens behind the stage - all the unglamorous work that goes into these productions. Today, I managed to snag a few photos of the photographers in action.

I seem to have this weird fascination with the photographers' pit - I really can't explain it. Definitely some admiration mixed in, as these guys allow the fashion sites, blogs, and papers to plaster their pages with money shots. They aren't the TV crews in the lobby or on the floor doing celebrity interviews or 'spot the fashionista.' If you stand or sit near the pit during the shows, you can actually hear the constant staccato 'click click click' throughout the show - even with the music blasting.

It's amazing how quickly they can get in and out with all their stuff. Certainly, they're pros, but nonetheless, they have their heavy duty camera, a stand, a laptop, and sometimes a step ladder to get better angles.

As far as I can tell, their days are pretty simply mapped out. The professional photographers get passes that allow them to get in and out of shows before the general public. Typically, they seem to head into shows about half an hour before seating opens up to set up their equipment and guard their spots. As soon as the last model walks off the stage and the designer does his/her walk out from backstage to receive the applause, they're packing and getting out of the room quickly. If they have a show right after another, they pack up and are crossing over to the next tent room. Wherever I wind up stationed in the room, when I pass by the pit leaving, most of the photographers are gone. When I'm being herding out to the lobby, I often hear the security guards guiding them over to the next entrance and telling them to line up outside the doors.

Some of the more enterprising photographers snag an empty seat or stand way in the back to get a differently angled shot than the crowd in the pit. The second picture shows a model being photographed by both the pit and a photographer sitting near me.

When they're done for the day, they wind up sending their photographs via laptop and wireless to their editors and call it a day. Typically, you see a ton of them hanging around, having a drink, and maybe even taking some shots of the audience. The MAC and IMG lounges in the lobby were particular favorites of theirs, as they offered plenty of space and seating.

Anyway, here goes a synopsis of the photos. The first is the set up for the Michon Schur show in the Salon tonight. If you look above the photographers, you can see the set up for the lights before they start megawatting the runway. The second photo is during the Dragana Ognjenovic show, another smaller designer, in the Showroom. The model is at the foot of the runway, just about to pause in her pose. Third shot - going back to Michon Schur, this is the pit in action, with the lights up and cameras aimed. It's not surprising that most of the models can't see a thing when they step out.

I've been meaning to get the fourth photo all week, but never managed to till today because of the crowds. The more reputable or important photographers get their own taped off 'box' in the pit. I'm more than positive that watching the pit during a shoot would be incredibly interesting. Just in case you were wondering, the photographers do get some help as they do have a set of steps inside.

The last shot is during the Anna Sui show in the huge Tent room. This show was packed, hot, and crazy. The pit was a sardine tin! I swear, when the models were at the foot of the runway, there was almost a surge forward by the cameras.

Although I have to offer a disclaimer - the next few days of posts won't have anything to do with petite fashion - I hope that readers will find the coverage interesting and informative anyway!

Labels: ,

February 06, 2007

Big Girl, You Are Beautiful to Max Azria

When the music started playing and the models walking out, I started laughing hysterically. For at least half the show, and all of the finale, Max Azria had Mika's Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) pumping in the background. I was far from the only one noticing the choice of music, although most of the comments I heard were in regards to how fun it was (it is indeed, a happy bouncing tune, perfectly energetic for the runway), or just remarking about the song at all.

How ironic that this song was used, as the Council of Fashion Designers of America just met that morning to talk about what they're going to do about the issue of skinny models (in tactfully decided to interpret the music choice as that "to hammer home the point that the three-season-old Max Azria line is more grown-up than its sibling, BCBG Max Azria."

Yeah, um, sure. I never heard the song before last night and was highly amused during the entire show (from SweetLyrics):

Big girl you are beautiful

Walks in to the room
Feels like a big balloon
I said hey girl you are beautiful
Diet coke and a pizza please
Diet coke im on my knees
Screaming, big girl you are beautiful

You take your skinny girl
I feel like im gonna die
Coz a real woman needs a (real man has why)
You take your girl and multiply about four
Now a whole lot of woman needs a whole lot more
Curves in the right places

The NY Times's article today about the dilemma of unhealthy models, Looking Beyond the Runway For Answers on Underweight Models, hits upon most of the complications of the recent discussions. Yes, it is complicated, and the other activities mentioned that put a strong emphasis on weight gain or loss show this (dancing, wrestling, jockeying, etc).

Regardless, whether as a protest against artist limitation or as a jab to the hysteria, the song and show definitely stuck in my head! (And sorry, Max Azria didn't back the song up with appropriately large ladies - the models were still typically thin, athough I guess according to the Times, not quite as thin or as young as last season's go around.)

Labels: , ,

February 05, 2007

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Fall 2007

When I told one of my friends I was trying to decide what time to visit Bryant Park last Saturday, he advised me to avoid the area entirely for the next week. After all, that crazy fashion week thing tends to cause a big snarl up with activity - the skating rink even had to close early! When I told him that the shows were the reason I was going, he was a little incredulous that I was seriously willing to submit myself to the crowds. Heck, I was a bit surprised myself!

I have incredibly mixed feelings about going this week. Certainly, I can say that I wanted to experience how things were as a regular (waitlist) show attendee from the front stage. No dressing models this time around. Instead, I walked through the front doors and just watched a lot of shows. The only show that I can even pretend was related to petite clothing was the Ellen Tracy show I just came from tonight - and none of the stuff coming down the runway was likely to be the final petite selection anyway (no, no petite models, don't be silly!). But honestly, despite my somewhat ruthless and unsentimental view about the shows (i.e., the week long clothing commerical), I confess that I still am a bit caught up in the whole hoopla and glamour. As a woman, I think it's probably near impossible to avoid it.

Anyway, I'll try to post a bit about my experience and upload some non-standard photos. Like my previous posts on fashion week, I'm probably not going to bother posting the usual stock photos since there are hundreds of lovelier ones elsewhere - check out and NY Magazine's coverage. Since this is my first experience with the shows from this end, I'll try to share that experience with you, rather than give any post-show analysis. I know I'll be fixated by the camera pit again, so I apologize in advance!

This shot is actually of the center lobby space, right around the fountain. The waitlist line wraps around it, and generally, it's set up for you to admire the accessories. Note the screens - they play through the previous shows so that you have something to watch while waiting for your late-starting show.

Labels: ,