19 July 2007

Please help a non-petite editrix out

I have a question that you may be the only one to answer. I am petite (5'0"), and am having more and more trouble finding clothes that are fun (read, play clothes, mostly), fit me well, and are not from Ann Taylor (which I love for work, but...). Recently, Anthropologie discontinued their petites, and they were my last hold-out for fun, petite, non-mom things. Any suggestions (other than forking over even more of my cash to my tailor)?

In a much more genuine act of humility than yesterday's even-I-wear-too-tight-clothing admission, I have to honestly say that after a week and a half of unsuccessful searching and waiting for replies from one reader and two of my petite-'n'-stylish girlfriends, I cannot answer this question in an authoritative, trust-my-judgment kind of way.

But I'm hoping you, my readers, can.
Figure-flattering fit is the style facet to which I attach the most import, and as such, I think it makes the most sense to have those women who actually own an item of clothing with a "p" on the tag provide this reader with guidance.

So please, would those shorter and smaller-framed among you please offer up your best tried-and-true recommendations - specific brands, websites, stores, etc. - so that I might stop spending fruitless hours entering into Google permutations of "petite," "clothing," "fun" and "play clothes"?

Much thanks,
Johanna (and Monte, who insisted I show you his very first "junk shot")

and close-up...


jessica said...

The precious! Sorry, I'm not a petite, but I had to comment on how cute your dog is!

Anónimo No Mas said...

I am not a petite either, but look at that chubby little puppy belly!

He's so cute.

new fan said...

Even though I'm not the petite who asked this question, I'm just as eagerly anticipating your readers' suggestions!

Cynthia said...

Mon dieu. I didn't think it possible to consider Monte any cuter.

5'2" said...

The first rule of thumb for a petite girl: learn to walk gracefully in heels.

The second rule of thumb: accessorize.

To be honest, there are very few places that sell petites: Ann Taylor, J. Crew (some things) and Banana, then your requisite department stores (which unfortunately assume that "petite" means "age 53 and over."

I often stick with simple things from the aforementioned stores and play around with fabulous shoes, handbags and jewelry. After all, even if you do have enough money to get everything tailored, a lot of clothes just don't tailor well. I mean, well constructed pants are sized throughout to fit, so hemming them will still leave a too-low crotch.

I have found that Lucky jeans in a short length is perfect on my frame, with the help of three-to-four-inch-heels.

The only store advice I could give would be to play around with vintage stores, where you can often find some pretty small stuff. This also works because I have learned to embrace the '50s look, with just-skimming-the-bottom-of-the-knee skirts and heels. These shirts are often ones that are meant to hit a normal person just-above-the-knee.

etcetera said...

why does it look like LD has a jerry curl?

Johanna said...


because it's not LD -- that was the breeder's 15 year old son. Monte was only 4 weeks old in that pic. I didn't get a hold of teeny paws for another month.

hah hah, LD!

Johanna said...

sent from a lovely reader via e-mail:

i think i have some advice for your reader! i'm petite and have had really good luck with going out clothes from:

nordstrom junior's department - brass plum, express, target (believe it or not! nothing too fancy but cute tanks, Ts, etc)
urban outfitters, anthro (i know she said they discountinued the petites but honestly i never knew they even had petites stuff. a lot of their stuff runs small anyway so i just get a smaller size than regular, totally not complaining about that! i am wearing a dress from there at the moment!)

the clothes at wet seal, forever 21 and delias, etc. all run really small and you can find some really, really cute things there. dont be overwhelmed by the overall skank-itude of the place, and set your expectations to find maybe 2 cute tops and you'll be in luck.

right now it's tough because a lot of the styles are so loose and flowy, they make petites look pregnant or drowning in our clothes.

one of my favorite going out tops for winter is from nordstrom brass plum. also, i got an adorable top for my company's christmas party from forever 21...red and white pattern with puff sleeves, sweetheart neckline and tie back. super cheap and i got a ton of compliments.

I hope this helps!

colleen said...

5'2"...I could not agree more! I do not own one pair of flats simply becuase I cannot find a pair of pants that will work with them.

I laugh at capris...they hit my ankles!

I have tried having pants hemmed, but I think it drastically changes the shape of the pant to where it no longer resembles the stylish cut that originally caught my eye. The pant truly looks chopped off at the knee...but hanging to my ankle!

I have found my best bet for casual to be a casual skit. Those are much easier to hem and keep a cute shape. Am I envious of the cute girls in denim and flats? YES! Do I hold my breath for the day I can do it? NO!

However, one plus of being short...The cute mini dresses are long enough for me to wear to work!

Anónimo No Mas said...

My little sister T is a petite and she does very, very well in vintage clothing stores.

I pick out all the clothes I WANT to wear and then have give them to her.

That said, be wary of the cute 40's & 50's house dresses and tops without the requisite undergarments, since a lot of clothes were cut to fit a very different bustline.

Heather said...

I agree with the e-mailer about Forever 21 - it's a huge undertaking, and you really have to be in the mood to even walk into that place, but you can find some really great pieces. And if you're into finding trendy things, you don't have to worry about dropping too much cash on something that will be out in a few months.

My recommendation is Esprit. I have worn their clothing for years, and they carry both trendy and classic pieces. There's one at Tyson's. Also, try The Limited. I'm 5'0 and their short length trousers fit perfectly. And I believe that they alter for free (could just be a rumor, though...).

Johanna said...

Thank you to everyone for your great suggestions! Please keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

your dog almost doesn't look real in those pictures. he's a total GUND stuffed animal!

I like Johanna's haircut said...

I am extremely petite, 5ft 2 on a big hair day at best, pretty small build and short waisted. My biggest complaints being petite are too long sleeves and shoulders that don't hit appropriately.

My first recommendation is to get yourself a fantastic tailor, one you trust. In DC, one that is more expensive that I recommend is Baytok on Wisconsin and one that is more budget friendly is the lady that runs Washington Square Valet, the dry cleaners in the basement of the building at Connecticut and L that has Morton's and Victoria's Secret in it (she's not super friendly, but she does a good job). A good tailor can take in sleeves (at end and at the shoulders), redo hems, etc.

Bloomingdales in Tysons has a great petite collection. Saks has an ok one, and Neimans not so much. Many designers (DKNY, Tahari, etc.) have petite lines that are worth trying. Banana Republic and Ann Taylor's petites are sometimes worth a shot. I heard Banana Republic has petites in their Tyson's store. For jeans, I like the Denim Bar in Pentagon Row, ask for Christy. She can find you some great jeans and they do alterations in shop. I also like DVF, Chloe, Petite Bateau, and the go international lines at Target.

Dressing all in one color can give the illusion of height, so often I tend to dress in all black, navy (that is my latest obsession), camel, or other basics. You can add some color in a great Hermes scarf (get the book at the store to learn how to tie a 100 ways), fun belt, or even better, great shoes. And you can wear flats. I mostly wear flats (don't think I am pathetic), great flats and shoes can be found at Sassanova, london flats, and ebay (yes).

Anonymous said...

WOW. Hey, 'haircut'-- start your own blog, please!! That was the best advice anyone has had to offer to this post!

Johanna said...

I like Johanna's haircut-

first off, thanks for the compliment! I'd be lying if I said I didn't love it, too. Seriously, if you're considering a chop, I say go for it! I haven't regretted it a single second since.

second - holy great advice! after reading your comment, I almost wished I too were a petite! and not only that, but the writing - so clear, concise and properly punctuated. you're a girl after my own heart :-)

5'2" too said...

Love the suggestions, espcially the vintage. I just lost a bunch of weight so those clothes (if they're short enough) should finally fit me.

I can usually wear "regular" pants but the tops just kill me. The waist on a non-petite top/jacket with a fitted waist is often pretty close to my hips. So flattering!

Johanna, thanks so much for including this question in your blog.

Alisha said...

As a not-so-skinny petite, I have found that the best thing I can add to the aforementioned advice is that the number one ingredient to finding fab, fun stuff to wear is patience. Personally, I tend to stay away from patterns that might overwhelm me and accessorize everything well so as to avoid the wardrobe hum-drums.

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