Petite Chick Problems: What’s The Age-Limit For Shopping In The Juniors Section?

August 22, 2012  |  


“They should rename this store to Forever 41,” My friend loudly whispered during a shopping trip one day, “There are so many old women in here!”

I laughed and pointed out that neither of us are 21 either.

“True. But we’re closer to it than she is.” My friend rudely pointed to a much older woman who was walking away holding a shirt that they both had set their sights on. I’m fairly certain the lady heard the “old woman” comment, but she didn’t turn around.

I think about that conversation sometimes when I’m shopping in certain stores. Pushing past thirteen-year-olds in the Juniors’ department of Macy’s, I wonder if they’re dressing too old for their age or if I’m dressing too young. I’m probably the one who is out of place considering that I’ve been wearing Juniors’ clothing since I began shopping for myself in middle school. It’s not like I’m old enough to be these kids’ mother, but for women in their mid-twenties and thirties, is clothing about being size-appropriate or age-appropriate?

I’m inclined to believe that size-appropriate is most important. What distinguishes Women’s from Petites’ from Juniors’ is cut. So, for women shaped a certain way, Juniors’ clothes simply fit better than Women’s and vice versa. Personally, I’m not exactly Bootylicious, so the typical straight-up-and-down cut of Juniors’ jeans is more flattering than Women’s jeans that often leave room for hips I don’t have.  Granted, that’s as long as those jeans aren’t too low cut with neon stitching and that “Baby Phat” cat on the back pocket.

In some cases, I do think “age-appropriate” is the first thing to consider even if the item fits. When I graduated from college, I slowly stopped buying Victoria’s Secret PINK sweatpants. Mainly because I have enough and also because I can’t think of a time post-college when I’ll want to be caught out in public wearing bedazzled sweatpants with “PINK” plastered across my butt. Besides, that $45 price tag is a cable bill.

In fact, price is probably the main reason I continue to shop in the Juniors’ section because it seems that Juniors’ clothes can be more affordable than Women’s. However, I don’t want to dress like a pre-teen when I’m far from it just to save a buck.I have a friend who says “I don’t wear those kids clothes” whenever I suggest we look in Charlotte Russe. I don’t think I wear “kids clothes” either. I just think those clothes are cheaper.

While I’m still trying to find my place in the space between low cut jeans with neon stitching and “mom jeans”, I appreciate those stores who don’t really distinguish between Women’s and Juniors. Stores like H&M and Express use women sizing (2,4,6,8) yet the fit is similar to clothing found in the Juniors’ section of a department store. Those stores are the best because they don’t require me to shop underneath a “Back to School!” sign while trying to find something that fits.

Really, I wish all stores would do away with distinguishing Juniors from Women’s. I’ve always thought that as long as the clothes fit and don’t look juvenile then it doesn’t matter what section or store they were bought from.  What do you think? Do you think anyone of any age can shop in the Juniors’ section? If not, when did you stop shopping in Juniors’?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink

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