Affordable petite clothing - How Old Navy keeps me from looking like an elderly politician's wife
This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Old Navy.
Many years ago, when I was but a wee young thing, I was diagnosed with a mild case of scoliosis, and sent to an orthopedist. Upon meeting me, he examined my x-rays and informed me that my condition would correct itself...but not before loudly exclaiming, "Whoa! You've got some birthin' hips there! Totally out of proportion for your frame! Hope you grow into those, sweetie!"
I cannot adequately describe just how helpful and totally not life-scarring such a statement is to an impressionable, insecure teenager, you know?
As luck would have it, though, I did grow into those birthin' hips, and ironically, it turned out that I was actually quite petite: I wear a size 0 (usually) and am pretty short; about 5'2". (Trust me, NO ONE is more surprised at this than me. Except perhaps that orthopedist.)
I have to dress fairly nicely for work, so as you might imagine, I spend a LOT of time attempting to find petite clothes that don't look like they're better suited for an elderly politician's wife. (Petite stores of the world: WHY ALL THE LARGE, FAKE PEARL BUTTONS??) I was consequently thrilled to learn that Old Navy -- one of my favorite stores for trendy, affordable pieces -- recently started carrying a line of petite clothing. I was even more excited when I learned that Old Navy would generously be offering me an item of my choice from the new petite line. (This job definitely has its perks.)
When I looked through the Old Navy petite clothing online, I was at first overwhelmed by my options, but my choice became clear almost instantly: I selected this gorgeous, belted cowl neck dress. You see, I've always loved the look of a cowl neck dress, but they almost never look right on me. The shoulders are inevitably too wide for my insubstantial, twig-like frame, and the resultant excess fabric either: (a) slips off my shoulders completely, leaving me looking like I'm trying to bring back the ever-classy Flashdance look; or (b) pools right smack in the middle of my chest, exposing my sternum in its entirety, and with it, the polka-dotted magenta bow in the middle of my bra, NOT LIKE THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE, OR ANYTHING.
Seriously, if ever there was a petite-cut dress style that I needed to put to the test on my body type, it's a cowl neck dress. Just ask the countless people I inadvertently flashed at my cousin's bar mitzvah. (I said I was sorry, Grandma!)
The dress--which is on sale now for $20--has a light, body-skimming silhouette. (Did I just write that? Wow, I really read too may clothing catalogs.) It's the type of cut and fabric that, together, make the dress look perfect with either flip-flops, or a pair of high heels and cropped jacket. (The latter is how I've been wearing it, seeing as fall weather came upon us rather suddenly here in New York this year.)
Don't even get me started on the adorable grosgrain belt, as I (along with the rest of the world) am currently in the grips of a Mad Men fashion fixation, into which this look meshes perfectly.
Oh, and as for the most important issue (well, for me)? The cowl neckline (and the dress in general) is really well-tailored for the petite body. The dress fit like it was made for me, and I had no instances of bra flashing or shoulder slippage. See?
All in all, I'm quite pleased with the dress, and the price doesn't hurt, either.
If you're okay with spending a bit more money on your petite clothes, you can't go wrong with the petite lines from Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, and J. Crew: This dress may very well be universally flattering, this skirt is THE color and shape of the season (plus the taffeta is perfect for the holidays), and this blazer? Well, it is CALLING TO ME.
However, I've since purchased a few pieces from the Old Navy petite
line, and have been truly impressed with the fit, style and
affordability that the line offers. If you're petite, I think the most important things to fit you impeccably are bottoms: skirts and pants that are cut for your frame. For one thing, I loathe finding a pair of pants or a skirt that I adore, but mentally having to tack on an extra $10 to the price for hemming. (Don't tell me if you pay less! I SHALL WEEP.) I also hate how the overall silhouette of a great pair of pants can be ruined when they're hemmed, and then you never end up wearing them because they look...off. Your money is therefore much better spent on a pants/skirts tailor-made for the petite body. I love these classic pants, which come in a ton of colors and are on sale now, and this skirt is great for a lot of body types.
So go forth, fellow petite chicas! Shop! And save money for the important things, like incredible, life-altering $40 concealer..but that's a post for another day!
Photo courtesy of Old Navy.