Saturday, June 18, 2011

L.L.Bean: Great for totes, awful for slim petite clothing.

I love button-down shirts. You can roll up the sleeves and wear it with a pair of jean shorts for an effortless, classy casual look, or wear it with slacks, pencil skirts and/or a sweater for an instant professional look (hello, teacher wardrobe staple!). Finding good ones for reasonable prices has been difficult: the shirts that the always-petite-friendly H&M carries are of questionable quality and are usually too tight, and have buttons that only start mid-way down. I've found gems at Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers, but I need a more affordable option to fill out my currently limited professional wardrobe.

So what store came to mind for affordability and quality? L.L. Bean, of course! I never cease to be amazed by how well their products hold up, namely my beloved tote:

Perfect for picnics!...and pretty much everything else.

I was super happy to see that L.L.Bean not only has a petite line, but also a GREAT selection of oxford shirts at reasonable prices! I ordered a pink pinstripe oxford shirt in XSP:

Mind you, I wasn't expecting a fit as tight as a Hollister button-down, but rather a somewhat loose, relaxed fit like the one shown on the model above. I specifically ordered the SLIMMER FIT, rather than the classic fit...but here's what I got:

No no no!

An XSP, which I was hoping would fit somewhere in the sz. 0-4 petite size range, ending up being as wide as an 8P (Not that 8P is wide! It's just too wide to be considered an XS.) Since my mom is a size 8 petite, I had her try on the shirt, and of course it fit her perfectly. In other petite lines such as Talbot's, she is a medium petite. So why do they call it an XS if it actually fits like a M? I'm not talking normal vanity sizing, either. Here's a comparison of three different brands of button-downs:

Hollister's XS fits me quite snugly, but I prefer not to wear it since teen-store clothing makes me look more like a high schooler than I already do. Brooks Brothers' size 0P is ideal: not too tight, but comfortable and flattering. L.L.Bean's size XSP is petite-friendly in the length and shoulder width, but much wider.

Moral of the story? Curvier/bustier petites may benefit from L.L.Bean's more relaxed fit, since the length and shoulder width is true to petite size. Slim petites, stay away!! Unless you're at least a size 8, don't expect to fit into L.L.Bean's shirts.

I'll stick to the accessories!



Alterations Needed said...

Wow! XS fits like a 8P? That's a big difference. I wonder what L.L.Bean's target demographic is, because that sizing runs really large. Thanks for the shirt comparison pic!

Stylepint said...

The sizing usually reflects the target market. The teen stores run slimmer and the older the target group, the wider and less shapely the garments to account for changes in body size and shape. =)

ShortBlonde said...

Stylepint- your target market point makes a lot of sense! I wonder, though, why there's such a difference in sizing between Talbot's and L.L.Bean, since their target market is around the same (I think). Sizing is so unreliable!!

Diana said...

LL Bean's cardigans are very petite, though, and they are super comfortable. I have had mine for over a year and it still looks like new despite many washings. I think it's 100% cotton and 3/4 sleeves. My mother-in-law (who's shorter and smaller than me) picked up a whole bunch of them last year and she's been wearing them all year too.