Saturday, January 29, 2005

Are Americans getting shorter?

In the past few years I've got from a size four or six to a two, and I have not lost any weight, as far as I can tell, in this time. My old size six pants fit the same as my newer size twos. This is because, as we all know, clothing is getting bigger along with the shoppers themselves, and stores realize a customer thrilled to finally be a ten and not a fourteen will buy that dress, while one who sees she's still a fourteen will give the dress itself a more careful examination.

But I was shocked today, trying on pants at a Banana Republic in one of Michigan Avenue's many "vertical retail environments," when I realized that the slacks I was trying on were too short. Yes, they were a petite, but at 5'2'' I've always assumed I'm petite's intended audience. And no, they were not meant to be cropped or capris. Nope, I was simply too tall for these pants. Feeling tall, skinny, and glamorous, I nevertheless did not end up buying anything at Banana Republic. I did, however, overhear a middle-aged man say to his wife, in a different part of the mall, "I've never really understood Banana Republic." The concept or the store? Probably the store, given the context. But does anyone really understand Banana Republic? It's like the GAP, but somewhat higher-end, like J.Crew, but a touch less preppy, like Club Monaco, but not as edgy...

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