Guest Post on The Demoiselles

The bloggers at The Demoiselles invited me to write a guest post for their “Out of the Nest” series, in which they share different thoughts and experiences about body image from fellow bloggers. Here’s a little post I put together for them, and check out the rest of their series. There’s some great stories in there!


Alterations Needed is a twenty-something city girl who dumped her college-age closet with a vow to build a respectable adult wardrobe. However, at a towering 4’11” tall, she found herself too small for conventional garment sizing, and constantly pointed towards the children’s department by well meaning “average-sizers”. Refusing such injustices, she started a blog documenting her adventures in xxs petite fashion and building a wardrobe, as well as a community for like-sized women to share their shopping experiences.
I am the human equivalent of a teacup chihuahua. I conveniently fit in most overhead storage compartments. I never complain about inadequate leg room. I have been lifted, without permission, off the ground by complete strangers, but I’m usually quite nice about it if you ask beforehand. At 4’11” tall, and 85 pounds, as a full grown adult I am the size most people were at age 12.

But that is not all I am. I am also a thoughtful dresser, lover of style, and appreciator of good fit. I believe in clothing’s ability to completely transform a person and how we feel about ourselves. The day I began to think deeply about how I wanted to dress myself, and how I wanted to present myself to the world, was the day I began to truly feel self confident. I love a well dressed woman, but want even more to be one.

So, I’m on a quest to build a stylish, respectable wardrobe, free of children’s clothing thank-you-very-much. Give me cashmere…give me tweed…give me silk…
But how do you do build a wardrobe when fashion is not made for someone of your…*ahem*…stature. Fashion is made for the tall and thin, not the short, and, well, I’m very short.  I paw through racks of clothing, looking for something – anything – that runs small. I stand in dressing rooms, tugging and pulling on extra fabric, wondering if it can be taken in, up or chopped. I woefully return beautiful garments because my tailor tells me it can’t be altered…proportions are all wrong…simply can’t be fixed…

When you’re this small, shopping becomes an interesting adventure. Necklines end rather immodestly below the bust. Shoulder seams hang down the arm. Waist details end up somewhere near the belly button. Arm holes droop down by the waist. Bust details are never in the right place. Pant rises hover dangerously near Steve Urkel heights. Fabrics can swamp me. Prints can swamp me. Length can swamp me. Basically, imagine a little girl playing dress-up in her mother’s closet. That’s me trying to dress myself in standard sized clothing. Cute when you’re 7…not when you’re 27.

But I press on. My perseverance is unyielding. I will find those elfin-sized designer shoes, because I will call the customer service to every retail store known to man, and have them shipped from across the globe if need be. I have become so aware of how poorly garments fit on me, it’s exhausting, but oh so rewarding when I hear those magic words, “that fits you perfectly”. You bet your average-sized ass it does…I spent months hunting it down, and a week getting it tailored.
Finding yourself on the extremes of what is considered “standard” is insanely difficult. After beginning my wardrobe building adventures, I’ve never felt more connected or sympathetic towards the styling plights of my plus-size and tall counterparts. I chat with tall women about the unreasonable limits of fabric hems,  and lament with plus-size girls about the prevalence of polyester (what? no silk?) in anything larger than a size 14, or labeled with a giant “P”. And don’t get me started on the injustices of the “in store only” coupon (um…but you only carry special sizes online…how am I supposed to use this?). 
So…to all the special sized ladies out there…press on! And to all the tall skinny girls out there…back away from that 00…you don’t want to make me angry. I bite ankles.
Join the Conversation


  1. says: Jen

    Fantastic post! I do want to mention one thing you left out: the head pats. Random new acquaintances patting you on the head and saying "oh, I just want to put you in my pocket!" because that's not at all patronizing.


    Oh, and just wanted to note I finally found perfect skinny jeans in a light wash and in white at AF kids this past week. All their jeans are on sale and the 12slim and 10 fit like they were made for me! This style had better butt/hip fit than most, I also bought 2 fleece jackets in moto jacket style and military style size M. Very surprising for that store!

  2. says: Alterations Needed

    Jen – Ha! Yes! The head pats! I tend to get talked to in that annoying higher pitched voice, like you'd use to talk to a child or a pet, more often than the head pats. I've had to bite my tongue a few times at work when bosses use that tone.

    Yay to perfect skinny jeans! Congrats on finding them on sale.

    I found a super tiny silk skirt at Bloomingdales yesterday and I immediately thought of you! It's super small and the smallest size fits me super snug. I'm going back tonight to pick it up, and might even have to size up! I bet it would fit you in the smallest size! I'll do more research and post about it tomorrow!

  3. says: stylepint

    Great post and especially on Demoiselles! I get the whole "arm rest" thing where they put their arm on my head or shoulders…I'm not furniture! =) The internet is a great thing, especially to find other people who deal with the same issues on being petite and finding solutions together!

  4. says: peachcharm

    great post! this reminds me of my own life… I hate it when I see a size 00 or an XXS/XS and it runs at least 2 sizes too big. What's even worst is when mirrors are outside the dressing room, and a sales associate asks if you need a different size… sorry but I'm already wearing it -___-

  5. says: Lisa

    Love it! Very well written.

    I get this all the time…"you are sooooo tiny and cute". I never thought I'd be in my 40's and still called cute. LOL!

    Jen, I picked up the perfect pair of jeans today at H&M kids. Size 11/12. Skinny's. They fit like a dream. Perfect length and best of all no waist gap. I did a little jump for joy in the dressing room.

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