Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Plus Size Retailers, What are you thinking?

As a plus size woman, 260 lbs 5'11", I'm not exactly the standard of beauty. Does this make me not beautiful or take away from my beauty because I'm not the standard? Absolutely not! I do want to discuss with you all how I feel about the plus size industry and how passionate I have grown to see a change. 

Many brands of clothing would have you believe that you need to loose weight to be stylish. Many major brands only carry straight sizes. Straight sizes are the average 1-10 or s-xl sizes. Stores that do carry both straight and plus size clothing will rarely advertise it. Plus size clothing at a mixed sizes store will often be hidden in the back of a store, wedged between other departments like children or home goods, while others won't even dedicate floor space, these stores would rather not see you at all but don't mind taking your money online (... Target). 

 My issues with plus size retailers is a list that grows longer and longer everyday. Why, as plus size women, must we accept being told we have to buy first, try on later (shopping online) or told to go to the back of the store, or speciality store? Plus size women account for 64% of the american population and yet we are segregated. We accept it since, lets face it, we can't all walk around naked or with sheets draped over us. We accept the fact that we are told to shop like those that shop for porn... The good videos are in the back, behind the curtain, online, we want your money, we just don't want you to bother the other shoppers with what your buying. Its as if retailers believe if their customers see a "fat" women shopping their store won't be trendy, or appealing. Studies have shown that heavier individuals are thought of to be lazy, sloppy, smell bad... How horrible is that? So stores will either cut their losses and not cater to 64% more income or hide it. 

Open up the current issue of vogue, cosmopolitan, Elle.. Any magazine really, you'll find two things: one will be mini articles with plus size women included into how to wear (insert clothing article here). Secondly, flip through the ads and you'll be hard pressed to find the plus size retailers or straight size retailers that carry plus size advertising. You would be surprised at how many higher end stores carry plus sizes secretly. 

Personally, my struggle with plus size clothing began when I was a teenager. I would go shopping with my friends only to discover the only items available to me in most stores are accessories and socks. I would watch my friends try on all different styles of clothing when I knew that all racks were hands off to me.  Why even bother browsing when I would only walk out empty handed. I would cry about it. I wanted to look like other teen girls but I dressed like a Tom boy- oversized old navy shirts and ill fitting Lane Bryant Pants, I had obvious self esteem issues. It's one thing to feel ugly all the time because you don't like your body, face, hair, boobs, ass, it's a whole other  issue when every store reminds you that you don't belong. I didn't come to terms with my size or how I looked until my early 20s and I was 2 sizes larger than I was in high school. There are so many young girls and women who want to feel confident, want to love their bodies, want to spend some money and get a cute outfit, but can't and are, instead, fed constant Images of very thin, blow average, women in advertisements, television shows, music videos etc. to reinforce the idea that its you, not them, that have something wrong with them.  Even plus size models on plus size sites look like average, everyday women. Why are these average beautiful women labeled plus size?

This all brings me to my final issue: my experience with shopping. Recently I saw a great pattern on a skirt, it was Tetris, I'm a bit of an old school video game nerd, however an extra large was the circumference of my head. I bought two skirts and two tops and made a skater type skirt dress. 

What do you think? 

However, while I was in the store buying the skirts I told the cashier what my plan was and she was shocked.  She told me they do carry plus size and she pointed to the only three racks in the store containing plus size clothes. Maybe if I had more options I wouldn't have to cut up smaller clothes. She mentioned that the plus size clothes just weren't selling. Did I mention the only advertisement to let customers know that they sell plus size was a small piece of computer paper that said "plus size" taped to the door letting me know that my kind was welcome. Also, no plus size clothes were shown in the window or displayed other than those three small racks. Insulting. 

Big retailers like H&M are offering plus size clothes, though you wont really see that mentioned anywhere in their advertisements. There is only a tiny fraction of the amount of clothes they sell to plus size women vs. straight size and with drastically blander styles.

 Retailers who do offer better quality like ModCloth or Monif C. Plus Sizes charge bill money amounts and the style isn't always better (Though I do love the monif swimwear)

Clothes from Forever 21 and Rainbow Shops are nice, trendy, and cheap, but don't last very long. Also, if you shop in these stores the plus size section is often very small and hidden in the back or tothe  side with little or no people working in that section. Not every store has these sections either.  It's not a pleasant experience overall and considering these companies should be competing for our money you would think the options would be plentiful. 

Lastly, there are discount options online but many of these retailers lack understanding for taste and style.. misplaced prints, too much attention to breasts or booty, disproportionate sizing, wrong sizes on size chart ( I can't begin to explain how many times a 20/3x turns out to be a size 12/14), odd placements of details, cheap material, off cuts, weird lengths... Etc. Retailers often go in the extreme direction- very basic or acid trip.  Shopping shouldn't be a difficult task, companies should reach out to their target audience for feedback. Since stores are pushing for more online sales we can't talk to managers about the selection in store, the styles, what we want to see or complaints, we have the option of paying to return an item while checking a box to describe what went wrong. We don't get to browse small boutique or walk into any store on a whim, we have to determine where our green money is just as green as everyone else (or multiple colored like in Canada)  Since many trendy sites have high turn over rates for their designs you may see something you like and it will be sold out within a day, buy the wrong size and there isn't much you can do, keep it and try to make it work or return it and do without it. 

These struggles should not be happening in this day and age. While this blog used to focus on makeup, I would like to transform it into a fashion blog. I will still have in depth reviews of makeup on my Instagram: @recycledstardust and on my YouTube: but I would like to focus more on my day to day outfits, sites I love, outfit ideas, and where to buy clothes I think are stylish. If you've had a hard time finding sites to cater to you and you are plus size, rest assured I will try to help you find new ones. 

Thank you to everyone who has staid subscribed, and I hope this transition is a great one!


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