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Paula Darnell

Petite Sophisticate Stores Shut Down

By January 22, 2010

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It's sad to say that the only retail chain devoted exclusively to sales of petite clothing has closed all its stores. In March 2009, Charming Shoppes, which owned Petite Sophisticate, shut down the Petite Sophisticate Web site, but Petite Sophisticate outlet stores remained open. However, according to the company, later in the year the decision was made to close the Petite Sophisticate Outlet stores with the goal of converting the majority of the space to Catherines outlet locations by February 2010. Charming Shoppes also owns and operates Catherines, Lane Bryant, and Fashion Bug, all of which continue to operate.

It's a shame to see this petite fashion resource go away. It's been revived in the past, but with the current economy, I don't expect that to happen anytime soon, if at all. Charming Shoppes owns the Petite Sophisticate trademark and could sell the brand to another company.


January 27, 2010 at 2:14 am
(1) Alterations Needed says:

This is such a shame. Petite departments have also been slowly biting the dust. Saks Fifth Avenue closed down their petite department early last year (I wrote about it here), and I feel others are growing smaller and smaller.

Luckily, stores like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and Ann Taylor LOFT have increased their petite offerings…as well as their sizing options (yay to size petite xxs!)

February 8, 2010 at 2:19 am
(2) Laurie says:

As far as I’m concerned, Petite Sophisticates went away when Casual Corner Group sold them. When Charming Shoppes took over, the quality went way down.

March 29, 2010 at 8:48 pm
(3) Carol says:

It is kind of hard for a petite store to stay open when most of American are overweight. I loved Petite Sophisticate and I am bummed that they are now closed. When they had the online store I place many orders. It was hard for me to get to the nearest store which was a little over 2 hours away. So I would go once a year with my sisters and we would meet for a shopping day at the outlet mall. My spouse told me we would find one on our way to our spring break trip. Well he told me the sad news day that all the stores were now closed. I am 45 and I used to be a true size 0, but now with age I am a true size 2. It is so hard to find clothes to fit that are nice and look my age without always having to shop in the little girls department. I guess I will need to make a yearly trip to Paris where you can find real petite clothing because we have so many fat, obese americans.

September 18, 2010 at 8:54 am
(4) Adrienne says:

I was saddened by the closing of Petite Sophisticate and their Outlets. I am 35, I have two children and I’m a true size 0. All of America is not obese, so where does that leave us petite Americans. I now shop at Ann Taylor Loft and I like their clothes, but the Petite market should get on the ball and realize that not all of America is obese.

October 7, 2010 at 1:08 am
(5) Mary says:

Americans are getting bigger and bigger. I am 35 and 5ft with 2 kids, wears sizes 0 or less – it depends on the style of the clothes. Back to my freshmen year in college, I wore size 2 classic fit jean from GAP. But now, even their size 0 slim style jeans are sometimes to big for me. I am neither getting bigger nor smaller. Lots of cloth sizes now are lying to you. It used to be size 2 or 3 in 1990s, but now it becomes size 0. Ann Taylor Loft even sells size 00p. I am sad that the Petite Sophisticate is closed. It is my favorite clothing store. Most of other stores don’t care my size, if so, the clothes are very trashy or kiddie’s style. I like classic style.

November 4, 2010 at 7:35 pm
(6) Dawn says:

Classic, Sophiticated, quality petite clothing that “FITS”. That is what I knew I could find at Petite Sophisticate.

I have tried on “petite” clothes from many stores and come away from the dressing room wondering why the label touted “petite”! Are there standards for what a petite fit is?

November 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm
(7) Dawn M says:

im 4′ 11 and wear a size 2p i go into department stores and all i will find are 4p believe me they look like something a 90 yr old would wear what happened to being fashionable with petite soph. the clothes not only fit but were very fashionable

December 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm
(8) DD says:

I am 5ft 4″ and have always found it hard to find nice clothing that fits. I worked for petite sophisticate many years ago. I enjoyed their attitude of customer service and attention. However, in recent years when I went back to the shop the personal level of attention was not there. I found I could get the same items at other Department stores so I did.

I am sorry they had to go but perhaps some of it was of their own doing.

January 25, 2011 at 10:56 am
(9) Betsy says:

Wow – what a huge dissappointment and inconvenience!!! I loved Petite Sophisticate; other stores who carry petites tend not to have the quality that Petite Sophisticate had. I would agree that in recent years, the quality went way down; however, generally it was the one place I could go when I needed something specific in a hurry. Now what???!!!

February 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm
(10) momp says:

I too believe the quality went down after they were sold. I worked there for a year and a half and loved the clothes and working there.
However, I disagree with you on the definition of petite – please realize that “petite” does not mean small in size but more like small in height. A woman can be petite and a size 10.
I do agree that clothing manufacturers have altered their sizes to please growing Americans who want to stay wearing a certain size.

February 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(11) Susan says:

I had NO idea Petite Sophisticate closed. How awful. I don’t get to purchase many nice things, but…..I am 60 and 5′ 2″ and weigh 100 lbs. and my son is getting married in June and I have NO idea where to begin to find something fitting to wear. Any ideas???? (and money is an issue, too). I need to have some sort of sleeve and NOT a low neck. Any ideas?

February 21, 2011 at 8:49 am
(12) Chris L. says:

I have a teenager who is 5″ 90 lbs and has been for a couple of years now….I have been searching for dress shoes for her prom; she wears a size 3 womens, size 1-2 childrens. Naturally I cannot find anything…..she cant be the only person who needs adult shoes in a tiny size!!!! Can anyone recommend a store or online place? Zappos and the like have very limited and mostly sporty selections of shoes, not dressy. Thanks!

February 21, 2011 at 10:23 am
(13) Paula Darnell says:

See my list of Small Shoes for Petite Feet for 10 resources:


Paula Darnell
About.com’s Guide to Petite Fashion

February 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm
(14) Anastasia says:

I am very disappointed with the closure…It was the only store where I was able to shop and find my size with reasonable prices and clothes that fit well and of good quality.

I used to be a size 0 and now at age 42 I am 4p.
It’s really hard to shop now…

March 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm
(15) Dara Shank says:

Since I can see the issue from the vantage of a 62 year old that has shopped at Petite Sophisticate for years, I felt compelled to comment. Going from a true size 0 as a teen to a size 2 and then 4 in my 20′s, 30′s and 40′s and then to a 6 petite in my 50′s and 60′s, I was always a fan of petite sophisticate. Do you know how many stores start sizes at an 8 and many of those aren’t even petite 8′s?
How sad our society caters to large and obese rather than small and proportionate.

April 6, 2011 at 9:34 am
(16) Loulou says:

What a surprise that a bunch of skinny old women are complaining about Petite Sophisticate closing because of too many fat people…the real truth is that now that women get better nutrition during pregnancy, and aren’t smoking, drinking and starving themselves the way women did in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, people are taller in general and it’s not that common to see younger women who are under 5’2″. Go to a college campus and tell me if I’m wrong. There are a HUGE number of younger women who are tall and can’t find enough tall clothes. Sorry shrimps, but in another generation pretty much everyone is going to be over 5’4″, it’s called “evolution.”

April 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm
(17) Anne Macke says:

Please reopen Petite Sophistocate. My clothes from there are starting to wear down and I can’t find clothes anywhere else that I could buy and just wear, especially pants.

April 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm
(18) Marjy says:

Why the assumption that petite means skinny? I’m an apparently evolutionarily deficient 5′ size 8. Not skinny, but not obese. It’s disappointing to lose yet another source for clothing that fits my shorter limbs and torso, that being what petite actually means. Anorexics can still find their vanity 0′s in the Jr’s section. We short folks with realistic body types are just going to have to keep looking!

May 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm
(19) Gin says:

Wow Loulou—your post is really harsh. Why be such a hater? Being short isn’t always due to poor nutrition during pregnancy. Sometimes it’s genetics. Take a nice pill.

May 31, 2011 at 10:19 pm
(20) Marilyn says:

Where can I find jeans that really fit. I found a pair in Nashville two years ago and I want another pair. They say Petite Sop.. on the waist band. I am 5′, size 8 short, 62 years old and trying not to shrink. What am I to do??

June 27, 2011 at 8:22 am
(21) jaylite says:

I suppose you’re referring to me as being old since I fit into your “pregnant during the 50s, 60s 70s” category. I’m 39 years old, 5:4″ and my mother never smoke, drank, or starved herself during her pregancy with me. It’s genetics. Period. Your post is rude and ignorant. If you think that being 39 is “old” – wake up. This “evolution” that you speak of also consists of medical advances and people taking care of themselves better, therefore extending the general life expectancy of everyone. We’re not old at 39.

July 15, 2011 at 10:44 am
(22) Kathy says:

I agree…not all are obese. Petite Sophisticate was the only place where I found clothes small enough. I too was a ’0′ size and now a 2 and 5′. I have a hard time buying clothes to really fit and not breaking the bank. I wish a reputable company would buy the PS quality line and get back to business!

August 3, 2011 at 2:39 am
(23) Sherie says:

Wow, aren’t you all just a stuck-up bunch? I’m ashamed to say that I used to sound just like you, back before I understood that being “fat or obese” isn’t as simple as being lazy and eating too much. But I guess ignorance is bliss for all of you perfect people, huh?

September 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm
(24) Anne Gray Haynes says:

Most of the clothes in my wordrobe are from Petite Sophisticates. I have not found the quality and the beautiful styling that that store offered since. I was hoping I could find them online. But I guess they are gone. I am very sorry and I haven’t bought many clothes since they went out of business. I just can’t find my size!

October 15, 2011 at 10:24 am
(25) Pat says:

Ditto to what Anne H. Kathy, and all others who miss P.S. have said. Even with the best alterations, clothes from other stores just don’t fit as well.

As for you haters, I’m so sorry you feel that way. I hope that at some point you become comfortable enough in your own bodies, regardless of size, to have no need to be so catty towards petite women.

October 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm
(26) Joyce says:

I just returned from a trip with my mother that included a stop at the Mall of America. My goal in going there was to go to Petite Sophisticate to buy pants. As I looked at the list of stores, I did not see them listed. We ended up going to Macy’s petite department where I was able to find pants that fit. Over the years I have bought many wonderful things from Petite Sophisticate and am sorry to hear they are not around any more. As for shoes, I buy many of my “big girl” shoes on line through Cinderella shoes. I have had better quality, but they do have some very fun shoes.

October 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm
(27) Angela says:

“LouLou” – The AVERAGE American woman is 5’4,” which technically falls into the “petite” height range. Your premise that petite stature is solely a result of poor nutrition & age is inaccurate and demonstrates your ignorance. From a Darwinian perspective (the father of evolution), being tall offers no evolutionary advantage. If anything, one could argue that being petite is an advantage because your center of gravity is lower (closer to ground), you have better heat efficiency due to a smaller body surface area, and there is less stress on the bones due to gravity.

Although nutrition played a component in height during the early 19th century (i.e. not the 50′s, 60′s, or 70′s), stature is largely a result of genetics, just like eye color, hair color, and heritability for certain diseases.

So…LouLou, I would advise you to do a bit of research before making sweeping generalizations. Otherwise, you come across as an ignorant buffoon (such as in this case)

October 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm
(28) M. Tag says:

I miss petite sophisticate :-( . I’m 5’2 size 4 and I have the
Hardest time finding affordable clothes that fit. Ann Taylor
Does carry some very nice items, but PS was my goto store.
I did notice the quality change over the last few years, but I’ve
Noticed that with most clothing stores in the US. It’s a shame that it’s becoming more difficult to purchase a quality made item at a reasonable price. The materials and fabrics used in most clothing today ( with exception to French and Italian made clothing) is disposable and not meant to withstand normal wear.

November 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm
(29) jad543 says:

Ebay is a good source to find Petite Sophisticate clothing. I am a seller and I find great items at thrift and consignment stores, and also yard sales, many brand new. I am now listing a pair of pants in camel, size 4P, new with tags. I also have a tie-neck blouse in 2P. Check them out – look under member ID conchita543.

November 17, 2011 at 10:47 pm
(30) Lizabeth says:

Well where do I start. I am 4ft 10in and weigh between 84 and 88 lbs and can not find anything to wear lost my wardrobe after catrina and what no clothes. I pray the pettitie sophicate will open again I am tried of kids clothes and wish to dress for my age and the occasion. Please reopen as you were the only place I could find clothes.

March 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm
(31) Ndcity says:

Petite sophisiticate had more than size zero to 10. It had size 14 & 16p for us short fat petites. My favorite rain coat I bought was a petite/large. Always cracked me up – sort of like Jumbo Shrimp. Oxymoron for sure.

April 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm
(32) bubbamae says:

I’m no longer a 2, and am in fact much larger, but heightwise Petite Sophisticate still fit the bill better than any other store around.

As for “evolution” with the infusion of small boned Asians and very petite, meaning under 5 feet, Asians and Latinas the petite category will not disappear from America any time soon. I’d be willing to know where those first wave Vietnamese ladies (they’re usually wealthy) shop now?

August 17, 2012 at 11:35 am
(33) Sharon says:

I’m wearing a pair of off white pants I bought from Petite Sophisticate quite some time ago and they fit perfectly. I began to wonder just when did this store closed and in my search I stumbled upon this blog. Just for the record, not all petite sizes are 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8. When I shop petite clothing I wear 10P or 12P, I’m 4’11 148lbs, thick, tight (muscle) and very healthy (not fat), my husband loves it, something he can hold on to, not skin and bones! I love petite clothes because the proportions are just right. The sleeves and shoulders on jackets aren’t too long or too big, the crouch in pants is where it’s suppose to be and you don’t have to wear the pants way above your waistline, the lenght is just right. So, it’s not just short skinny women who wear petite sizes. Shout out to the short “full figure” women. I Really Miss Petite Sophisticate!!!

September 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm
(34) Kathy says:

Yes, I am very disappointed as well that America only caters to the “large and lovely” what about all us woman who are small and petite? I am a 64 yr old woman who needs to find clothes that fit me and are age appropriate. I fit into juniors size “0″ and “1″, but their styles are not exactly what I prefer to wear. Just jeans and sports clothes doesn’t quite cut it for me. I have always had a hard time finding clothes once Petite Sophisticate closed. It was my favorite go to store for fashionable, reasonable good quality clothes that FIT! Now i am doomed to trying to find something that fits me. Not much choices no matter where I go. I can’t afford an $80.00 pair of pants in some of the higher priced department stores and it’s just SO FRUSTRATING. Can’t someone realize that there is a LARGE market of SMALL woman who need clothing too? We are being discriminated against because we have not gotten overweight and out of shape. What a World!!! PLEASE SOMEONE, HELP US!

November 8, 2012 at 7:34 am
(35) misschtterbx12 says:

I used too work at PS many years ago and LOVED just about everything that came in. My paycheck went back to the store because I bought so many items there. I like conservative classic clothing which is hard to find in any size especially petite. The quality of affordable clothing is very low these days-my PS clothes have endured for years while my other brand clothes have come and go. I used to be a size zero but was thrilled to finally graduate to a size 6 on my young adult years LOL! Four kids and many years later, I am now struggling to get back to size 10. There’s nothing wrong with being a zero or a 10 as long as you’re healthy. It’s not healthy being too skinny or too fat. My 4′ 11″ body misses PS dearly! By the way, about Americans getting fatter, people are getting wider because we less mobile and food preportions are getting bigger. I see a lot of leftover sizes 0-6 on the displays and racks that are not selling. The clothing industry is trying to keep up with our growing populce.

February 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm
(36) shirley says:

Goodness, I haven’t bought clothes in a long time. When I did buy from them I was looking nice, age appropriate. now the clothes everything is leggings, tight, it’s bad. I guess I wil have to go back sewing, and that’s not much cause you have to be in the mood. Can somebody help me, if you have old clothes to you and you want to donate them, I am wiling to take them. thanks

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