Do department stores no longer care about “the little people?”
Reported by The New York Times: Women’s petite sizes have been cut back or cut off entirely from big department stores, such as Neiman Marcus (or as The View ladies called it, “Needless Markup”), Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s. (Even the all-petite size store, Petite Sophisticate, cut back and closed stores this year.)
As if in lockstep over the past year, Saks ceased selling petite sizes, Bloomingdale’s cut the space it devotes to petites by nearly half in some stores, and Neiman Marcus reduced the number of stores with petite departments by nearly half. Neiman Marcus now carries petite sizes in just eight of its 36 stores; as of the fall, it will stock them in just two.
Store reps claim that these clothes are not selling; that there is no market for them. How could that be when women’s limbs haven’t grown drastically over the last months? Short women like I am (at 4′11″ and that important 1/4) don’t suddenly want to go naked (as if we could).
As designer Dana Buchman said, “It’s not like American women suddenly got tall. I think it’s a mistake.”
The problem really lies with something I’ve noticed myself, and why I rarely buy petite, the clothing is designed for the elderly (often shrinking) woman, not the merely small. The designs are frumpy and conservative, and not in that trendy (lace-ruffles-and-sophistication) way, either.
Petite women, [Department store executives] said, would rather wear the more youthful, skin-baring and tighter-fitting clothing in the contemporary departments, even if it does not fit them as well.
Who wouldn’t want those styles? Meanwhile, store owners and designers see this style problem, and they don’t see the immediate, and correct, fix?
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