Dear Mainstream Fashion: Leave Plus Size Fashion Alone

Dear Mainstream Fashion,

Do you hate fat people?  Is it something that we said or did to make you so mad that you would remove merchandise from your stores and be so cowardly as to say it was because we don’t want fashionable clothes, so you don’t see a need to carry them in larger sizes?

Up until about fifty years you enjoyed a fantastic ride in which you did not have to cater to individual women over a size 10 because the majority of women made their own clothes.  That was then fast forward to today in which a seamstress is a specialty niche no longer the norm, but I digress.  The point I am trying to make mainstream fashion is that you have had your time alone in the spot light only catering to straight sizes it is time to recognize that a new kid is on the block that cannot and will not be ignored plus size fashion.

Starting early in the 20th century and making its way today plus size fashion has made inroads into the world catering to women that simply wanted fashionable trendy clothing that fit.  Lane Bryant made a name for itself in the industry as not being afraid to sell quality clothes to larger women and never buckled under the pressure of straight size media and fashion to discontinue making clothes for a market of under served individuals.

I guess you were happy that LB existed because that meant you could gladly state that you did not have “plus size” clothing and send ladies out of your store before your smaller customers arrived.  Obviously, you did not think in the year 2009 over 50% of the women in the United States would be larger than a size 14 meaning those same women would eventually look to shop at places other than LB for clothes.

Frustration drove plus size women to specialty shops like Trentacosta and Abby Z, but those focused stores had a hard time competing with larger stores simply because of their size.  Higher prices and the horrible economy caused them to scale back but not for the same reasons you did.  You never wanted to cater to plus sizes so you made their shopping experience a nightmare then pulled the clothes from your stores and have the nerve to cry low demand was the reason for the cut backs.  Ellen Tracy, Bloomingdale’s, Ann Taylor, Loft divisions, Elisabeth, Anne Klein Plus, and other stores want us to believe that the economy and low sales numbers are the reasons they need to pull plus size clothing from there stores. Do they do the same across all size ranges?  I think not.

What makes this situation even worse is some of the same stores that say the demand for plus size clothing in their stores is low forcing them to pull them from the racks still carry them online.  Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Old Navy fat women and men who shop for them are not stupid.  Online sales may be rising, but there are still millions of individuals that would prefer to walk into a store to try on an item before purchasing it.  If you are going to pull merchandise from your stores that’s fine but don’t try to backdoor the plus size community by slapping “exclusively online” on your products and expect us not to notice what your doing.

Whatever you do mainstream fashion do not do like Forever 21, which obviously thinks fat women are stupid by announcing they are going to carry plus sizes but not in their flagship store and only go up to a size 16.  The buzz was great for the launch and the disgust was even greater once the realization that yet again straight sizes trying to cater to plus sizes had missed the boat.

You talk about low demand as a reason to pull merchandise.  You want to know the result of your actions?  Because you have decided to ignore a chosen group they come to blogs like this one.  Over fifty thousand men and women come each month to this blog, not because they like me but to look for clothing that you have said is not in demand.  As a result of your lack of empathy for plus size women stores like IGIGI, Monif C. Plus Sizes, and Big Gals Lingeire will continue to grow because they had the fantastic idea of actually selling items to their chosen audience, plus size women.  Go figure they are smaller than you yet they are doing what you said you can’t do because of low demand.

I could go on but I will end this letter to you by simply stating that you should stop trying to push plus size fashion out of your stores and embrace the fact that women toady are larger and want clothes that fit and to not be treated like they have swine flu when they walk through the doors of your establishment.  Until the day comes in which you decide to invite plus size fashion into your world with open arms you will miss out on the profits that you say are declining “forcing” you to pull plus sizes from your stores and sell them online “only”.

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