Petite Salvation (of a sort) - the Rise of the Tween Shopper
I read this NY Times article, Tweens 'R' Shoppers, with a bizarre mix of pleasure/horror. Like every other business sector (computing/electronic companies probably realized this first), the apparel industry has realized that younger and younger children are having a greater influence over how their parents decide to spend their money. Armed with ready cash or credit card, kids are much more sophisticated and independent shoppers than in years past.
There has been an explosion of attention towards the growing tween market - older than little kids, younger than true teenagers; anywhere from age 8 to 12, depending on the definition. Part of it is caused by parents wanting to dress up their kids, part of it is kids wanting to dress like the fashion spreads. Either way, it's pushing down more choice and range into this demographic. One in which I'm essentially a member due to size.
I'm closer in shape to a tween than to an adult woman. You know the shape - less curve, but not no curve, and more straight lines than the average "fully developed" woman. It's often easier to find better fitting clothing shopping in the 10-12 year old middle school girls section - where I have found myself to be shorter than most of the 10 year olds.
At first blush, the increased selection just sounds like a fabulous windfall. How convenient! I, and every other sub 5'0" petite woman should just swoop into the nearest Abercrombie and call it a day. It'd even be cheaper than shopping in the more young adult audienced Abercrombie & Fitch! How cute we'd all look, how positively easier it'd be to shop, and how dressed to kill we'd be for that next middle school party!
So, of course, that's the catch: The clothes may fit better than everything else out there, but style-wise, it's doubtful that most of the garments could be used in more grown-up settings. Let's face facts: we're really just grateful freeloaders in this youthful age and size range. While we'll certainly get a wider variety of casual and basic clothing (you and your daughter can be twins!), the particular work apparel items that are most sensitive to fit problems (and difficult to find) will never exist for tweens.
But hey! At least it's something - right?