Shopping Guide for Petite Women

Twenty years ago, it was a struggle to find the right clothing in my size. There were very few options for petites. I was working on Wall Street and needed to dress well. There were no dress-down days then. In addition, my husband and I started cruising and I needed formal clothes and everything in between. I remember going up and down department store aisles searching for “junior” sizes. Even years before while I was in college, I resorted to the pre-teen department to try find something my size. That didn’t work very well.

Finally, slowly but surely, I began to receive catalogues that offered a few outfits in petite. I was thrilled. The first catalogue that I remember offering a large range of petite styles in the late 1980’s was Talbots. It was such a relief to be able to buy something that fit, and there were so many different types of clothing I could buy. Today, Talbots along with most other stores and catalogues offer a great variety of clothing in petite sizes. Here is a brief overview of some of my favorite stores, and their catalogues, that offer petite clothing:

Barrie Pace

Their catalogue has some unique elegant casual and dressy clothing. The clothing is mostly upscale, but not every item is in petite.

Bloomingdales

Definitely upscale clothing, but sometimes offering good discounts, Bloomingdales offers most of its clothing line in petite sizes. If you want to look different from the rest, especially for a special occasion, visit their store, or ask for a catalogue.

Eddie Bauer

Good all-around store and catalogue for casual clothes. I have bought great down coats from them that will not wear out. The coats fit perfectly. Great value for the money.

Lands End

In the past few years, almost everything they offer in their catalogue comes in petite sizes. Great buys, especially for pants and tops. Mostly casual clothes, but they also offer tailored suits and pants suits for work.

Lord & Taylor

Several Lord & Taylor stores have closed around the country, but in New York, their flagship store is still wonderful. They also have a catalogue. Like Bloomingdales, the clothing is more upscale and expensive. However, Lord & Taylor offers frequent sales, especially at the start and end of the seasons.

Talbots

Traditionally, this store and its catalogue offered more “classic” clothing that could be worn for years. Their line is still classic, but in recent years they have branched out with more casual and fashionable clothing. Every item is offered in petite sizes. The great thing about Talbots clothing is that, while sylish, you won’t see yourself coming and going in their clothes. Theirs is the only clothing I have worn that strangers will come up to me and say they like my skirt, blouse, pants, etc. The clothing is not cheap, but not overpriced. You get your money’s worth.

The following retailers could improve in their offerings of petite sizes. These stores and their catalogues have some great clothing, but most often the items I want do not come in petite sizes.

Coldwater Creek

This store has some great southwestern style clothing, that’s very different and very beautiful. Very few items come in petite sizes.

J.Jill

This store has some unique clothing, but most of what I like does not come in petite. I wish they would offer more in petite.

L.L. Bean

Good casual, rugged clothing, similar to Eddie Bauer and Lands End, but I’ve seen very little in petite.

Orvis

This store and catalog has some very nice country-style clothing. The women’s clothes are very feminine. However, there is very little in petite. For awhile, they offered more in petite sizes, and then discontinued this practice.

I’m sure petites like me share the relief that we now have a lot of choices for clothing. On behalf of all petites, I thank those stores who carry a substantial petite line. I hope those stores who still don’t offer much in petite sizes will start to test the waters.