A World, in a Virtual Land, Far, Far Away Where, if Even for a Little While, Everyone is Petite!
May 10, 2011 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Please, please, please, where can I find this Ann Taylor Loft brown suede jacket (with detachable fur collar!) in 0p online? And is eBay the only place xs's and 0p's can find an *abundance* of cut-rate or used clothes in their sizes online?

After a lifelong problem finding clothes that fit or suited to my coloring or my taste or my budget, or my body type, I suddenly discovered the cut-rate and pre-owned world of petite shopping on eBay! And I realize, for the first time ever, that it's one of the only times in my life I'm seeing lots of clothes in lots of cuts and colors in my size!

Are there other sources online for the leaner and littler among us!? (You don't know how giddy this makes me. I'm usually consigned to, maybe, a few items, in just a few stores--many, like Macy's, to give just one example--I don't even bother to enter anymore....)

If it helps, I've got a naturally small build, at 5'3" and a little over a 100 lbs. Also, yes, if you can help source my Ann Taylor Loft brown suede jacket (I couldn't say what's season it's from, only that I've been unable to find it myself) ... I had my heart set on it, but being new to eBay, got outbid ... I would appreciate it!

posted by Violet Blue to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Have you met the J. Crew petites sale section? I'm about your size and their stuff fits me well, and their sale section is always well stocked.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:15 PM on May 10, 2011

Hey! I happened to find Alterations Needed, a blog written by a lady with the same body type! Hope that helps.

Spotted here

posted by two lights above the sea at 7:37 PM on May 10, 2011

Most of the major brands have petite lines -- Ann Taylor (the more business-y version of Loft), J. Crew (and their Factory outlet store), and Banana Republic are the major ones that come to mind. Also, ModCloth's clothes tend to run on the petite side, cut-wise, even though they're not specifically marketed as being petite. The key to getting good stuff at a discount without having to wait for things to show up on eBay is to sign up with each brand for their email updates -- you'll regularly get news of sales and internet-only promotions, and if you time it right you can combine them both together and score in-season stuff at pretty great discounts.
posted by scody at 7:38 PM on May 10, 2011

Thanks to Scody and oinopaponton for the tips! (And twolights, I'm just about to click....)

Keep 'em coming, everyone! But keep in mind that by "abundance," I meant an abundance of cuts, colors, styles, and choices, in my size.

It's worth emphasizing this because as soon as you type 0p into the search bar on, for example, the J. Crew site oinopaponton included, the selection shrinks from, say, 50 items, to, maybe, 10. Of those 10, not all the colors suit me, some of the dresses are far too formal to be regularly useful, and a few of the pant styles are unbecomingly skinny or whatever. So, in the end, not being--I don't think--terribly picky, I find myself with, at best, one or two choices. At best! (And I *like* J. Crew.) And quite often those choices aren't the things I'd choose if I could choose anything in the store and make it magically fit....
posted by Violet Blue at 8:00 PM on May 10, 2011

For sourcing discontinued items, eBay is the best place I've found. But I also use Froogle (which is Google Shopping), because occasionally a discontinued item will be a markdown or the last one in my size in some obscure webstore I never would have checked. And as well, you've just got to be willing to sift through piles of results on Google and Google Images, and try a bunch of different search terms (and don't narrow right down to your size right away in your search, try it without sizing because sometimes sizes don't show up on a search). Even if you can't find your item available anywhere, often you can find it linked within the past year or two from a fashion blog or one of those "bookmark and share things you want to buy" sites like Kaboodle. This can help you find out what season it's from (based on date) or the official retail name of the style (great if you're looking for shoes, for instance, to be able to search on "Steve Madden Hayzal" rather than "Steve Madden flats") and that can help quite a bit as you look.

If you're new to eBay, first, make your searches really flexible and keep trying after your initial lookthrough. Don't, for instance, narrow right down to your size when you search, because sometimes sellers won't list sizes, or will just say "small" or give measurements. Keep trying different combinations of words, like just "ann taylor" or just "loft" with just "suede" instead of "brown suede" or try "coat" instead of "jacket". Keep going back, run your search every week or so, because new things come up all the time.

To maximize your chances at getting what you want on eBay, be ready to "snipe" auctions. Wait until the auction is a couple minutes from ending (I see that you did that here with this one) and have the same auction open in a couple of tabs in your web browser. Leave the first tab counting down in real time (if it isn't doing a countdown, just keep refreshing that tab so you have an accurate time on eBay's clock). In the second tab, put in your MAXIMUM BID for the item you want. Make it the number you're totally willing to go up to in order to get this piece you want, but also make it the number that if it goes any higher, you're totally okay walking away from the piece. (Factor in the "plus shipping" into your maximum price, like if you're willing to pay 35 bucks total to have this piece in your hand, subtract the 9 dollars shipping quoted in the auction - so your top price is really 26 bucks.) Then you can tweak that number. I won't usually put "26.00", I'll put "26.12" or "26.64" or something a little bit more with a weird number at the end. Most people will just put "26.00" or "26.50" so that gives me a bit of edge that will count if that is someone else's highest number.

Then click continue. You'll be on a page with the last step before totally committing to your bid. WAIT. Keep refreshing your other tab. It'll get down to the last minute of the auction. WAIT. (I hope you have a good Internet connection that doesn't drag! Don't be downloading anything else while you do this!) Wait 'til you can't wait no more, like get down to the last 20 seconds or closer if you think you can. Hit CONFIRM BID in your second tab. Hold your breath.

eBay is going to automatically bid on your behalf up to your maximum number. So that number you put in, 26.12 or whatever, isn't going to be the bid that pops up right away from you. If the current bid is 12.99, your bid will be 13.99. If someone else jumps in and tries to snipe along with you, say their maximum number is 20.00, your bid is going to outbid them by a dollar, so your bid will be 21.00 (and the top bid). The only way you're going to lose here is if someone wants it for a higher price than you and has already set that higher bid before you got there, or gets their bid in before the clock runs out (not very likely if you've waited until the last 20 or 30 seconds to place your bid, since they won't know someone's out there about to pounce on it). Again, your maximum bid should be your "okay with walking away" number so you're not too sad if this happens.

I hope these search/bidding tips help you with eBay and with looking for items you love but can't find easily!
posted by flex at 8:10 PM on May 10, 2011 [4 favorites]

I have myself recently discovered the petite blogosphere. Alterations Needed linked above is one of them. You are somewhat taller than many of these bloggers, but your lateral dimensions are probably similar (many of them are about 5', but < 95 lb). I guess I'm lazy and I just look at their reviews of items and then buy them online. Ann Taylor & Loft have wisely profited from the petite market. I consider their selection pretty good, given that you're already fine with buying online. A lot of good blogs linked from Extra Petite here. I don't know if it's your style, but H&M actually has a lot of items that are sized quite slim and petite.
posted by bread-eater at 8:42 PM on May 10, 2011

So, in the end, not being--I don't think--terribly picky, I find myself with, at best, one or two choices. At best! (And I *like* J. Crew.) And quite often those choices aren't the things I'd choose if I could choose anything in the store and make it magically fit....

If it's any comfort, I feel your pain as someone who has shops the tall line from most retailers! The selection definitely shrinks for us gangly girls, too.

Some Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft stores have their petites section in-store -- you can check online with their store locators to see which ones, so that can help keep your selection relatively wide open (and that will mean you can try size 2p's on to see if, in the absence of a size 0p, it might be something that will only require minimum tailoring to fit you). I think Banana Republic might carry in-store petites, too.

Oh, and Talbots has a petite line as well; don't know if they're in-store or online only. Also, they don't have a specific petite line, but I find Boden's regular sizes tend to run fairly short; their talls aren't always long enough for me, so you may find that some of their regular clothing proportions work for you either as-is or with minimal tailoring.
posted by scody at 12:03 AM on May 11, 2011

Thanks to ask.me, I just discovered Land's End Canvas. I've found the xxs is quite nicely sized for me at 5', at least for skirts and dresses. Some of the shirts fit, some were too long, so they might fit you better. I thought the petite selection was quite good.

Anthropologie has a lot of petite sizes, so they're worth checking out. My colleague wears a lot of Boden; she's about your height but curvier, so those might be worth your time trying.

I think BR's petite selection has fallen off recently, but they do have a whole petite section online. The sizing is inconsistent--I range from a 00, 0, 2, XS, or XXS--so even if what you want only goes down to a 2, it might be worth trying.
posted by min at 4:55 AM on May 11, 2011

I would actually disagree with the rec for H&M, as their stuff is cut for slim but tall people. For dresses and sometimes tops this is less important.

If you have a narrow waist, you might try the vintage section of Etsy, as a lot of 50s and 60s garments are cut quite small.
posted by amber_dale at 6:16 AM on May 11, 2011

I came in to say Lands' End Canvas too. It doesn't say 'petite' anywhere, but I -- 5'4" -- have returned a number of XXS things for being too short. (Some things were not too short; sizing can be inconsistent. They are lovely about returns though.)

You can set up 'saved searches' on eBay and get an e-mail whenever somebody lists a pink 0P silk blazer or a lot of 0P trousers or absolutely anything else you want.

Particularly for LEC, try a site like retailmenot.com first for a coupon code.

(I'm going to say Boden is not worth trying -- Boden only goes down to a 2, and in some things a 4)
posted by kmennie at 6:18 AM on May 11, 2011

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