Yesterday a brouhaha was begun when former Lululemon employee Elizabeth Licorish told reporters that her former employers routinely discriminated against larger customers. In other news, water is wet.
I mean come on. The store only stocks clothes up to size 10 or 12. And they label their size 12 as XL. Clearly this is a company who has never catered to a plus-sized clientele.
Licorish claims that while she worked at Lululemon, the company only stocked a few items in sizes 10 and 12. She also asserts that these lonely larger sizes were not displayed prominently in the front, folded neatly on shelves or hanging from display racks, but rather, were crumpled up in the back.
Which leads me to ask a question. How exactly is this different from nearly every other retailer on the planet? Aside from the few stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid and Christines that cater specifically to plus-sized customers, most stores have pitiful, tiny poorly managed sections for their larger clothing. Even if you look at the major, high-end department stores, the plus-sized section is much smaller, has much less inventory and is less well-staffed than virtually any other clothing department in the store. Given the fact that about half of American women are plus-sized, I have a hard time understanding the reason why plus-sized clothing gets less than 10 percent of the floor space devoted to clothing in the local neighborhood mall.
Lululemon is not so different than most clothing companies, in that they fail to see the amazing market afforded by plus-sized customers and they are letting their brand arrogance lead them into leaving millions of dollars on the table.
But they know this already.
So instead of yelling at Lululemon for improperly displaying the “ginormous” size-12 yoga pants retailing for over $100, I’m going to take this moment to remind the world that there are now some truly fabulous resources for budding plus-sized yogis out there.
On our Fit Fatties Forum we have the super amazing Abby Lentz moderating our Yoga group. Aside from being an awesome yoga teacher, Abby also has her Heavyweight Yoga DVD and an especially cool feature on her website called “Change the Image of Yoga” where she features lots of beautiful, smiling yogis who don’t look anything like the ads or the saleswomen you’ll find at Lululemon.
Another wonderful Yoga Teacher that I know and love is Anna Guest-Jelley. Anna is founder of Curvy Yoga and also offers certification for other teachers who are interested in learning the Curvy Yoga method of instruction. She also offers her world-famous 30 Days of Curvy Yoga program.
And if Lululemon pants fit neither your butt nor your budget, you might want to check out the yoga wear at Junonia.com. They have some lovely, high-quality pieces of yoga wear available up to a size 6x.
So may I make a suggestion? Rather than be upset that one hoity-toity “yoga wear” company doesn’t want to take your money, how about supporting one of these amazing businesses? Help them to help you and many, many others to spread the word that yoga is for every BODY.
The Fat Chick
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Great post and really great website! For those of you that you don’t attend yoga classes because of size discrimination, difficulty with poses and/or intimidation…there are classes for you. FitZonePLUS in Toronto offers modified yoga, zumba and group personal training classes for anyone who is plus size and/or intimated by or just plain sick of the typical yoga or fitness environment. There are modified classes, regular classes and specialty classes. We will be offering plus size yoga and zumba retreats in the USA and Mexico starting in February 2013. NOTE…full disclosure, I am the owner of FitZonePLUS. I sincerely hope this post doesn’t break any ‘comment rules’ but I see this as more than flagrant self promotion. It’s not about the bottom line for me, it’s about providing safe, supportive, non judgmental space for people who have had enough of the prejudice and just want to get healthy without all the attitude! To date I have over 70 heartfelt testimonials from people whose lives have been majorly and forever changed by FitZonePLUS and I hope this post will help many more by encouraging them not to give up.
Loved your article! I am a curvaceous larger lady and when I started yoga classes I had nothing to wear and was not going to spoil my fab figure 🙂 by squeezing it into a crop top and yoga pants even if I could find some in my size LOL Luckily I had a stretch fabric tunic dress and matching leggings that I thought would be suitable… they worked a treat! A lot of other ladies around my size asked where I had got them from, this has now led me to start up a yoga clothing business selling tunics and leggings at an affordable and not overinflated price! We are not supposed to be self-conscious during our yoga practice but it certainly helps if we can rest assured our butts and boobs aren’t doing yoga poses of their own!
Wow Christine, that’s super cool!
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I love your little sculptures photographed at the top!! I totally agree with your sentiments. Of course the power of the dollar will win out – the only way to effect change is for LuLu Lemon to realize their practices are causing them to lose money. It would take a lot of that Julia Roberts/pretty woman mment where people go into LuLu and say by the way I just bought 500 dollars of workout gear but not from you… Sometimes these things seem so analogous to racial prejudice. There was a time when clothes that Aftican-American people wore or wanted to try on were crumpled in a small back section too. I don’t understand why people feel brazen to repeat the error.
When I saw the bruhaha yesterday I thought, “who cares?” For exactly the reasons you state. I mean, if they want to cater to an exclusive group of people, let them. There’s no way I’m paying $100 for see through yoga pants anyway! lol But what I do hope happens is that other designers/retailers read the stats about the plus sized fashion budgets and start catering to us. I’ll spend my money with them!