Friday, August 8, 2014

Fashion: The Affordable Plus Size Market Continues to Miss the Point

There are always stories that you know will go bad just by how they started. You can tell by the tone or even a common beginning. My stories that start with, "so I went to rainbow", will almost always end badly. This is one of those stories. 

This was an unexpected journey to the local Rainbow of Hyland Plaza in Staten Island. Now, lets be honest, we can't expect the creme-de-la-creme from a store like Rainbow. What I expect Is affordable, on trend, fashionable pieces, that fit well in my wardrobe and can be mixed and maxed with higher end garments. Simple request really. Now one of the hottest staples for the summer and fall 2014 season is harem pants. Love them or hate them they are everywhere! So logically, a trendy store which focuses mainly on younger shoppers would have these pants. Not so. 

After much questioning I was told that harem pants only came in juniors, not plus size. They also only received a limited stock when they did have them available. Why would they send a limited stock of such a hot item? In the straight section there was a plethora of options, but what were plus size women left with, well, lets see. 

Tapered, plaid pants, with elastic waist band, in sweatpants material,  with pockets. I was hopping these could translate as hip or edgy, but honestly I've seen better designs for plaid this season in the form of thicker leggings, pants, and skirts. The 90s revival is still going strong but these pants are a cross between a sweatpant, jogger, and legging. In my style opinion these are just trying too hard to be too many different styles. They have an identity confusion and I'm a little too secure in my style for these confused pants. Shopping shouldn't feel like a bad date. 

Now this jacket looks cute. I won't deny that, however it's long cut hides any, and I mean any, indication that you have a body (waist, etc)  What do I mean by this? It's so long that it makes even the curviest girl look boxy. A 3x looks more like a 1x and the cut all over is hard to make feminine. I'm all about denim and denim pairing, but shape and structure is a big deal for the plus size woman and this can come across too masculine shaped. 

I saved the best for last. For the low, low price of 22$ you can get this orange jumpsuit and look like you just escaped prison. Love Orange is the New Black? Well for you it now can be! I love a good bright garment, I love jumpsuits, I love orange, I don't like clothes that were inspired by Rikers Island. 

I'm a firm believer that even the funkiest trends and odd cuts can work, if they are paired right, but with the cuts shown here, I'm left feeling uninspired. I think had the plaid pants went in one direction and the denim jacket been just a little less boxy, and the jumpsuit a little less jail-y these pieces would be flying off the rack. Instead, they sit there while the plus size section grows smaller and smaller due to lack of sales. Perhaps, retailers should take into consideration that their clients, whom they assume eat too much fatty foods and watch tv all day, might be exposed to some fashion knowledge. The plus size fashion world needs a little less shirts with words on it, more stocking of popular items, more focus and attention to detail, and to turn the Netflix off. 

My advice? Pay attention to the cut and not the trend. If Its really trending, you'll find the perfect fit for you in other places. Shop around before committing. If you love a piece, go for it.

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