For a long time, Quebec retailer Reitmans was one of the few options for us petites — and one of the only places in the province to find clothes in petite plus sizes.
However, those days have now come to an end, as Reitmans has scrapped its petites section altogether, opting instead to “mix in” the sizes among its regular collections.
In practice, what this means is that there’s no more petites section in any of Reitmans’ stores. A determined shopper may still be able to find a few styles of pants in short length (which are only 2″ shorter than regular length, with no adjustment for rise). Though I should note that pant hem length is generally the least of any petite woman’s problems, since they can usually be shortened fairly easily.
Petite tops, tees, blouses, jackets, sweaters and dresses, on the other hand, are a thing of the past. On its website, Reitmans has replaced the petites section with a page featuring “tops perfect for petites“, which are basically just regular-sized misses’ tops that some web curator somewhere has decided are “flattering” on petites.
As a woman with a petite torso, I can tell you that’s a load of crap. I’ve tried on a few of those tops billed as “perfect for petites”, and I can assure you that they are nothing more than regular-sized misses’ tops. They have all the same issues as tops from anywhere else – too big at the shoulders, too long in the waist. It’s insulting that Reitmans, which was once one of the few retailers to understand petites sizing, thinks that we will swallow this hogwash.
What’s worse, Reitmans isn’t even owning up to what it did. Instead, it’s been trying to spin this development as making petites “even better“:
Reitmans, le plus important détaillant de vêtements au pays, est heureux d’annoncer ses nouvelles tailles sous une approche « Encore mieux ». Son guide des tailles sera dorénavant classé par chiffres pairs et ses tailles Plus et Petites seront offertes à travers toutes les collections.
Un plus grand choix de vêtements dans les tailles 0 à 22 et TTP à 3X est maintenant offert aux femmes de toutes les silhouettes.
That’s a particularly Orwellian use of the French language. Donald Trump would approve.
This is irksome enough for petites in straight sizes. But for plus-sized petites, Reitmans was the last hope. The disappearance of the petite plus section means that a large segment of the market here has literally nowhere left to shop. By most estimates, the average height for women in Canada is 5’4″ and the average size is 14. That means that, however you spin it, over 1 in 4 women likely falls into the petite plus category. And they’re left out in the cold, victims of both short-shaming and fat-shaming… and an industry that, it seems, couldn’t care less about them.
Reitmans was never the most fashion-forward or high quality brand. But they were a reliable source of reasonably-priced clothing in sizes that fit a range of body types. Until they decided that the only body types they care about are tall ones.
And the fact that they’ve made this move while still continuing to pretend that they have extended sizes and cater to petites? You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Reitmans. You’re not fooling us.
And Canadian retailers wonder why they’re losing so much market share to the US. Well, this is Exhibit A.
For shame, Reitmans. Seriously, for shame.