For all those lovely petite ladies out there, you are not alone! With diminishing petite departments all over the country, women are struggling to find clothing that fit their personal style as well as their bodies!
We want to elevate the voices of women who are constantly faced with the tiring task of finding clothing that fits without sacrificing their personal style and expression. We interviewed 3 women of different age groups on their experience finding the perfect fit! Demographics: Person A: 5ft. - Gen Z - Petite Person B: 5ft. - Gen X - Petite Person C: 4ft. 11in. - The Silent Generation - Petite-Plus What do you think identifies you as petite? What type of fit do you look for? Person A: I consider myself petite because I have a short and thin stature that makes clothes suited for the general population not fit me well. The fit depends on what item I am looking for and the occasion. For professional work-related clothes, I really want things to fit me perfectly to a T. For that I will seek out petites because I don’t want to look frumpy while working a professional job. When it comes to more casual clothes for hanging out, I look for a great fit for my jeans. I hate jeans that bunch up at the bottom so I will hands-down always try to buy jeans that are the extra short length! For tops I don’t really care as long as it fits well enough for me to pull it off. Person B: My small structure and petite frame classify me as petite. When it comes to fit, I love when my sleeves fit perfectly. The sleeves are especially important to me. If they are too long, I just feel terrible and look ridiculous! Something that truly feels comfortable and makes me feel good. I don’t want to look like a little kid in my clothes and I want an overall good fit! Person C: I am small! I am very short in stature and my arms and legs are short. I am a short fat lady. I want the sleeves wider, especially around where your muscle is. Even though it is called petite clothing, the companies need to add more material to be less restricting for the arms. What is your biggest struggle when finding your perfect fit? Person A: Always my legs and hip ratio sizing. My legs are extremely short because I am 5ft, so first the inseam never seems to align to my hips. My hips are slightly larger for my size, so they never line up! I always have to buy pants that either fit uncomfortably in the ankle area or in the hip area, so that I literally the MOST annoying thing! Person B: The right sleeve length is the hardest to find. If a jacket fits right on the sleeves and armpits, it is perfect for me! It is extremely hard to find clothing even in petites that fit the arms just right. That definitely needs to be evaluated more when manufacturing clothing. Person C: Finding comfort! – I do not want the fit to be too tight and knit tops should be modest looking without pulling too much across the chest. There needs to be sizes that are comfortable for chestier women. I want to be able to comfortably close the garment. Just because you are petite does not mean you are thin, so the petite-plus sizes need to be accommodated for! How often do you walk away from styles that you love because they don’t fit your frame? Person A: I actually don’t buy clothing a lot in general because of this general issue. I am also very frugal which is another factor, but I typically look at clothes and think about how cute it would look on another person, but not me. That paired with me being extremely frugal and not buying clothes often is the issue. I don’t stray away from clothes because I don’t think they will fit, but it is usually me thinking that I can’t pull it off sometimes. Person B: 95% of the time! I do walk away from things that do not fit right for me. I tend to shop for my size and fit over style. Fit is so important to me that I normally buy something that fits right and isn’t that cute because I feel comfortable, rather than something trendier that isn’t petite. Person C: I want to look gorgeous! I want a miracle. I want good quality that looks becoming and actually fits me. I truly want to look fashionable without looking dowdy. It must be versatile, but it is hard to find. Do you think that brands are acknowledging your needs as a petite woman? Person A: I guess I haven’t thoroughly experienced shopping in that way because I haven’t been shopping professionally yet, but I feel like what I have experienced while shopping for petites is that I feel like the classic clothing brands like Banana Republic and Ann Taylor do not have as great of a selection as I thought they would. That makes me struggle. Brands like Old Navy and American Eagle surprisingly have more options for my short legs due to the length options. That is beautiful for me and my needs! Brands like Ann Taylor struggle with no size standardization, so it is harder to find the right fit. Person B: No, not at all! I don’t see many stores that carry petites, and the big stores usually carry items that are not very stylish and trendy. Unless I go to Ann Taylor or something like that, I won’t find may styles for me, but they can be too pricey! Most stores that I go to don’t have Petite departments at all. Person C: Not really. We have the money, and we want to look stylish and be comfortable. It must transfer by age. Women my age are ready to spend on nice clothing yet can’t find things that are pretty enough. I do not want junk clothing. If I buy something, I want to be able to wear it at least for the season and have it launder well. Older women could benefit from a larger color selection to brighten up our faces. Where do you or have you shopped to find your perfect fit? How have their departments changed? Person A: I always shop at the outlets for professional clothes, and I do admit that the petite section in the Ann Taylor outlet is messier in general. The entire store at the very front is filled with the normal sizes and then at the very back corner is where the petites are. The selection is usually a third of the wall and doesn’t have a lot of options. I have only started shopping for professional clothing about a year and a half ago, but I have definitely noticed that it is not as cared for as the main demographics of the 5ft. 4in nice American woman or something. Person B: I used to go to Macy’s, but the petite department is nothing like it used to be. They decreased and skimped out on the quality and size. I liked the Dress Barn because they carried my size, but they went out of business. There are also no petites on their online business either. There was Nordstrom as well, but then they eliminated their department too! What they did offer on one rack was horrible with childlike colors and patterns. Person C: There are none that I like truly! I loved the Lord and Taylor, but they went out of business. Kohl’s is not up to the quality I like. It is very seldom that I can find something that I like at all. Land’s End has some nice pieces, but there are not many stores left and the styles are not the most up to date. Do you feel like the petite clothing is less stylish than the general women’s department? Why? Person A: I feel like the clothes are less cute because people in our age range don’t go out of their way to look for petite clothing. They may not care as much as a gen Z. I think that the most people that we see in fashion and the media are the classic model type, so I feel like a lot of brands focus more on them instead of those that are plus size or petite. A lot of clothing companies tend to cater towards the people we see most in media as a size medium. Those are always catered to the most because that is where they get most of their sales. The same goes for plus sizes too. A lot of brands do not consider it to be a worthy investment if they do not see plus as their main demographic. Person B: Yes, from what I have seen it is not really that up with the trendiest styles. The styles were more reminiscent of children’s clothes. Just because you are small, doesn’t mean you need to dress like a kid with strawberries on your shirt. More conservative stuff is easier to find but it is too business looking and plain. Everything is either too plain or too cutesy. There is nothing in the middle for the everyday woman. We want new and fun styles. Person C: Forget dresses! You can’t find many nice ones at all unless they are designer. Not at all. There is not enough variety of styles for every occasion. The choice is very very limited. What change do you wish to see, so that you can find your perfect fit? Person A: I feel like what I want is for all sizes to be standard! I want standardization of sizes because that pisses me off in general. Also, I really just want diversity in petite clothes. Say that there is a shirt I really love that is not a petite size but I really like it, they are not going to have a duplicate in the petites for that exact style. I think I want to see more diversity in my options because I just have to make do with my slim Pickens and be able to make the best with what I’ve got. I want to be able to see more options. Especially professionally, I have been circling through the same 6 shits because I can’t find any other shirts. Same with pants! I would love to see so many more options! Person B: More small sizes in shoes for the petite woman because there are never enough shoes in my size to choose from. Only a few brands make the 5.5 shoe, and I would love to see that. The shoes that I like start at size 6. I need something that is trendier, so I don’t look old. A lot is dull and for older frumpy women. Why can’t all the stores try to carry petite clothing? Why can’t they just try to get more petite departments just like the plus? We should not have to settle for rolling things up and taking things in. We don’t want to always spend so much money on clothes because petites are at a higher price. Person C: I want to get something that I can get to fit on this old body! Happy and pretty clothes! More pretty colors. I like lavender and hot pinks, but it is so hard to find for a small body in petite-plus. All the stores are closed, so it is sad that they are making more throw-away clothing. They do not worry about fit, but just abut getting their money to go and run. A lot of the clothing out there is junk and falls apart, so something needs to be done. I want fit, quality and more variety for the petite-plus woman! The petite woman deserves to have her voice heard! With greater opportunities to lift up voices of the neglected demographics, we can create change! I hope you enjoyed seeing some different type of article content on here, because I am excited to share some new perspectives!
April Ann :)