Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimised by a Zara changing room. The lighting is too bright, the temperature is too hot, and none of your items fit properly, despite them all being the same size... As someone who's under 5ft tall, I'm so thankful for the rise of online shopping. Being able to see petite models wearing the items helps me get a good idea of whether they will fit me.
So when I recently needed to get some office-appropriate trousers, I headed straight to my favourite online store. After filtering the results (and seeing my options go down from thousands to hundreds), I found a pair that looked great. Did a quick skim of the reviews and there it was…
A 5 star customer review that said:
‘Love these trousers, length is perfect with small heels on. I am 5’4 and a half.'
I knew that if I bought them, I'd have to factor in a trip to the tailors, a 3 day wait, and the cost of getting the length altered…
Put simply, the standard definition of petite clothing (which is made for women under 5'4") just doesn't cut it for some of us shorter ladies. And in conversations on this topic, I found my self saying, 'I wish there was an extra petite section for women who still find regular petite sizes too long'...
So I put the question to our community:
Would the term ‘extra petite’ be helpful to describe clothing made specifically for women 5ft and under?
The response? Pretty conclusive, with
92% of those who responded saying they supported the idea.
Now lets be honest, the terminology isn't the most creative, but it is straightforward and serves a purpose. Just to clarify, in fashion, 'petite' refers only to height, not size or shape, therefore, 'extra petite' simply means extra short, not extra slim!
Adopting new, inclusive language can be seen as the first step towards change. But I hope that the term is used more widely in the industry as a means to recognise the need for better options for extra short women.
And whilst I will continue to advocate for inclusive fashion, it’s clear that we can no longer wait around in the hope that big brands may finally cater to us... Sometimes if you want a seat at the table, you have to bring your own.