I'm petite. Shopping has always been a problem for me, something that hasn't been helped by the fact that, style-wise, most petite departments seem to stock clothes for 80 year old grandmothers. Apparently I won't even have to worry any more about that insult to my sensibilities. Stores are phasing out their petite clothes altogether. And where, I ask you, does that leave me?

UPDATE:  It seems I'm not the only one with this problem.  Neo-Neocon is also bemoaning the increasingly narrow range of options for those of us who go by the old-fashioned name of pocket Venus. 

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  • erp

    Lucky for you, you’ve taken up sewing again. Perhaps you had a premonition.

    Seriously, find a dressmaker. You probably have a few basic designs that you like. Identify things like suits with short jackets, pants, etc. that fit well and a good dress maker will make a pattern. From there, you can build a wardrobe.

    When we lived in Vermont, shopping was a nightmare, so that’s what I did and worked out just great.

  • Anne

    Noooooooooooooooo indeed!! I’m petite, too.

  • Ymarsakar

    These people think this is a good business model because…?

  • jaleach

    I’m sure the Internet has plenty of clothing sites offering what you need. Obviously, you can’t try the stuff on beforehand, but it’s a start. These sites might also direct you to other options in your area.

  • Ron

    I love petite women. I’m sorry to hear about your situation but I know that you overcome the clothing situation. In my estimation, mem’s clothing and styles also leave a lot to be desired. It may not mean too much to women, but this situation gives me the experience to empathize with you. I also know that it is singularly unstatisfying for women to buy clothes on the internet, notwithstanding the convenience it offers. However, I would recommend that you look for a good semstress to help you get though these circumstances. Hang in there.

  • Anna

    I’m one of those women who is short, while not petite. The petite sizes are too narrow in the shoulder and too short in the waist, so I have to buy “regular” sizes and deal with sleeves and pant legs that are too long! I feel your frustration!

  • Ymarsakar

    Eventually they will come up with better measurements so you can input them on the internet, and the factory will produce them automatically. But, that’s in the future when manufacturing is automated by well programmed robots. Think we might need at least 2 more wars before the R and D from military research can produce the civilian ofshoot for that kind of stuff, unless Japan gets on the wagon and does it for us that is.

  • Bookworm

    Thank you all for your nice comments. For the most part, I’ve simply created a clothing model that helps me around the obstacles. If I can find petite jeans, I’m set, because I couple those with t-shirts (nice, not grungy) and turtle necks. The real problem arises on those rare occasions when I have to dress up. I’m also rapidly being driven out of the shoe market. Fewer and fewer manufacturers make size fives, preferring to start at size 6. By the way, I’m a petite person, and not a “little person,” so it really is ludicrous that I’m being shut out of the clothing market. I say that because little people (and God knows what problems they have finding clothes) are a really small minority (pardon the horrible pun), whereas there are lots of petite women — at least on the Left Coast with all the Filipinas, Thais, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc.

  • Lorna

    You are kidding aren’t you? In Europe we don’t have petite sizes and it’s so infuriating. So when I travel to the USA and Canada I stock up. Seems I should doubly stock up this trip!

  • Stina

    Great. What are petite women supposed to do, step into a taffy-pulling machine or something? (Remember the first Willy Wonka movie??) Besides, it’s not just a matter of height; I’m 5’8″ but extremely short-waisted, so when I buy shirts or jackets that are at all fitted, I usually have to buy them in a petite size. Because I have long legs, I have to buy pants or jeans in the tall size. Makes buying a suit quite an experience.

    What say we use some of that ever-present government pork barrel money for a much-needed Clothing Diversity Initiative? Can’t be much worse than some of the boondoggles that crop up.

  • Ymarsakar

    What say we use some of that ever-present government pork barrel money for a much-needed Clothing Diversity Initiative? Can’t be much worse than some of the boondoggles that crop up.

    Well, judging by Lorna’s comments, Europe probably already did that and that is why they no longer offer petite sizes so Europeans have to get to America to get those sizes…

  • CDR Salamander

    You can do like Mrs. Salamander and shop at GapKids when needed. .. or go on vacation to France. French women are on overage both shorter and thinner than non-organic milk drinking American women. Lots of smaller sizes.

  • Ymarsakar

    Hehe, go on vacation in France. That’s rich. (double meaning).

  • Mimi

    We dressmakers are trying to become more vissible and findable, so you can always get the adjustments made to your clothing. It is an extra step and an extra expense, but your clothing will fit better and last longer as a result of having them properly altered!


  • Anna

    As a 5′ 1″ woman, I understand your frustration. I’m in the same boat – it’s very difficult to find clothing for petite/small women these days. I end up spending a fortune on clothing alterations. I’ve tried shopping on the internet, but it’s the same story; I can spend literally hundreds of dollars a year on shipping/return shipping costs. It’s nearly impossible to match up colors too, when you’re looking at a small color swatch on a computer screen. And size 5 or 5-1/2 shoes? All phased out of the stores in the last few years.

    I’ve also tried shopping in the children’s departments, but children’s clothing is not cut for a woman’s figure. And just try to find an office dress suit in the little girls’ department…there are none.

    All I want is to walk into a store and come out with some purchases, like everybody else does. I haven’t been able to do that for several years.

  • Bookworm

    The shoes are an even bigger problem, I agree. While Talbots (bless it) still carries clothes in my size, nobody carries shoes in my size.