Review: Petite Suiting Under $150 – Express 00 / 00 Short

Over the next month, I’ll be doing a series of reviews on petite-friendly suiting at three different price points. I want readers to keep in mind, however, that the prices listed are full retail prices. So although the title reads $150, this suit can be acquired for less when on sale.

I debated between doing H&M; or Express for the most affordable category, and ended up choosing the latter. Although H&M; runs smaller (a 2 fits me perfectly) and is more affordable (full suit is around $80 retail), their suiting material can be downright cheap-looking sometimes. So when Express had a sale, I ordered the following suit for not much more than an H&M; one: 

Reviewing: Express Studio Stretch 1-Button Jacket in 00 ($98), and Editor Pants in 00 Short ($48), both in Medium Charcoal. 

Front and side views:

Flat-as-a-pancake-derriere view:

The butch n’ sassy look:

Stock Photos:

Despite how bad the suit may look on me at first glance, the problem lies primarily in the fit of the pants. If you look again at the above photos, the tailoring of the jacket is not perfect, but the overall fit is actually quite slim. The sleeves would need to be shortened because it’s not “petites,” but that would be the only alteration for me. For the price that I paid, I have few complaints about the jacket.

The pants, on the other hand, are a whole other story. Alterations that would be needed: take-in waist, slim hips, slim legs, plus a hem. I had to triple check that they were the right size – a 00 short!

Temporary solution – binder clip nearly 2 inches from the back (of course actual alterations should be done via both sides of the waist due to the amount of fabric being taken in. Refer to my old post on altering waists):

Before (left) and After clipping (right):

Instantly looks much better, but a slimming of the legs would still be necessary to address the bumps of extra fabric under the crotch and at the knees. The length of the pants are also noticeably “shorter” since the waist is clipped into place, but someone my height would still need about two inches hemmed off the 00 Short (I am wearing 3.5 inch heels in the photo).

What a difference it makes to have a well-fitting pant. The entire suit instantly looks more pleasing to the eye due to the makeshift waist “alteration.”

Revised front view, post waist-clipping:

In summary…

+ affordable
+ choice of basic colors plus seasonal ones
+ slim-fitting blazer
+ decent quality for the on-sale price
+ easy to purchase online with frequent sales & coupon codes.

– Size 00 Short Editor pants would require lots of alterations someone my size.
– Mis-matched proportions – size 00 blazer seems to run smaller than pants.

Final Verdict:
A very affordable option for those a size or more up. The blazer actually works on a petite my size, but the Editor pants needed too many alterations. I know ladies who swear by the Editor pant and own it in pretty much every color for work, so I was surprised at how bad the fit was on me.

*However* …while shopping at my local Banana Republic, I was chatting with two of the sales associates who were 00P / PXXS’s themselves (I should’ve handed out bloggy business cards : P ) and they mentioned that Express’ Illustrator Pant in 00 Short runs small. I overlooked these my first time around, but there are quite a few online reviews from extra petite ladies that reaffirm the small fit of these pants.

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  1. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree with you! I swore by it back then and still have some of their pants, now it doesn't fit me well anymore and my body has not changed.

    Posted 1.28.15 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    how petite are you? i am 4'9 asian and skinny. ive been trying to find suits that fit me perfectly,but i dont think they even exist without alterations.


    Posted 5.16.12 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I find Express Original Editor pants to run a bit smaller than Wide Waist Band Editor. I tried their 00P Strong Shoulder jacket and quite like it. I carry my weight on the bottom half of my body so the shoulder pads balance that out nicely. This post couldn't have come at a better time, I'm thinking about buying suit for job interviews. Thanks!

    Posted 3.21.10 Reply
  4. peachcharm wrote:

    I absolutely hate how the Express Editor pants fit for our size. No way that is a 00 Short! Looks more like a size 3/4. When I first went shopping for slacks and tried the editor pants, I was too ashamed to even zip the pants. You know that feeling of putting one leg in and you automatically feel that "breeze" and know it's going to be huge >.< It's odd how the jacket is slimmer… but that's a good thing for us. I am curious about the illustrator pants now too. Please do a review if you happen to try them! 🙂

    Posted 3.18.10 Reply
  5. Thanks everyone!! Seems like the consensus is that Express runs larger now than before.

    @N – I refuse to pay full price for Theory! I go to outlets or eBay : )

    April – thanks girl! Duno what I'd do without a tailor!

    Gaby – thanks! I'm trying to show more casual wear on here, but my casual outfits really are nothing special : )

    Posted 3.18.10 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    You have amazing style and you make your outfits look effortless! Do you do a blog about casual wear as well?? If not, you should hahaha


    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  7. Jackie wrote:

    @They Call Me Sunshine

    I have tried VS suits once. The sizes (last I looked) only go down to 0 and I ordered a pair of trousers in that size. They were HUGE when they arrived. If you are extra petite like me (4'10" 90-95lbs.) I wouldn't recommend them.

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  8. I actually like how this looks, especially teh jacket 🙂

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  9. Jenn wrote:

    No problem! If the length was closer to 32", then that is NOT a short length, or they cut it wrong. It should be 30" for short. My inseam (barefoot) is 27.5", and a 30" works on me if I wear 3" – 4" heels.

    Luxury stretch is definitely my favorite, and I think it looks better on people than the stiffer stretches. I haven't tried the illustrator fit (we didn't have it back then), but definitely try it in all the materials they offer. While I find luxury works best for me, you might find the signature or studio stretch works better for you. When in doubt, ask a brand sales rep…they should know the fits and materials well enough to suggest something for you.

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  10. Midori wrote:

    wtf that's a 00? holy crap. amazing how much better the pants look with the binder clip, though!

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  11. Aney wrote:

    Your suit ideas are so inspiring! Definitely some amazing ideas considering that I'm in business! I love the turn out after revising the pants 🙂 The fit is great!

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  12. Nukem wrote:

    I am LOL at your "butch and sassy" look! Great review. I haven't tried Express recently. I have an old pair of Editor pants that had to be hemmed, but they are about 6 years old.

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  13. nicole wrote:

    that binder clip idea is ingenious! love it. and I like how you show the before and after of things. you are definitely a go-to blog for petites! keep up the great work xo

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  14. thanks for the review on the express suit! i actually love their editor pants, but the sizing is a hit or miss for me. The length is of course always too long for me lol, but the fitting of a size 0 is either just right or a half size too large. isn't that odd?? i'm so glad they came out with petite sizes recently. i've never tried the illustrator pants, but i will definitely let u know if i do:) hope u had a great weekend!

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  15. April wrote:

    OMg how I love your blog! Tailoring things really make a big difference! You have such a hot bod! 🙂

    Posted 3.16.10 Reply
  16. N wrote:

    When I was in the States, I went into Express but I found the quality to be a little lacking…along with the sizing. Maybe that's me? I thought if I purchased anything I would be over paying…but the petite blazer looks great on you!
    BTW, I've been looking at theory suits but all of them are +400!! Where do you go?

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  17. Diya wrote:

    that suit jacket looks so good on you 😉 but yeah, the pants need to be hemmed. lookin' good!

    ps. check out my blog at:

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  18. Sonic wrote:

    oh my goodness, I am so excited to see more petite suit reviews – I SO need them and have no idea where to even start.

    Also, Express tends to run large on me even with their smallest sizes. I think their clothes are just sized a tad generously.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  19. Linda wrote:

    Just stumbled onto your blog and just wanted to say that I love your style. I really need to grow more into that mature style.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  20. has anyone ever tried victorias secret petite suiting?

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  21. @Jenn – it's good to have an Express expert on board! You're right, I didn't even notice the regular Editor and instead got the wide waistband. I really should have measured the inseam length, but if I had to guestimate I would say they were around 32 inches – I have a 28 inch inseam plus I was wearing 3.5 inch heels, and I was still trippin on them. They totally could have been mis-marked! That thought did cross my mind.

    Thanks for sharing about the luxury stretch. My next stop will be the Illustrator, which probably is (or will be) offered in that material.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  22. Jenn wrote:

    I just researched, and it looks like Express still has the original editor style (though my guess is it has probably been vanity sized), as well as a wide waistband editor, which appears to be the style you tried. The original editor is probably what most people have from a few years ago. It looks like they also changed their inseam lengths. The short is supposedly still 30", but the regular and long lengths are now 33" and 35" respectively, which are both 1" longer than they used to be. It's also possible that even though your pants were marked as short, they were actually a regular length. We had that happen every so often where the clothes were actually miss-marked.

    The editor in luxury stretch were my favorite. The material was much softer and skimmed the body much nicer than what they now call studio stretch, which a believe to be a bit stiffer. Cotton sateen editors were good sellers in the colder months, as the material was a bit heavier. It looks like they still have those too. If you want to give them another shot, try the short length original editor in luxury stretch fabric. It might still be big, but it should give a better fit.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  23. Oh interesting…didn't realize their fit changed that much! One of my friends who "swears by the Editor pants" is actually not much bigger than me at all, so sizing must have been smaller in the past because she didn't need any alterations on them.

    @ Christine – lol! I wonder how many times we shared an elevator and gave each other up-downs before actually "meeting." I really hope those pants work out for you … I've heard that NL is better quality than Theory. I got all of my skinnies either at Wrentham or eBay.

    And I'm jealous that your mom is a tailor. That's so convenient. Tailoring and cobblering (is that a word?) are dying trades … speaking of which I have to pay our friend the cobbler another visit. Thanks again for recommending him!

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  24. Christine wrote:

    i usually go to express for my suits (with the exception of one theory splurge haha). when i first started buying suits i was a size 2P with no alternations needed and now when i buy a zero they are enormous. i like to think it's because i lost weight. =]

    i keep going back to express though because of what you mentioned – the blazer fits quite well, the fabric is fine, and pants are relatively easier to tailor esp. with no lining. plus my mom is the best tailor in oklahoma city, so it used to not be a problem for me. =]

    ps one time before i knew who you were i spotted you leaving our apt building in your theory ankle skinnies and i have been on the hunt for similar pants ever since. bluefly just had a huge blowout sale so i got some slim bcbg and nanette ankle workpants. i hope they are what i'm looking for! *crosses fingers*

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  25. Jackie wrote:

    That's weird, and disappointing. I have several pairs of Express trousers in 00 short and they fit fine, no alterations needed! Of course these were purchased probably about 4 years ago. I can't believe the sizing has changed so much!!

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  26. Jenn wrote:

    I used to work at Express years ago, and it appears they have changed the look and fit of the Editor. It used to be a much straighter cut through the hip and thigh, with a narrower waistband. I own several pair from years ago, and the short length used to be 30", which works on me if I wear 3"-4" heels. I think they may have shifted their proportions as of late, which may explain why some swear by the the pants…those people might have the older cut.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  27. AnnJames wrote:

    Ooo I really like that jacket! I am a little scared of Express pants – about 4 years ago, I was one of those "Editor pants in every color" gals. They fit me in a 0 and I was only slightly bigger than you! Now I'd probably be a 2, but who knows now!! I can't believe how LONG the short is!! Crazy.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  28. Suits suits suits… I can never get hold of a proper matching set! The only blazer i have so far doesn't have matching pants! I can never find a set which fits me properly both top and bottom! 🙁 I really look forward to ur reviews, i can get a tip where to buy mine from given ill be needing them very soon.

    xoxo jenna

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  29. sophia wrote:

    I'll have to recommend those Illustrator pants to my sister ~~ she's like 2 inches shorter than me haha and SUPER duper tiny.

    Hey that's funny you mentioned the VS bodysuit – my gf's and I talked about it too! I like that you wouldn't have to worry about bunching and becoming untucked… but it'd just feel so weird to know that you're wearing it haha! Reminds me of ballet days and wearing a leotard :p

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  30. Fantastic review as usual! You're the petite suiting guru, so I look forward to seeing your other reviews. =)

    A rather tall, athletically built friend of mine text messaged me that she used to wear a 4 in Express pants, and is now a 0, so the fit of the pants don't really surprise me. I'm curious to see what experience other petite ladies have with the Illustrator pant though.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  31. Anonymous wrote:

    I think Express runs large overall – I can often fit into XXS/00 and I'm usually a XS/0-2 in other brands (never, EVER a 00). The Editor pants you tried on in particular run very large because a 00 was loose on me.

    I haven't tried the Illustrator pants yet, but now I want to try them!

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  32. Angie wrote:

    nominated you for an award 🙂


    Posted 3.15.10 Reply
  33. emileee wrote:

    I'm not petite (at least not by Asian standards, I'm 5'5) but I do have a small frame so I'm so excited that I've stumbled upon your blog – I'm always trying to find clothes that fit my frame better!

    Sorry, I don't have any tips on the Illustrator pants – I wear a size 0 in the Editor pants, and the general fit is fine except that the waist is a bit too loose.

    Posted 3.15.10 Reply

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