Fashion Tips: How To Find Designer Clothing Collections For Petite Women

Learn all about finding Petite designer clothing collections online before your next shopping trip to the mall, and find out about sales before they happen.

If you're 5'4" or under, you may feel neglected by the world of fashion in general and invisible to the mainstream fashion designers. Only a few of the haute couture houses designed Petite lines until recently. What about the rest of us who want a sophisticated look, but whose clothing budget for the year could not stretch to cover one haute couture ensemble?

You've seen clips on CNN from the designer shows in Paris, Milan, London and Tokyo, or you've read about them in the pages of Vogue magazine, but have you ever seen a petite model going through the catwalk paces? NEVER! Fashion photography's foundation is smoke and mirrors, and tall and lithe enables far more contortions than short.

Lucky for petite women, the clothing designers began experimenting with Petite and "Big and Beautiful" clothing lines sometime in the 1990s. Apparently, they discovered in their revenue reports what the rest of us already knew--most women are not a perfect size 6. The fashion industry is beginning to address women's broader needs.

Petite women no longer have to search the Junior department for that singular item that actually covers more than it reveals or settle for something a bit more conservative, but boxy and baggy from the Miss department. Most sales clerks in clothing stores don't understand that it's not enough to raise a hemline three inches, that it's a matter of proportion.

Petite women have come of age, and the clothing options have never been better than they are right now, today. You can forget about costly, major alterations and focus your attention and your budget on clothes, shoes and accessories. The best news is that you will not have to pay a premium for Petite clothing. Petite fashions are priced the same as Miss fashions.

Petite Designer Clothing Collections

Today, no matter what your budget, you'll find Petite clothing covering the entire landscape of fashion. You'll find a small sampling of moderately to high-priced designers with Petite collections spanning all price ranges listed below:

* Anne Klein

* David Brooks

* David Warren

* Donna Ricco

* Eileen Fisher

* Ellen Tracy

* Garfield & Marks

* Grace Dane Lewis

* Harve Bernard

* Hawksley and Wright

* Ingenuity

* Karen Kane

* Liz Claiborne

* Maggie London

* Marisa Christina

* Pendleton

* Sour Grapes (for petites only)

* Tahari

* Via Spiga

You're bound to know at least some of the names on the list.

Finding Petite Designer Clothing Collections

Petite clothing is available in brick-and-mortar stores throughout the world, online and through mail order. Start your search with the stores listed below. Most of them have physical store locations, mail-order catalogs and an online presence.

* Ann Taylor - classic clothing, updated for today's world

* Banana Republic - trendy, fashionable, wearable clothing

* Chadwick's of Boston - discount clothing--the same great fashions you find elsewhere for more

* Chico's - carefree clothes, especially for travel (they carry "Short," sizes which are equivalent to Petite sizes)

* Coldwater Creek -sophisticated casual, business and evening clothing

* Isabella Bird - contemporary, wearable fashions ranging from denim to silk

* J. Crew - updated, traditional casual clothing

* J. Jill - fashionable, casual clothing

* Nordstrom - something for everyone at this gold-standard department store

* The Petite Wardrobe - online only

* Petite Sophisticate - part of the Casual Corner Group--offering the same career and casual fashions you expect from Casual Corner

* Talbots - updated classic casual, career and dressy clothing

Wardrobe-building Strategies for Petites

There are a number of one-time steps to take to find your best options for quick and successful shopping. You can do all of this from the comfort of your home.

1. Use a search engine to locate each of the stores in the list above. Visit the Website, and head to the Petite section, if there is one. Alternatively, you may be able to shop by size. You'll quickly discover which stores are for you.

2. At each Website, make a list of the designers that you like.

3. If you like the store, sign up for e-mail promotional campaigns, frequent buyer programs and VIP programs. You'll find out about sales before the general public, and you may receive special discounts and bonuses.

4. Bookmark any store that fits your needs for future reference.

5. If you prefer in-store shopping, use the store locator service to find a store near you.

6. Use a search engine to search for other stores that carry Petite sizes and repeat steps 1-5 with each of those stores.

7. Search the Internet for other stores that carry your favorite designers, and repeat steps 1-5.

This exercise may take you a few hours, but once you've completed it, you'll enjoy hassle-free shopping for many years to come. All of the stores above run periodic sales with discounts as high as 70-80% off retail prices. Most of the online locations run a Clearance section 365 days a year. Visit the Clearance section frequently, because late returns of popular fashions often appear, only to disappear in the blink of an eye.

Maternity Clothing for Petites

If you're pregnant, you know how hard it is to find fashionable clothing, but if you wear a Petite size, you may feel like hibernating for the duration of your pregnancy. Visit Maternity Petite and Maternity Clothing Fashions (online only) to find stylish maternity clothing in a range of Petite sizes.

Shoes for Petites

Petite women often have a small bone structure. If this bone structure extends to your feet, then you know that a narrow foot translates into expensive shoes in a narrow range of choices. If you have an AAAA (quad) foot, the mere mention of shoes may send you into palpitations. You already know that you'll pay triple for the exact pair of shoes that your average-sized friends pay.

Start your search at Shodini online. Find the brands that work for you (you probably already know them), and call each manufacturer to find stores near you who carry the narrower widths. Develop a relationship with each store. Just as quads are hard to find, they are also sometimes hard to sell. Ask the store to contact you right before shoes go on sale. Most will cooperate, and you may find a few of the independent store owners will take pity on you and extend a discount if you become a regular customer.

The above strategies work--many petite women are already using them. Once you do the research, right-sized clothing is never more than a few mouse clicks away.

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