Perceived body cathexis and garment fit and style proportion problems of petite women

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Virginia Tech


The purposes of this study were to determine if petite women have a positive or negative body cathexis, to see if petite women perceive themselves as having garment fit and style proportion problems, and to explore the relationships between these variables and selected demographic information.

The sample was made up of 132 Spiegel catalog shoppers. The sample ranged in height from 4'9" to 5'6" with 670/0 being 5'2" and under. Results for the 5'2" and under were looked at separately.

The total sample was satisfied with all the body cathexis variables except for thighs and stomach. The 5'2" and under petites were satisfied with all the variables except four, leg length, hips, stomach, and height. Most of the fit problems were associated with length. The majority of the sample 5'2" and under reported available clothing too long in the sleeves, skirts, pants, and crotch depth.

Most of the style proportion problems reported in this research were associated with the length of garments and garment components. The miscellaneous items that created the most problems for this sample were pocket location and dart location. These problems were more predominate for the 5'2" and under sample. Over 50% of 5'2" and under sample reported problems with lengths and pocket location. And at least 25% of them reported problems in 22 other areas.

There did not appear to be any relationship between the perceived garment fit variables and style proportion problems and the body cathexis variables, nor between the demographics and the perceived garment fit and the style proportion problems

The majority of the sample shopped at mail order stores (catalogs) and department stores. The department most often shopped was the petite department. The majority of the women had their ready-to-wear clothing altered to achieve a better fit and solve their style proportion problems. The majority (74%) was not satisfied with the current petite clothing available.

The most conclusive data in this study pertained to the implication of problems with dart location and pocket placement. The garment proportion in relation to darts and pocket placement were inappropriate for some of these petite subjects.