An Open Letter to Clothing Retailers: I’m a plus size lady and I’m mad as hell
To Whom it May Concern ( Old Navy, Target, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, Wet Seal, etc.):
As a plus size woman I have been forced to purchase the majority of my clothes online for the past 15-20 years. This has resulted in ill fitting clothing that often couldn’t be returned easily, being forced to wear a color I didn’t order because it simply shipped incorrectly and my size in the color I ORIGNALLY ordered is out. (No notes by the way) and to top the proverbial cake: Recieving my package of clothes with item missing because they sold out faster than I could check out. (I’m looking at YOU Old Navy, I want my damn vegan leather moto jacket, right now! Promises were made! Promises were broken!) In Short we want things that are #instyleandinstore
In all seriousness not having the ability to try on clothes in store has a detrimental impact not only to consumers who would love to wear your products, but it also misses a great opportunity to boost your same store sales figures. Imagine catering to a whole new demographic of women and men who were super excited to be able to sport YOUR new line because you cared enough to make the experience worth while, make sure dressing rooms had good lighting, that plus size clothing was easily accessible and noticeable but not hidden in the back of the store. Brand loyalty is a dying concept but this demographic is known for its fierce loyalty to brands and cuts that are universally flattering. If you listen to the average sized American (who is plus sized) you’ll hear three resounding refrains:
1.) We want clothes in our size, not one size too big or small, there’s no need for “aspirational” brands anymore, we all come in a variety of sizes and the ridiculous notion that larger sizes are “lesser than” is over. We don’t need your drama, you can keep it and your stupid heroin chic too. The idea that you shouldn’t cater to Plus apparel because it’s “temporary” and people are just going to lose weight and will only then invest in clothes is also misguided. I’m fat, that doesn’t mean I go to the office everyday in sweats. I still have to run meetings you jabronis, I need work shirts, skirts and suits just like a “straight” sized person does. I’m might lose weight, but if your line is inclusive then you’ve just made double the money dummies!
2.) Stop putting Plus Sizes next to Maternity sizes. We hate this, stop it, stop it now. I am not pregnant, I don’t want people assuming I am pregnant, move it away. When I become pregnant I’ll let you know okay?
3.) Having your ENTIRE line of plus size clothes in store with a variety of styles helps people know what looks good on them. It also encourages people to impulse shop in YOUR store because they know they can find things there. Online shopping might be time saving, but there’s plenty of time for me to rethink my purchase and if I really need that extra graphic tee, if I was in the store I’d already be trying to find some jeans to pair it with. You’re losing money left and right by ignoring this demographic. Old Navy says it was “trying to get Plus size right” by finding out what worked online, really it took over 10 years for this? I REMEMBER when ON have plus sizes in store and I loved it! For the first time I could wear the same cute clothes my classmates we’re wearing and I was a freshman in college and had two jobs with disposable income. My closet was all Old Navy because that’s the store I could go to and try things on. When they stopped carrying it in stores, I became a devoted Torrid shopper even though at the time their more goth aesthetic wasn’t really my bag, but guess what they had pants I could try on.
So in Conclusion Dear Retail Buyer: Stock your shelves with inclusive lines from XS to 5X and start using models that actually look like the people buying your clothes, in fact Model Search campaigns are fantastic marketing vehicles for inclusive lines. Be the retailer who FINALLY starts treating all customers with the care and attention they deserve. If you don’t we will simply have to start our own brands and stores that will and make no mistake, hell hath no fury like a fashionista scorned.
-Chubby Girl In The World
Mrs. Stefanie Hines