March 14, 2009

Q&A difference between the junior department and the women's department

Hi Kathy,

I'm a buyer for Girls teens wear in a department store. My co-worker and I,
who's the buyer for ladies wear are always having problems with regards to
buying our items.

The last time we went on a buying trip together, I had difficulties in
buying my items because she was always telling me that the items that I'm
choosing are for ladies, even though they are clearly for girls teens. She only
looks at the size to judge if it's for girls teens or ladies. She also says that
all silk, linen and plaid materials fall under ladies wear.

For me ladies wear is more about showing the elegant and feminine outlook
of a woman, and not just defined by the size of the item. Can you help me to
differentiate between girls teens wear and ladies wear? Thank you.


Hi Jen,

Wow, this is a loaded question! I don't want to get into the middle of an office debate, so I will just offer my opinion (as opposed to an 'expert view').

I wouldn't say that silk, linen and plaid are only for women. Silk and Linen - maybe, but only because of the upkeep (these are fairly delicate fabrics, and are expensive to care for). However, I know girls that have worn linen suits on Easter, and silk dresses on Mother's Day! Have you ever looked at a catalog called Chasing Fireflies? This is my favorite place to look for children's clothing. Just do a search on silk or'll get a lot of options.

Of course, the size is a good differentiation - Juniors bring 3-5-7-9 and ladies (i.e. grown ups) being 2-4-6-8. Having said that, I know a lot of adults that shop in the Juniors department...more than you probably realize. Junior clothing isn't cut for a woman's body, therefore doesn't offer the optimal fit that a piece that is cut to fit proportionately to a women's body would fit.

I think the real difference is more about fit than style.

In the past few years, we've seen a marked change in the way our girls are dressing. No longer are young girls wearing pink lace and ruffles...the clothing (in my opinion) looks very grown up, and reveals way too much skin. This goes for our young girls / teens. Many times I am paging through a catalog, and catch myself wondering if the outfit (intended for my 6 year old daughter) comes in my size.

As a buyer - I would think you need to buy to the market; what do people want? Seems that the trend is to dress our little girls in mature, having said that - as parents, we need to consider HOW WE are allowing our little girls to dress. As for me, in our family - there is no way on God's green earth I am going to allow my daughter to wear some of the things I've seen in catalogs, and on the bodies of young pre-teen / early teen girls.

I don't know how helpful this was to you, Jen...I feel like I didn't really answer your question as much as join in your debate with your co-worker!


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