Petite Bustier Pieces that Run Small

Ever since I discovered Chloe's blog, I've become corset and bustier-obsessed (see my fave Nanette Lepore corsets on her here and here). Sadly, I have yet to come across a nice (non-racy, non-gothic...) structured bustier that fits me right. Either the boning is awkward, the molded cups are too big, or the length is too long. I came close to taking an F21 one to the tailor, then realized how silly that was.

When I first browsed Henrietta Pertuz's petites collection, my eyes were instantly drawn to the gingham Lisa bustier and the seersucker Ford dress. These pieces come in sizes 0P-12P, and have the classic bustier shape I am seeking with some contemporary details. Henrietta kindly offered to send me the Ford dress, and without hesitation I asked for the smallest size - 0P.

To my surprise, the 0p was too small for me. Not just a little suck-in-yer-tummy small, but much too small. I guess this is promising news for ladies who are more petite than I am. The back closure of the dress is comprised of a zipper at the skirt, and hook-and-eye closure clips at the bust. I managed to get the zipper up but there was no hope for the clips - I hastily snapped some photos (see bottom of post) and returned the dress to Henrietta. This is what she sent back, in size 2P:

Top: Henrietta Pertuz Lisa bustier, sz 2P (sold here)
Pants: brand unknown, waist taken in by my tailor
Shoes: Banana Republic 5.5

The 2P fits me much better, but I still think it is too small for me. Hopefully Henrietta will let me exchange it for another size up. If I had to compare sizing, I would say a 2P in this bustier fits half to one size smaller than Banana Republic 00P fitted tops.

My own approximate measurements of the bustier pieces:
Size 0P: 28" around the widest part of the top; 23" around the smallest part of the waist
Size 2P: 29" around the widest part of the top; 24" around the smallest part of the waist. 15" length.

Disclosure: I received this item courtesy of Henrietta Pertuz. My review here is my personal opinion.
What I like: quality, details, and silhouette. The workmanship on these corset pieces blew me away. I used to sew myself so I really appreciate features such as a full lining, non-slip grip trim, tiny pleats along the waist, and perfectly placed boning in the cups and down both sides. These items are not cheap at $168 (top) and $185 (dress), but for really well-crafted, lined & structured pieces, I think the pricing is fair. For reference, the Nanette Lepore corsets I covet retail for $275.

I love how the fitted silhouette gives me an hourglass figure. The layered sweetheart neckline flatters my bust, and the cut makes my waist look small. This top was surprisingly wearable over skirts, jeans, and pants alike. I decided to show it with boot-cut slacks that I don't wear very often.

Suggestions for improvement: sizing consistency. I took a 0P here in the Molly dress but may need a 4P in the bustier pieces - a pretty big difference. I also suggested using stretch fabrics (although a full lining would then be less practical) or incorporate an elastic back panel (like this Theory dress) for more expandable fit. As for the Ford dress, I personally prefer shorter length with higher-waisted skirts. Henrietta responded that she is working with a new pattern maker on sizing and will be using stretch fabrics in her Fall 2010 collection. If anyone is interested in these lovely bustier pieces, I recommend taking accurate upper body measurements and emailing Henrietta for sizing advice.

Here are some photos that I took in the Ford dress to show the silhouette. This is such a sweet dress that reminds me of the old south. Keep in mind that these photos are not representative of how the 0P fits - the dress was too small for me so the back is actually halfway open. Click photos to enlarge.
Belt: H&M sz XS; Necklace: J.Crew; Wedges: BCBGirls 5.5
Truly awesome craftsmanship:
Even the side pockets are lined in floral print. The bustier is also lined in the same print, but in pink.
Stay tuned for Henrietta's petite giveaway in the next day or two. I'll post the rules and prize as soon as I have time to make an entry form.


  1. I like the Ford dress more! Gives a better hourglass silhouette. My favorite part of both pieces is the sweetheart neckline - so pretty, and the tiers give visual interest as well as volume.

    Seersucker is such great summer material, and the blue+white is so fresh! Is Boston warm yet? We are having an unfortunately cold week, sadd.

  2. I'm not sure I love the gingham, but from a distance the fit looks fantastic (I love the pants and pearls too btw). I'm actually excited to hear that you had to size up... which means I might actually fit in the 0P! Too bad there aren't any left online in that size... which might be a good thing because $168 for a top is a little hard on the wallet. But hey, quality over quantity, right?

    Also, the lining on the dress is very pretty!

  3. I love the bustier in the first photo and those pants that you're wearing make your legs look a mile long! The dress is absolutely darling, esp with that tan belt. I love pockets on skirts and dresses and the floral lining is perfection. You gotta love that kind of attention to detail! You look stunning dear!

  4. Ooh, thanks for the shout out- and great stuff! I love the bustier, it's like a little work of art on you. The dress is beautiful, too! If I didn't already own so many...

  5. Love both pieces!!! Would love to win the giveaway, but not sure if I'd qualify as petite!!! =)

  6. You look gorgeous and stunning!
    I love the bustier too~<3
    I'm especially drooling over the mystery-brand pants.
    It's such a pretty shade of light khaki and beige.

    The craftsmanship looks tedious but, well worth it.
    I love the fact that a 3rd person may get a glimpse of the floral bursting with color in the pockets~
    (OoOo~ I sound like a creeper 0___0;;)

    Anyhow, looking forward to the give-away.


    Miss. P

  7. Oh boy, with 5 pounds on you I'd be in an 8P! Have to agree with Petite XXS that I prefer the gingham from far away - I actually thought it was a subtle blue and white stripe, which I found perfectly lovely and nautical.

    The height of the seam on the dress makes it appear a bit poofy in the midsection, so my vote goes for the versatile top instead. Beautiful interior craftsmanship as well.

  8. Wow I love these pieces on you! they are gorgeous. Is this line only petite or do they sell "regular" sizes too?

  9. ooh love both those outfits! you are so petite, lucky!

  10. I looooooove those! I could definitely see myself wearing both of those styles. I would love to pick up some gorgeous, well crafted pieces from a less mass market designer like this. :)

  11. Gorgeous pieces! They are really nicely constructed and that is so evident even online (when often things can be deceptive). Love te necklines - so flattering!

    xx Vivian @

  12. I love both looks- I can't believe how tiny the dress is! The quality looks really nice which is a huge plus!

  13. sometimes i forget that you are so tiny..hehehe like i know i wouldn't fit in those outfits but nevertheless you look amazing as always. :) the dress i must agree does give a sweet feel and id love it in other colors. :D

  14. Wow, you look amazing! :) I really like how you accessorized with the pearl necklace in the first picture. Gives the piece an elegant finish.

    I really like the Ford dress and its versatility. It really makes you look great and elongates the length of your body. What a nice belt combo. I would've never thought brown would go so well with a pastel blue dress. It looks amazing on you! :) I'm surprised OP didn't fit you! I didn't think anyone else can fit into something smaller than you. Crazy!

  15. I love Henrietta's pieces.. the Ford dress is one of my favorite pieces. Definitely beautiful and detailed craftswomanship. :) Only, if I could afford it though.. I'll just admire it for the time being. Both the top and dress look great on you.. and the pants are amazing, they make your very leggy.

    xx Love & Aloha

  16. I'm beginning to adore this designer... the pieces are classic and oh so feminine with great little details. That dress definitely has a bustier look and does not look racy at all! I also love how you accessorized it.

  17. You look stunning, and I never thought of bustiers as non racy or for petites. You proved me wrong on both counts! :)

    I like the Ford dress more, though. Lovely neckline, detailing and I like the colours. I hope that your give away includes Canada!

  18. I love that those sizes run so small, but WOW are they expensive!! T_T Woe is me. Petite and broke.

  19. the pieces look gorgeous on you, fitting or not fitting! as always~ =)

  20. Omgomg! A 0P that would actually fit me??

    Sad it's so expensive!

    The blue seersucker reminds me a lot of the 00 AE seersucker dress I got, except mine has straps. I don't often find bustiers of any type that fit me well. ;)

  21. Thanks ladies! PetiteXXS - Looking at the measurements on your blog I think you may need a 2P and I may need a 4!

    Gingham isn't my favorite either. It sometimes reminds me of a picnic basket. Jetsetmeg-the subtle stripes you described sounds really nice! I'd love to see more little bustier pieces come out in material like that, or a nice subdued floral print.

  22. Those are really beautiful pieces, and they look great on you. Do you think they're so small because that helps the bustier stay up? I'm pretty flat-chested so it's pretty hard to find one that'll stay on me.

    Thinking about picking up the dress since the tops are out in small sizes, although unsure about sizing. My measurements are the same as the 0P measurements you listed (29" bust 23" waist), but does that mean I won't be able to breathe? I really like the fit of the 2P bustier on you.

  23. Is it possible for people who do not have blogs (because of lack of something to share on a regular basis) to enter the contests and giveaways you post as well? 0:o) (that is my angelic smile ;p)

  24. Hugstiem - glad you settled on a sz 2! I think that would fit comfortably. Plus you are taller than me so I think the length would be better on you.

    Anon - of course, I've never required entrants to have a blog : )

    AspiringMinimalist- yup, it will be open to the US, Canada, Australia, UK, Japan and even South Africa.

  25. If the corset came in the same seersucker as the Ford dress...HEAVEN! I'm also a big fan of fun linings, and am so glad to see a nice one on the dress. Is there a similar patterned lining on the corset?

  26. Love your blog! I guess I'll stay and sit for awhile =)

  27. You are right, looks like great worksmanship.

  28. The Ford dress is perfection!! Shame on the sizing :( The bustier is so adorable! I'm a bit heavyset on the top, so I wear a bustier, I feel all randy and stuff, lol (32D or 32DD). I love how the designer is so open and receptive to your comments!!

  29. you are so pretty!!! You always choose the best fitting clothes for your tiny frame. I wish more people would pay closer attention to the fit. I think it's so important.

  30. Oh I totally have problems finding bustiers that fit my non-existent chest and the fact that I pretty much refuse to wear bras with padding doesn't help either. I love the second dress - the lining is so unexpected and lovely

  31. I love the dress, just not a fan of gingham. I would have preferred solid or vertical stripes. But the silhouette is stunning. And the lining is beautiful.

  32. Both GREAT outfits! I looove those wedges!

  33. Hi Petite Asian Girl, I'm new to your blog. I found most of the articles very useful! At the moment i'm looking for a pair of straight legged black work pants. Would you be able to recommand a style that would suit petite ladies well (i also plan to tuck the shirt into the pants)? I'm torn between a pair of high-waisted pants (the top sits just above the waist) and a pairs that's below the waist. Thank you.


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