On Shopping While Petite

Full disclosure: This is a rant. You have been warned.

I used to love shopping. Walking in and out of stores all day, trying on clothes, falling in love with adorable things, I could do that all day. This was adorable back when my style was super teeny bopper and Forever 21 was my mecca. Then I grew up. My style evolved and now, I hate shopping. The stores have remained the same, nothing has changed, except I’ve realized much to my chagrin, that retailers haven’t yet figured out that grown ups also come in small sizes. I’ll expand on this.

You see, I’m a grown ass woman. I want to buy nice, staple pieces for my grown ass woman wardrobe. I want to walk into a store with my size in mind, pull out the clothes that correspond to my size, try them on and have NO problems. Alas, at 5ft 3 and 97lbs, this will not happen because I am not just petite, I am a TINY petite.

Note: Before you tell me to eat a sandwich, or try to tell me that I don’t have issues because they at least have my size in stores, allow me to remind you to kindly shut the fuck up. This is MY space to talk about the world as it affects ME. If you have your own issues, you can add them in the comments and we can fight the power together, or you can go away. I’m fine with either, but what you not gon’ do is try to diminish my problems to highlight yours, because I’m not here for it. I just need pants that fit. Honestly. Truly.

So what are these issues I’m maudlin and a-wailing about you ask? Pull up a chair nwanne m, nodu ani, and I’ll tell you all my woes, starting with:

Pants – Need to be hemmed and taken in at the waist. Every time. If it’s jeans I just have to make do with whatever length they are, and give up circulation in my legs if I want the waist to be snug. Below is an actual image of me trying on size zero pants. E V E R Y  T I M E.

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-09 at 16.20.03

Dresses – Always look like bags and are usually several inches longer than they look on the model. Don’t EVEN get me started on maxi dresses.

Blouses & Tees – Too big. Too baggy. Too much. Like, why is my “perfect tee” a dress, people? It did NOT look like this on Victoria Beckham. Ihe a aburo ihe anyi kpaa.

Bras – Nobody makes bras for me. I’m a 30C and La Senza used to have my back until they just up and changed their minds one day. And to all the nice, well-meaning ladies at Victoria’s Secret/La Senza/Winners that I’ve complained to, please know that 32B does not fit right. I know because I have several at home to prove it. Telling me that it does, doesn’t make it true.

Swimsuits & Two-Pieces – UGH! Just, ugh. Le struggle! If it fits on top, the bottom is a bag, if it fits on the bottom, the top is too tight. If it’s a one piece, the waist/stomach area just has random space. When I manage to find that unicorn one that fits snug all around, guess what else is really snug? Yup, wedgie. Fun stuff.


I own this. It does NOT look like this when I wear it.

Shoes & Belts – This is the only place I’m lucky more often than not. Then again, being tiny means tiny ankles/tiny waist which means the last buckle hole is usually two notches above the point where it’s comfortable for me. How sway.

Side note: My “aha!” moment on this issue came very recently (hence this rant, obvs). I used to walk around thinking this issue was me specifically, with my tiny proportions and tiny self, until a very kind salesgirl at Nordstrom, when I asked for the petite section responded by telling me they don’t have one, then giving me a litany of issues she also had while picking out clothes. She’s a chubby petite and she has the same issues I do. I then remembered that one of my friends and coworkers, Josie, is a regular sized petite and she too, has the same issues. My dear friend, Chrissie is a curvy petite – full on hourglass body packed into a 5 ft 2 frame – and she too, has the same problems! So finally, it clicked – NOBODY MAKES ANYTHING FOR PETITE PEOPLE, PERIOD. It’s not just me, and it’s not just because I’m tiny, it’s simply because adults stop existing after 5ft 5 in the fashion world.

The thing is, everyone seems to have accepted this general pretence that all adults are above 5ft 5 as the norm BUT I REFUSE to. I’m just over here with so many questions. Like “Yeah, that’s cool, but WHY though?” cos I really don’t understand how this is a thing. Especially here in Canada where the average woman is 5ft 3. You would think this would be petite Valhalla, but no! Retailers are still making and selling clothes for these fictional tall people, that none of us seems to be or even know.

So, what then? Should we petite people just walk around swaddled in scarves, cos those usually fit perfectly. I really don’t understand it. Petite people are people too. Grown up people. Grown up people who want nice pants and mixed separates and co-ords, and cute dresses that they don’t have to break the bank for (see my lament on the Tibi Dress). We just want nice things and adult wardrobes, that’s all. Is that really too much to ask? Why can’t we have nice things?

sigh I’m sad now. Sad and just tired.

If you’re petite and you’re reading this, have you found a life hack? Help me sis. Help me. If you haven’t found a hack, and just want to rant, giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirl, I am here for ALL of it.


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