Tag Archives: mall

Get me to the Dressing Room Please

As a “plus-sized” person, I know that my options for buying clothing are much more limited than my “straight-sized” friends.  It is not all that uncommon, especially in certain parts of Los Angeles to go to a mall that doesn’t carry any plus-sized clothing whatsoever.  But I am also deeply aware, that as a “midsized” fatty, my options are far more plentiful than many of my larger friends.  While it’s fairly common to find at least some things up to a 2x or 3x, beyond that you’re often stuck ordering from a catalog, which not to put too fine a point on it, sucks.  Here’s why:

I am notoriously fussy when it comes to buying clothes.  Not only do I need to love them and need to be able to afford them, I want them to fit.  And there’s the rub (literally at times).  Not all women are built the same way.  And I wear anything from a 1x to a 3x depending on the cut of the garment and the arbitrary way the garments are sized.  That means when I go into a fitting room, I might have 20 or more garments to try on.  And often I don’t buy any of them.  Not a big deal, when all you have to do is hang up your rejects and put them on the dress rack outside the door.  Sometimes a deal breaker when you have to order all those clothes and pay multiple shipping charges to return them all.  I have to admit, I very rarely mail order clothing these days.  Because when I have to have them shipped in 3 sizes and I am very likely to return most, or all of them, it gets quite expensive.

I understand my privilege.  Buying clothing in a store is possible for me much of the time.  I have the means to buy a few nice quality pieces of clothing a year.  And I have the means of transportation to go look and a job that allows me to sometimes shop for clothing when the stores are open.  But I am very aware that for people over a 3X there is often only one store in the mall that carries ANYTHING in your size, and woe be to you if their hourglass-shaped fit model is differently proportioned than you.

There is really no excuse for not carrying plus-sizes in your stores–especially if your company MAKES plus-sized clothing (I’m talking to YOU Old Navy and J. Jill).  For the most part, if a store makes plus-sized clothing but refuses to carry them in the store, I refuse to buy clothing from them.  After all, if you can’t give me a few square feet of rack space so I can haul some stuff to the dressing room so I can try stuff on, you don’t care enough to get my money.  And I am lucky enough to have some money to spend.

So what do you say clothing companies.  Our clothes may come in different sizes and shapes, but our money and credit cards are the same size and shape as everybody else’s.  Why not let us spend some of it with you.  I’ll meet you at the dressing room.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to come talk to your group?  Click HERE!

Fashionably Impoverished

AppleCharlotteSo I ran across THIS story this past week about Charlotte a fashion student in London who dared, DARED to make a plus-sized collection for her graduate project.  Unfortunately (but not surprisingly) she received a lot of resistance from her school about her decision to create a plus-sized fashion line and use plus-sized models.  At least initially she was told that she couldn’t show her collection in the University’s London showcase.  She was told that she would have to source all her own models for her own showcase and create all of her own pattern blocks.  All this because she dared to suggest that perhaps some designs should be created for the 50 percent of the female population that can’t wear “straight sizes”.  (Hmm, isn’t “straight sizes” an interesting term in itself?)

All of this in the same week that we’ve seen the brouhaha over Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries and his hateful comment that his clothes are for the “cool kids”, and that he really doesn’t offer plus sizes because he really doesn’t want fat people wearing his clothes.  Why does Mike do that?  Simple.  He says that because he believes it will further endear him to his target market of young, thin, privileged, white kids.  And he says that because he really didn’t believe there would be any problem with it.  Oh after all the yelling Mr. Jeffries apparently made a half-hearted apology just to keep his name in the papers.  To which I say, F-you Mike Jeffries.  Oh and please enjoy this special video response to Mr. Jeffries recorded on the streets of my beloved Hollywood…

However you slice it, Mike Jeffries got a publicity bonanza for his brand as a result of this whole thing.  And while the surprising backlash probably prompted this apology, the reality is, all publicity is good publicity if they spell your URL correctly and drive traffic to your facebook feed.

But there is an aspect to this whole thing that puzzles me.  The scorn of the fashion industry to anyone who wears over a size zero is hardly new.  But we’re still climbing out of a worldwide recession.  You’d think fashion companies might be a tad more interested in making money.  You’d think that they’d want to give a little more attention to the basic principles of supply and demand.  And no matter how you slice it, the place where the market is under-served, the place where there is more market share to be got and less competition to fight is in plus-sized fashions.  Seriously.

Don’t believe me?  Do this experiment.  Go to any mall in America.  Count the number of clothing stores for women.  Now count the number of clothing stores for women that carry plus-sized fashions.  Let’s take the Fashion Square Mall in Los Angeles as an example.  There are 40 stores that carry women’s clothing.  The only two that offer any plus-sized clothing in the store are the two major department stores, Macy’s and Bloomingdales.  In both cases, the plus-sized clothing departments are a small fraction of the overall floor space.  Two stores at the mall offer plus-sizes via their web sites (J Jill and Forever 21) but not in the stores at this mall.  So of the 40 women’s clothing stores in this mall you can try on clothes over a size 14 at two of them.  This despite the fact that about half the female population of our country wears a size 14 or over.   Now I don’t have an ivy league MBA degree, but even I can figure out that the business opportunity lies with the plus-sized crowd.  So why oh why is the university discouraging the amazing Charlotte from creating clothes for the half of the population that is actively crying out for new clothes?  In this world of ballooning student loans and massive unemployment, why would they discourage a student from focusing on a market which A) the student has a great passion to serve, and B)The student might actually make some money?

The only answer I can come up with is stigma, pure and simple.  Charlotte has expressed pride at graduating and some consternation that she won’t know her final grade for some time.  But I for one, would be pretty indifferent to the judgement of any institution that taught me to be fashionably poor.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Thursday Theater: The Dog Days of Summer

Oh my dears. They don’t call them the dog days of summer for nothin’. It’s been hot. I mean really, really hot. And sometimes exercising in the heat can be a bit of a drag. If it’s really hot where you are, it might be time to change things up a little. Go splash in the pool. Get up early and go walk in the air conditioned splendor of your local mall. Make extra sure you’re drinking and stay hydrated. But even when it’s really warm out there, remember to keep moving. You can always take a nap after you’re done!

Love,
The Fat Chick