In a thread a while back, Unfrumped said: "in the "real" store you can touch, feel, see before you purchase and if you go to different stores and departments within a store, it becomes easier to compare items literally side-by-side, or at least via recent memory."

A few months ago, I had the rare opportunity to shop for a couple of hours in Toronto. I had to return my Zara moto and my badly fitting Brooks Brothers shirt. I also visited Ann Taylor. That was about all I had time for, unfortunately, but it was highly educational all the same.

I discovered quite a lot about fit in both Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor. Some of what I learned is relevant to Laura's recent slouchy pants threads. ( So, my musings, in case they are of value to anybody else.

First, Brooks Brothers.

I had wanted one of their non-iron shirts for a long time. Over the phone, after discussion and the trading back and forth of measurements, customer service determined I should wear a petite fitted shirt size 2 or possibly a 4P if it were a tailored fit. I ordered a 2P. We saw the result of that in an earlier thread. The shirt is WAY too short.

(Evidence, Pic. 1) I ended up keeping the striped version simply because I can use it with skirts. But now, having been to the B&M store, I know my true size.

I tried on many, in both petites and regular.

Lo and behold, the best fit (except, predictably, for the sleeve length) was 2 regular in a tailored shirt (vs. the fitted style). The sleeves are not SO long that they look ridiculous full length, and since I scrunch them most of the time anyway, it really isn't an issue. (Pics 2 & 3)

Discovery #1: I can wear a regular shirt at Brooks Brothers -- despite being on the upper edge of petite height, and quite short waisted.

Second: Ann Taylor

In the past, I have had some success with Ann Taylor petites. I have a 4P jacket from them that fits perfectly, and also a silk blouse in that size. The sleeves and shoulders on both are ideal, and while the blouse is perhaps a bit loose in the body, it's loose in a good way. (Or so I think!)

On my shopping trip, because I *could* do so, I tried on both petites and regulars in a different silk blouse.

And here is what I discovered. The 4P blouse fit okay; in fact, the SA saw it and said, "That's a good fit." Which it was.

But the 0 regular fit much BETTER, except that the sleeves were a tiny bit long. Not a huge amount long, just a little bit too long. Not a problem for someone who always scrunches, and in any case, they can be folded back, like a French cuff.

Discovery #2: I can wear a regular shirt in AT! Yay! This expands my shopping options, so I am happy.

I also tried on a dress. I didn't compare the petite and regular. Just tried the regular size…and it fit!

Discovery #3: I can wear a regular dress in AT. Yippee! Another expansion.

In future I would like to compare dresses and see which is the best. I imagine it might depend on the particular style.

Lest anyone think that I'm simply a regular sized person who has been deluding herself that she's a petite, I can provide some counter-evidence in the form of Banana Republic, where the petite version of any top or jacket or skirt or dress will ALWAYS fit me better than the regular sized version.

Having said that, I NEVER wear petite pants, from ANY maker.

Umm…EXCEPT for Ann Taylor!

I have a pair of modern fit skinny jeans from AT in petite that I really like. Thing is, they are on the slightly slouchy side…probably a size up from my actual size (but I bought them just after I lost weight when I had no idea about my size). They fit quite snug when I put them on but an hour later the crotch point is sort of creeping lower a bit and they get a slightly looser look. To tell the truth, I don't mind it.

So, while I was at AT, I tried on pants in regular sizes. I figured, if the blouse and dress fit in regulars, won't the pants fit in regulars, too?

Um…no. They do not. Or at least I did not discover a pair that did. They were either too big, or just not proportioned correctly for me.

What I DID discover was that if I size UP in petites at AT, I get a fun, slightly slouchy look. And so that is how I bought my print pants. I think they are intended to be more snug, but I preferred the slight looseness. If I had sized up even further, as Laura did, I might have found a pair that would offer me super-slouch.

Discovery #4: I CAN sometimes wear petite pants!

I also tried on pants at J. Crew. Sarah had suggested I try the Matchsticks for slouchy skinnies. But alas, no go. They look okay in my actual J. Crew size (which I only discovered today) but a size or two up they just look stupid, not nicely slouchy at all but hugely baggy and ill fitting.

I also tried the Gap "Original Fit" in (what I think) is my actual size. Cinnamon Fern wears hers to perfection and I love them so much on her I wanted to try them out myself. But I would have to size down for them to work at all, and they probably wouldn't work then, either.

So the hunt for the perfect slouchy skinnies continues. In the meantime, I do have my great distressed BF jeans from BR, with their moderate slouch, plus my super-slouchy ones from Gap.

Thank you for bearing with this musing, and I hope it is of some benefit to somebody out there!

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