Petite Fashion Week Spring 2014: Twisted Petite and
White House Black Market Paired Up for a Duchess
I am so excited to have been asked once again to be part of Petite Fashion Week.
This time, there are several new brands that have gotten involved and in the weeks leading up to this event, I have taken time to look through the offerings of each brand. Below are two dresses offered by petite fashion week supporter Twisted Petite.
I think it is very likely that we would see something similar to either one of these dresses worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. I think Catherine would pair either of these dresses with a black jacket like the one I have below from White House Black Market ($150) and her black suede clutch, as far as shoes go, I think we would see her Prada pumps or maybe her episode Angels.
I would like to thank Twisted Petite for allowing me to feature these two dresses. I am sure that you, my readers, Will enjoy them. Both of the dresses retail for under $65 shipping included, I know how you love bargain I wasn’t going to let you down
WHY DO PETITE CLOTHES SUCK?
By Tanya Rivas
Shouldn’t Be So Harsh I Suppose
But Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda. Real Talk: shopping for petite clothes is down right frustrating most of the time, including “petite sections.” There are fantastic designs catering to petites such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and up-and-coming Jeetly based out of the UK — featured in this post. But overall, our situation as tanchis, as petite women with panzas, is challenging because of our available petite apparel options, especially for those of us in our wonderful turbulent twenties, or as I call it our ‘This Isn’t College Anymore (or Entry-Level)‘ stage in life. We have enough to deal with. ha. The shortage of great clothing options that are available for petites just puts the cherry on the top of the typical tanchi problems.
I Want My 30th Birthday Already
I often joke and say, I can’t wait for my 30s because that is when you start to master it all. After learning so many more lessons the hard way from who to trust, who to love, and what to do with your life after college, the one thing I am proud of mastering, is curation – the way of the tanchi. To some, it may not seem that learning to dress is a huge accomplishment, as say birthing a child or closing on a property. I won’t pretend it is on the same level, but let me tell you for this tanchi – being petite and curvy – learning to dress for my style and body has been a journey. I’m proud of my closet (do not mess with it), and my ability to embrace and love my petite and curvy self – to represent a postitive image of the bella tanchi. I got one thing down in life and it took a lot of Winne the Pooh style hard thinking and trial and error to get it right. Today, I’d like to share and inspire fellow tanchis and honorary tanchis to put their best image out there in the world, despite that Petite Clothes Suck.
So What ‘s Up With Petite Clothes?
The heart and soul of the problem takes root in petite apparel construction. The Petite Shop has a great diagram that unveils the tweaks necessary for tanchi friendly garments:
Shorter inseams, shorter straps, shorter rise, and shorter sleeves. That’s it. It’s really pretty simple to understand us. But we are short in comparison to the 5’9 models that have become the industry norm. So how did the norm of today become the norm?
With 40% of women qualifying for petite status (under 5’4); I went into CSI mode to get to the bottom of petite gear and investigating why tanchis don’t like it.
A Brief History on How Clothes Are Made
I own some vintage dresses of my Mama Sonia’s that were made by my Mama Luz (my grandmother) back in San Salvador, in her dress making shop. My Mama Luz learned the trade of sewing and used it as a way to rise from “campesino life,” (peasants living in camps) and eventually became one of the most sought-after dressmakers in El Salvador. It is how clothes used to made – you found a dress maker, she took yours measurements, you came in for fittings, and then you had customized dress for your proportions. My Mama Luz is a master at making panza friendly garments and her beading work made for spectacular gowns. So cache (classy)!
Dressmaking Class by Margaret Lindsay c1950s or ’60s from the Lindenwood Library Archives
So what happened? Why has couture dress making become such a lost art? Even designer Yves Saint Laurent had rubbished couture — although later changed his mind as featured in this column by Colin: Is Haute Couture Poised for Reinvention or Irrelevance?
Dressmaking workshop and pattern diagrams, from the 1770′s Denis Diderot’s Encyclopedia
In looking at the history of clothing construction, couture lost its appeal because it made for inaccessible, slow and costly processes for making clothing. Even though fashion houses, such as Dior and Chanel, mastered the art and made many beautiful timeless garments post World War II and into the 50s and 60s, eventually advances in technology made it easier to mass-produce apparel. In addition to foreign trade policy, it revamped the tradition of making clothes and catered to changing tastes. Unfortunately for us petites and tanchis, it was not exactly in our favor.
The End of Everyday Couture: the 1970s Popularized “Ready-to-Wear”
“Ready-to-Wear” apparel pretty much took over and set the new stage for making clothes. It is the model prevailing in the industry today. Essentially, you go to a store where one particular item has been made from an industry norm pattern. Thousands of fabric pieces have been cut from those pattern pieces with big machinery, and thousands of pieces have been sewn together to make for thousands of the same kind of one clothing item. We hyper-industrialized apparel and this method is proven profitable.
The Petite Gap Remains in the Golden Era of “Ready-to-Wear”
Jess of Jeetly Petite shares that manufacturers aren’t interested in producing petite sized apparel because they feel it’s not worth their time, effort and cost to create new blocks for grading [when a pattern is taken and made to be smaller or larger than the original pattern]. It is far easier for them to take orders from non-petite brands that use standard size blocks. Petite woman make for a minority sector of the population, and there is little financial reward compared to the regular sized clothing industry.
Different Eras Cater to the Beauty of the Female Form
Today, “ready to wear” is on a whole other level. It has been shaped by leaders such as the Spanish company, Inditex, and has exploited this industrialization method and introduced the fast fashion conglomerates we have come to love such as Forever 21 and H&M. The end of everyday couture and the present gap for petite apparel in the golden age “ready-to-wear” is at a peak.
A few weeks ago, Courtney of the online vintage shop, Madame X Vintage featured Valentines Vintage wear in a post, A ‘Bella Tanchi’ Vintage Valentine’s Day and she reminded us that every time period has catered in some manner to the beauty of the female form. For example, the height of the 1950’s and 1960’s was the era of Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Raquel Welch (the golden age of Hollywood) -— a time when many women were smaller and curvier.
As fashion publicist, Kelly Cutrone says in her title, “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside,” “I promise you that if 60 percent of society decided that chunky, Rubenesque women were the epitome of fashion chic, the first people to give it to them would be fashion designers. But society is into the concept of thinner, younger, faster, better. Look around; they’ve taken great American literature and turned it into Twitter.” Kelly is right in that the demand for curvier, shorter apparel could be made possible if curvier, shorter women were desired as the epitome of fashion chic.
Tanchis, “Normal Gets You Nowhere” – Kelly Cutrone
The “normalcy” of how women look in the media isn’t exactly skewed in favor of the petite and curvy. This isn’t anything new, of course, but this shortage of representation is a problem because as Jess describes, “many petite women are not aware of petite brands because there is not enough coverage in glossy magazines and television media.” Petite brands are not dressing petite celebrities and petite women are more concerned with buying what celebrities are wearing than buying a proportioned petite style.
Really Going CSI: Investigating Pattern Making
To get in touch with the heart of the problem, which is in garment construction, I learned to make industry norm patterns – I choose a size 6 top to begin. My favorite key insight I took away was dart manipulation. This graphic below shows how in flat pattern making, you can adjust to make patterns for tanchi friendly garments. It is the key to making petite curvy patterns work – at least from the waist up.
By Mina Jugovic
Interviewing the Witnesses on the case: Why Petite Clothes Suck
Dart manipulation is a crucial element in flat pattern making – my teacher Susan Suarez used to say you gotta “let loose” because this is where the design takes form. Petite patternmaking isn’t as seamless as regular pattern making, though. Danielle C., currently in the foot apparel industry at Reebok, has observed how pattern making for petites almost looks deformed– — as though, our shape was some mystery and the patterns just looked unflattering. Aimee, a reader and editor of this blog, thinks the problem is people who aren’t tanchis are making clothes for tanchis. It is about time we had apparel for tanchis made by tanchis who really understand the life of a tanchi and our needs for apparel.
The Future: An End to Tanchis Making Do with Standard Sizing
What can we do about it? As Jess puts it, if we want to see petite brands on the high street, we need to support petite brands by making a purchase and spreading the word. We need to educate petite women about petite proportions and looking their best in perfectly proportioned clothes rather than making do with standard sizing. If there is demand, petite brands will survive and the industry will take petites more seriously. Only then will we be mainstream.
The case remains open Tanchis, to see what will happen to the status of petite clothing in a petite’s world. Till then – let’s curate away – the tanchi way of life!
Petite Gym Bag Hero’s
Keeping fit is key to a healthy lifestyle. But what motivates you to work out? A holiday? An event? A great workout kit? If yours is all that has been mentioned you will know how hard the last one is. Finding stylish petite workout kit is a tough task and you can waste hours on end searching the internet with little to inspire you. We have searched high and low, for petite workout kit and a great alternative, to make your day a little easier…
Sweaty Betty has a select range of petite workout trousers with the inside leg measurement on 29.5cm.
Warrior Yoga Pant
Trim Gym Workout Pant
Beat Box Workout Pant
Kensington Wideleg Track Pant
Lyrical Dance Pant
Pirouette Dance Pant
Ok, so if your budget doesn’t stretch to Sweaty Betty, Next has a selection of 5 trousers with a leg length of 27.5cm. Here’s a few of their best..
Next Full Length Roll Waist Joggers
Next Wide Leg Joggers
Next not hard core enough for your work out gear? USA Pro ¾ length trousers sit just above the ankle so they make a perfect long workout trouser for petite women. See this one for example…
Petite Gym Bag Hero’s was written by Heather Scott of www.projectpetiteuk.wordpress.com who proudly supports Petite Fashion Week. For more petite style advice, health and fitness tips and beauty reviews please subscribe to Project Petite.