Fat and Fashionable

XX takes a look today at why many women’s retailers are cutting plus sizes from their stores, opting to sell online instead.  As it turns out, it’s not because designers hate larger women, it’s because it’s not cost-effective to stock so many large sizes in-store.  Outrage is expected, I guess:

“I will stop buying at Ann Taylor for anything,” declared commenter Savona in response to this Crain’s New York Business report on the retailer’s decision to eliminate size 16 from its stores, offering the size only online. “If they will not accommodate those who are willing to buy,” she continued, “then they don’t deserve our business for anything else—shoes, accessories, eyewear.” Commenter Patricia vowed, “I will no longer shop at Ann Taylor until they cut the size 0 and size 2’s.”

Well.  I guess I can feel their pain, but if you’re five feet tall, many mall stores don’t carry your size, whether your a 0, a 2, or a 10.  That’s because retailers choose to sell stuff that fits petite ladies mostly online only.  J. Crew, for example, offers it’s petite (and tall) collections almost exlusively online.  Banana Republic has a few stores (last I checked they had 3 in the United States) that are petite only, and a smattering of regular stores that offer a petite section (albeit a growing smattering).  There’s one H&M I’ve found that offers jeans and pants in short sizes, though I’m sure there’s a few more around the country.  Ann Taylor is pretty good about selling petites in-store, but it’s not a given.

My point, of course, is that finding clothes for nearly any body type is hard, unless, perhaps, you are 5′ 6″ and 130 pounds.  But then you end up discovering all the clothes in your size have already been sold, so I guess it’s a wash.

I wish I could sympathize more with the commenters quoted above, but they’re just going to have to learn to live with it.  Sure it sucks not being able to try stuff on before you buy, or be able to go to the mall and find whatever you’re looking for right away, but it gives you a good excuse to stock up when you do find what you like.  Save that mall money for an online extravaganza!


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