Sunday, 17 March 2013

Are you an odd size?

All that I wanted to do was to buy some new trousers that fit me properly.  Is that too much to ask for?  Ideally they would be dark brown, to fit in with my existing wardrobe, and even more ideally the length would be just right (have I mentioned that I'm only 5' 1"?) However I was willing to compromise: I would settle for a lighter shade of brown if necessary, or maybe navy, though I didn't want any more black.  I have already posted my findings that on-line shopping websites stock mainly black petite trousers, which is very frustrating when you want a different colour.  I had decided that I would even accept a pair that was too long if they were otherwise a good fit. After all I could have them turned up, so long as the style allowed it i.e. they were straight leg and not boot cut trousers.

I have accepted that buying petite trousers in Spain is almost impossible.  I had tried a couple of pairs in El Corte Ingles, but as well as being too long, they weren't a good fit . However I did some research on the internet prior to my recent visit to London and had drawn up a short list of shops and brands to try out.  I was pretty confident that my search would soon be over, as I had bought numerous pairs of petite trousers in London when I lived there.

First stop was John Lewis on Oxford Street. I had spotted a pair of CC Petite trousers on their website that I liked the look of, so I  headed eagerly to the Women's section to look for them, but in vain. Where were they?  I eventually tracked down a helpful shop assistant, who told me that the trousers were only available on-line: honestly, you couldn't make it up!

Perfect for me - apart from the length!
Next stop was House of Fraser, who also had shown CC Petite trousers on their website, but again I couldn't find any. This time a shop assistant said she thought the "CC" was actually Country Casuals, which they didn't stock - apart from on-line, presumably!  She suggested that I try Debenhams.

No sign of the elusive CC Petite trousers in Debenhams, which didn't surprise me as there weren't any on their website, though I did try on a couple of pairs of brown trousers from other brands, all of which were deeply unflattering as well as being over-priced.

My last two stops were Banana Republic and good old Marks and Spencer.  This time I had my personal shopper with me, aka my daughter Kate.  Being artistic, Kate can immediately spot the right colours and styles, so is an ideal shopping partner.

I headed to the changing rooms at Banana Republic with two very promising pairs of trousers in different styles. As I have grown older, my waistline has also grown.  I was a UK size 8 in my twenties, gradually increasing to size 10.  In more recent years size 12 has fitted me perfectly, but Kate's critical eye and my own honesty told me that size 12 was now a fraction too tight. Reluctantly I asked her to bring me size 14, but those trousers were far too baggy.

It was the same story in Marks and Spencer.  I tried on several pairs of trousers, but in most cases the problem was the style.  Leggings and jeggings cling too much and show every bump. Slim styles were equally unflattering when I tried on size 12, but size 14 were slightly baggy.  I soon realised that what I really need is a size 13, but all I had to choose from were sizes 12 and 14. Shoe manufacturers make half sizes (my perfect fit is usually 4½) so why can't clothing manufacturers work on a similar system?

I have come to the reluctant conclusion that the majority of clothes on the high street are made for younger women, and particularly trousers and jeans. Most of them are low-rise or mid-rise, which means that any excess fat rolls over the top, which is not a good look. If you find some that sit on the waist they are usually designed for women of a certain age and the style is slightly baggy, old-fashioned and unflattering.  I know that I am over 60, but I still like to wear clothes that are stylish and modern and not "old lady" clothes. After all, not every younger woman is tall and slim, so if it's frustrating for me, it must be even more frustrating for them. Just because you aren't the perfect size 10, it doesn't mean that you don't want to wear fashionable clothes.

Do you have the same problems finding trousers that fit you properly?  Any brands that you can recommend for those of us who are over 60 (or not as slim as we were!) but would like a stylish, modern look?


  1. Hi Sue, I always have difficulty getting trousers to fit, if they go over my hips they are baggy on the waist, fit me on the waist and I daren't sit down for fear of splitting the seams.

    Then I went to our local retail outlets and found a shop that sells the brand Klass, and suddenly I had trousers that fit. If they fit my waist, they fit my hips: too big on the waist too big on the hips. And reasonably priced too. They are usually a little long as I wear flat shoes although they would be perfect length if I had small heels on. The measure guide on the website shows they do a petite range. And their straight leg trousers fit on my waist, not below. There seems to be more choice in store than on the website but maybe there's a store near where you visit that you can take a look at on your next visit.

  2. Hi Jacqui

    Thanks for your tip: I'm always on the look-out for good websites for petite sizes. I'll definitely investigate them!