The petite predicament

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of petite clients. And they almost all pose the same question: Where have all the petite sections gone?

Being petite is not merely a matter of wearing a smaller size. Petite clothes are tailored differently, often with slimmer shoulders, arms, etc. The same effect can’t always be achieved by just ‘going down a size’ in women’s clothes.

So, where can you shop for good petites nowadays? Many department stores and chains still do offer petite sections, however, they are becoming harder to find.

Let’s break it down.

At Bloomingdale’s, you have to visit each designer’s section to find their petite offerings, which not all of them have. A saleswoman (who happened to be a petite size) mentioned to me that it’s more the designers’ faults because they’re just not making petites anymore. However, Bloomie’s does have a separate petites section on its website, which offers more designers than you see in the store.

Lord & Taylor is a bit easier to maneuver since its petites are, for the most part, all together on one floor. They do have a separate online area as well.

Saks ‘got rid’ of its petites section according to an associate on the phone. And there’s no trace of one on the site.

Nordstrom is known to have a more extensive petites selection. One of my clients swore by it until she moved to New York and realized we aren’t Nordstrified quite yet. The online petites section is also quite plentiful.

I’ve found a nice variety of petite styles at Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and LOFT, both in the store and online. Plus, LOFT offers a nifty fit guide in case you are doubting your correct size.

J. Crew has a good assortment, but it’s online only.

Eileen Fisher offers most of her regular styles in petite sizes. They can be found in her stand alone stores, department stores, and online.

Finally, for tailored basics, I’ve had a lot of success with Theory. The regular sizes fit many petites, and they also offer complimentary tailoring on all items. Theory’s especially fantastic for blazers and well-fitting trousers.

Do you have a favorite store or brand for petite sizes? Do share!


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