Dear Fashion Industry,
Why do you hate short women? It seems to me that you despise us, and want us to look like fat little tree stumps, feeling unattractive as much of the time as possible. Here’s why I think you hate us:
1. You don’t make clothes for actual petite women. You seem to design your clothing for a mythical petite woman with a flat chest and a 15-inch waist, which in reality is a 10-year old. Have any of you ever seen a real-life petite woman? (For tall women, the mythical measurements are the same, just taller. They would fit a tall 10-year old).
2. You’re stuck in a Dark Age of ugly dresses. I hoped it would have passed by now, but you keep offering me huge flowery prints that make me look like a curtain on two feet. Also, horizontal stripes are a non-starter for me. I’m trying to look taller, not wider. And the latest ugly dress incarnation – swingy, balloon-like dresses, designed for baby elephants. These styles can be carried off by my tall sisters, but for petites like me, these dresses are demoralizing.
Here are some other things that bug me, and they’re not only petite-woman complaints:
3. Why do you have colors of the year? I suspect that someone in an office somewhere in New York City, or wherever they make these decisions, sticks their hand in a box of various colored fabric samples, pulls out a couple, and announces, “OK everybody, here are the colors of the year.” Let’s say they’re purple and black. Every item of clothing manufactured for that season will be purple or black. I happen to like purple and black, but seriously?
4. And why are there no consistent sizes? If I was a man I could walk into a store, select my clothing by exact measurements, and take it home without even trying it on. A man I know well does this all the time. But not me. I can go from being Extra Small to Large in the space of 10 minutes in the same store. And if, after hours of trying on clothes, I find a purple something that miraculously looks good on me, why does the same-sized item in black fit differently than the purple one? Why, why, why?
5. Rethink your brand labels. The shopping process is already sufficiently horrifying, what with clothes that don’t flatter and yellow lighting that turns my face sickly green. Why then must I be confronted with a clothing label like Sag Harbor? Who thought it was a good marketing strategy to attempt to sell anything to a woman with the word “sag” in it? Certainly there are other harbors? What’s next? Fat Mama and Old Hag?
6. Could you please put more fabric at the necklines of all tops and dresses? I like v-necks, but I want them to end well above my waist. I’m not a Hollywood starlet trying to amp up my career.
7. You have an unhealthy relationship with polyester. You can call it microfiber if you want, but it’s still polyester. It doesn’t breathe and it makes me sweat buckets. So do all of your synthetic fibers. Yes, I know people don’t iron anymore, and synthetics are easy to pack, but in heat and humidity I long for cotton blends. There used to be something called PermaPrest, a blend of cotton and polyester. Where did it go?
8. Before I die I want a white summer blouse that doesn’t look like a men’s dress shirt, isn’t all fluttery and ruffly, and most of all isn’t transparent. I don’t think this is too much to ask, but so far you’ve failed me.
In closing, dear fashion industry, I have some advice for you. Leave your mythical woman on the drafting table and go find some real petite women. Familiarize yourself with the variety of shapes and sizes we come in – thin, not so thin, curvy, straight, and all combinations thereof. Maybe sit down with some of us and ask us what we want to wear.
I promise that if you start designing clothing for actual petite women, I will buy it and tell everyone in my petite tribe. I will love you forever. Until then, I continue my unending safari in the fashion jungle, hunting for Something That Looks Good.