Tuesday, March 23, 2010

#1 Petite Misconception

Petite in the clothing industry does not mean thin,  it ...  means short ;-)

Source: Sarah Jessica Parker 5'4" via Petite Resource

The #1 misconception surrounding the words "Petite Woman" is that we are tiny, thin women with waif-like bodies.  The reality is that only 8% of all petite women weigh 100lbs (45kg) or less.

"Petite refers to an all over proportioning of the body from head-to-toe, not left to right. A petite woman can have the same bust and hip measurements as someone much taller but is challenged to find clothing that fits because of her shorter body frame".  Kim Williams Dahlman of Bella Petite

 These models are realistic examples of the average Petite body
Source: V-magazine

Being short (5'4" and under) means that we Petites are always aiming to look taller. And when we are a little heavier than our ideal weight we also want to minimise our weight, visually.  Its all about accentuating the positives and de-emphasizing the negatives. 

Source: Lane Bryant

It's a fact that my body weight fluctuates by approx. 11lbs (5kg) at different times of the year namely at Christmas and during winter. I've just come to the realisation that I need different size clothing in my wardrobe. Yes, really!  In the past I would just tough-it-out until I had lost the extra weight.  This is definitely not good for the soul. Toughing-it-out-times are when I lose confidence and generally do not feel good about myself.  So, no more! I am going to concede that my body actually changes from time to time and take the right action to make sure I stay feeling good.

Better choices
To stay feeling good I realise I will need to be vigilant against impulse shopping and choose clothes and colours that highlight my positives and camouflage my not-so-perfect areas.  

Source: JC Penney

... and I'm going to be a good girl and persist in the Petite Departments because I may just save a little money on alterations!

Petite jackets are cut shorter

Petite arm lengths are shorter and armholes are cut higher

Source: Lane Bryant
Petite dresses and skirts are cut shorter

Source: Lane Bryant
Petite trousers are shorter in the rise and in the leg

I will let you know how I progress.  I'd love to hear about your experiences with Petite Sizing, so please  leave a comment if you have a moment. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mixing Patterns and Prints

Mixing patterns and prints is a hot trend for Spring 2010. 

Source: Vogue

And here are some mixed patterns and prints available in Neiman Marcus for Spring 2010.

How to mix patterns and prints
  • Keep it to maximum two different patterns or prints
  • Repeat at least one colour in both
  • Or keep the background colour the same
  • Using a solid colour as a third garment will help to tone it down
Keep patterns and prints in proportion to your height and shape.  Smaller patterns and prints will look better.

There will be an abundance of patterns and prints in stores in the coming months. I've decided to give mixed patterns and prints a bash. I'll be stretching my comfort zone because I'm a no pattern kinda girl.  In previous blogs I've mentioned how I'm a Natural Girl because I prefer relaxed, easy-to-wear clothing in block colours, so its going to be interesting to see whether I can pull it off. 

What do you think of this new trend?  Are you going to give it a try or will you sit this one out?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Petite Fit

Know your measurements and save shopping time

Petite women are classified in the clothing industry as being 5'3" (159cm) short, or less. Women sized clothing is designed for women 5'5" (164cm) tall.  So, it is little wonder we Petites have such difficulty shopping for clothing... the clothing is designed for longer torsos, longer arms and longer legs.

Source: Ann Taylor Loft
Most stores have their size charts on line.
Its an interesting exercise to compare personal sizes to theirs.

Your measurements
Having a full set of my personal body measurements with me when I shop really is quite helpful.  I know, it's a bit of a drag doing the measurement exercise, but it really is quite helpful in the long run.  It helps me to...
  • Understand my body shape. 
  • It saves time in the dressing room.
  • When I need to I can shop on the run, and try on at home when I have more time as well as the right underwear and shoes to be really sure that it will work for me.
These are the measurements I keep in my purse.

Shoulder to Shouder: From the edge of one shoulder to the edge of the other shoulder for shopping for jackets and shirts.
Bust: From under your arms, around the fullest part of your bust.
Waist: At your navel. Low Waist: 1" down from your navel.
Hip: 4" (10cm) from your natural waist. Low hip: 8" (20cm) from your natural waist.
Thigh: At its widest point.
Rise: Measure from the natural waist down through the crotch, holding the tape a little loose, through the legs and up to the waistband at the back. Repeat for the Low waist.  
Inner trouser seam: from the inside of the crotch to the floor.

Source: Lane Bryant
Alter hemlines to the narrowest part of the leg.

  • Sizes vary between brands and stores - I don't bother to try and find my size, having my measurements with me I save time by immediately enlisting the help of the sales person. She knows the layout and sizing structure of her store, and with my exact sizes on hand she can reach for my right size and fit much quicker than I can. This usually means the right size the first time.

Source: Lane Bryant
This is a great style for Petite Plus sizes - the V neck adds length.
The length of this top is perfect - 1" inch longer would have needed tailoring.

  • I keep a small tape measure in my handbag for the days when I'm shopping in a hurry. A few quick measurements means I can pay for the item and be out of there in just a few minutes.  Remember to check the return policy of the store beforehand in case you decide not to keep it. 
Source: JC Penny
Petites look taller in hemlines as close to the floor as possible.  

The perfect fit
As a Petite I shop in the Womens, Misses and Petites Departments and almost always will have to stop by the tailor to have one of my purchases tweaked in some way.  It's a misconception that ready-to-wear actually is ready to wear.  In fact, an affordable perfict fit right off the rack is almost impossible and great tailoring is a must to ensure my clothes fit well.

  • Remember if a garment was designed for a taller women it may include large prints, horizontal stripes and stitching which were meant to flatter the taller figure.  Tailoring this garment will give a better fit but the print or styling details could still be wrong for the Petite frame, so keep this in mind before committing.
Source: Nordstrom
Large prints may overwhelm short Petites - keep an eye on proportions at all times.

Good fit means clothing that skims the body without pulling or bulging and correct proportions in lengths and patterns. It takes a little extra effort to focus on the details and do what is required but the payoff is looking and feeling great in your clothes.

Thanks for dropping by today!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Trendy Trench

The Trench says, "I'm stylish as well as efficient - don't mess with me" - Daily Telegraph UK
Trench coats are here to stay baby! ... true fashion classics, they seem to reappear in some form almost every season. A good candidate for the Petite Investment Category in your closet. Petites of all ages and body shapes can wear them if you follow some simple guidelines.

  • The contrasting belt is the centre of attraction and says "effortlessly stylish".
  • The colors are a trendy color combination for the season.
  • The "V" neck blouse elongates the neck and gives Petites instant length.
  • The light, skin tone color of the shoes elongates the legs.
  • Pushed up sleeves give Petites more visual length.
  • The look is effortlessly stylish - not a single matching color in sight and yet they all blend together very well.

  • I love the smaller lapels on this jacket. They are the ideal size for Petites with smaller busts and shoulders.
  • Once again, the contrasting belt updates the classic Trench look.
  • Petites take special note of how all 3 Trench coats are worn open, unbuttoned, because it adds length to the Petite silhouette.
  • The shorter Trench is most flattering on Petites.

  • The lightweight scarf in this picture is perfectly proportioned for Petites.
  • The shoes in a light tone and low rise adds length to the ankles.
  • Here again, the length of this Trench is perfect for Petites.
  • Large collars and lapels can easily overwhelm the Petite frame. The Trench in the first picture has larger lapels and and collar and this style is better suited to those with bigger busts. The smaller lapels and colars in the 2nd and 3rd pictures are better suited to Petites with smaller busts and shoulders.
  • The length of the Trench in the first picture is a little too long for Petites who are shorter than approx. 5'1" but if the cut and the fabric are not bulky you could perhaps get away with it.
  • The flower accessory in the 2nd picture is fairly large but it works in this instance because it has been pinned well away from the face.  
  • Oversized bags look best hanging at hip length, no lower. Remember to keep the size in proportion to your body.

Well, that's it from me on the subject of Trench Coats for now.  I hope you enjoyed this post.