One of the biggest challenges about having a body that is drastically different than most is finding age-appropriate clothing that actually fits. Although I am almost thirty years old, I am 2’7” in height, and finding clothes that don’t make me look like I’m three years old is incredibly challenging. For the most part, fashion made for people my size is smothered in unicorns and puppies and Disney Princesses…Ugh. So. Much. Pink.
Over the years, and through A LOT of trial and error (and shopping), I’ve found that there are a few mainstream stores that carry kids’ clothing that look more adult like. There are also certain cuts of junior and women’s size shirts and dresses that are easily alterable to fit my crazy-shaped body.
“For everyday I’ll go with simple basics from places like Old Navy and Reitmans. If I want to dress it up, I tend to lean a bit more boho (or “hippy” as my more style-conscious sister would say) and I have a handful of tops and dresses from Lucky Jeans that I like that have with beautiful patterning, better necklines and are a bit roomier for a more barrel-like chest.” Athena Cooper
I’ve also learned that it is virtually impossible for me to have the professional wardrobe I want without the help of a seamstress. Don’t get me wrong, hiring a seamstress does make the price of your clothes go up, but even minor alterations can make all the difference in the world. It’s amazing how a simple hem, a strategically placed dart, or a button adjustment can change the fit and comfort of an article of clothing. And ladies, if it’s not comfortable, we don’t want to wear it, right? Fashion shouldn’t feel painful.
It’s better to spend the extra $10-$20 to make the clothes you have into the clothes you want, rather than having a higher quantity of clothes that you only sort of like. It turns out that Stacy London and Clinton Kelly really knew what they were talking about on What Not to Wear (yes, I still love this show)!
“I like empire waist dresses where my length may be longer than intended but I can still save money w avoiding alterations. So maybe it was meant to be a dress that hits above the knees but for me looks good as a maxi dress. And the empire waist helps me feel better about how my barrel chest looks.” Dr. Kara Ayers
Here are a few stores that I’ve been able to find adult-looking, small clothes that either fit me right off the hanger or only need minor alterations.
- Dillard’s Kids’ Department: Out of all the major department stores, Dillard’s has the best selection of adult-looking kids’ clothes by far. I can usually find the staples of a complete wardrobe there—black pants, solid color shirts, shorts, decent jackets, sweaters, etc. I don’t usually find a lot of show-stopping pieces in the kids’ department, but all the basics are there. Of course sometimes there’s still altering to be done (usually just hemming), but I’ve just come to expect that when I buy any clothes.
- Dillard’s, JC Penny, and Macy’s Junior Departments: In general I’m a Dillard’s fan, but I’ve also found some cute tops and dresses at Macy’s and JC Penny. Juniors’ size extra small (and some small) tank tops and strapless dresses are fairly easy to alter in order to fit me. I’ve found that if I don’t need to make the shoulders of a piece of clothing fit, alterations only consist of quick darts or strap adjustments, which is no big deal. Also, sometimes it’s better for me to buy women’s and junior’s sized tops and have them altered rather than kid’s, because at the top, I am actually built like a woman (if you know what I mean). Kids’ clothing does not account for cleavage, which can be a major problem. It’s nice to find strappy tops and dresses to wear out to dinner, to a concert or to any special occasion that fit and make you feel pretty.
- Justice for Girls: Now, Justice is known for their god awful tween clothing filled with unicorns, puppies and rainbows, but sometimes they have decent leggings, jeggins, and skirts too. I’m not personally big on patterns, but some of theirs are okay and actually look nice when paired with a solid. I’ve found that their capri-style leggings actually fit me like regular length pants, so that’s convenient too!
- Forever 21: Although their clothes are generally not made to last, they’re inexpensive, trendy and the sizes usually run fairly small. I actually got one of my favorite little black dresses at Forever 21 a few years ago, and although it needed some alterations, it was one of the best purchases I ever made. Again, like Justice, I don’t always find things I love at Forever 21, but every once it a while there’s a diamond hidden amongst all the coal!
- Zulily: I started subscribing to Zulily this year because they have some of the cutest, least expensive strapless dresses and shirts I’ve ever found. Again, these clothes are not made to last, but for $7.59, who cares?! I figure if I get at least ten to twenty wears out of it, I’m coming out ahead. Some of my best “going out” shirts came from Zulily, and because they didn’t have sleeves, they were super easy to alter and looked great. This is definitely one to check out.
“I’m obsessed with capri leggings and cozy sweaters in the winter! The capri leggings usually are ankle length for me, and work perfectly. Then a nice cozy sweater that isn’t too overwhelming is the best!” Emily Hornburg
When you have a body that is different from the mainstream, it’s difficult to find clothes that A) look nice and B) actually fit. It’s important to figure out what styles and cuts work for you, and then to seek those out when you go shopping.
“I get all my shoes from either Cinderella of Boston or Astar shoes!” Christie Wood
It’s incredibly frustrating to try on shirt after shirt and pants after pants that just don’t fit. Believe me, I get it. If I try on something and it doesn’t fit (which it almost never does) but I like it, instead of being defeated and just putting it back on the rack, I decide if it is worth altering to make it fit. If I can get something on sale, chances are that I’m going to be willing to spend the extra $10 or $20 for a quick hem or dart. Again, if your body type is weird like mine, find a seamstress you like and become besties. It’s better to have a smaller wardrobe of clothes you love that fit rather than a humongous one full of fashion that you only sort of like that don’t necessarily fit you (physically or stylistically). It is possible to find age-appropriate fashionable clothes for people like us, but we do have to work a little harder at it!
You can read Katherine’s choice for a career and her why. Click here
Katherine Klimitas is a New Orleans-based artist and designer who sold her first watercolor at age 10. As the daughter of veterinarians, Katherine expresses her family’s life-long love of animals through her meticulous life-like paintings. She earned a B.A. from Loyola University in 2011, and today at age 29, runs her multifaceted business KAK ART & Designs from home. When clients learn that Katherine has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, they are captivated by her unique perspective.She’s 2 feet 7 inches tall, gets around in an electric wheelchair, and creates all of her art, jewelry and commercial graphic design while lying on her side.
kakartnola.com : Main Website
lookingupblog.com : blog
www.etsy.com/shop/kakart : Etsy store
facebook.com/kakartnola : Facebook