If You Want To Buy Plus Size Clothing, Stay In Your Home

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Are you a plus size woman and think you deserve to shop for your clothes in, I don’t know, a shop? Please take your entitled notions elsewhere, says retailers.

The Huffington Post has a rundown of the discrepancy between sizes sold online versus sizes available in stores of 10 major retailers. While most  of the ten featured stores theoretically offer plus sizes in their online stores, eight stores carry limited plus sizes in their physical locations and only five stores manufacture clothing above size 18. Two stores carry their full size range in stores: American Apparel goes up to size 12 and Abercrombie & Fitch maxes out at ten.

The survey of the retailers includes sizing at both New York City and Cherry Hill, New Jersey locations. Both Talbots and Old Navy offered bigger sizes at their suburban location than at their city locations, which is good because there is not a single woman in New York City who might wear a size 18.

The obvious discrepancy here between what stores are offering and the demand is summed up in a survey of over 5,000 women by everyone’s favorite adult dress up closet, ModCloth. The results were pretty staggering:

More US women report wearing a size 16 dress than those who wear a size 2 and size 0 combined. In addition, 50 percent of American women wear a mix of standard and plus-sizes, and 57 percent buy some of their clothes in size 16 or larger.

Retailers that limit their available sizes are keeping a huge majority of women from shopping in their stores, whether they’re up front about disliking plus size women like Abercrombie & Fitch, or if they’re hiding behind supposed statistics that plus sizes don’t sell as well as straight sizes. I’m not a mathematician, but the above survey numbers seem to disprove that theory.

Online shopping is fun unless the fit isn’t quite right or what you thought was a nice charcoal sweater is more of a lavender cape, and then you have to wait in line at the post office for forty minutes behind a guy trying to overnight six pigeons to Long Beach, California (based on a true story). It would be super great if retailers sold clothing to the women who wanted to buy them, instead of adding extra steps over an arbitrary difference like body size.

Photo: Getty Images

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    • Cee

      What sucks about online shopping is once it is sold out, you can’t go to the stores to find it. My girlfriend is plus sized and shops at stores like Old Navy and Gap, yet, she has to buy things quickly because they sell out FAST. I’m suspecting that obvi this happens because many plus sized people cannot find the clothes in stores, causing a shortage online as well. Its quite frustrating.

    • http://www.Bliss-Radio.com/ Chrystal Bougon

      I opened a plus size lingerie store exactly for this reason. I get so sick of tired of buying online… and plus size and curvy women like me need to be able to try stuff on. There is a change happening and the Curvy customer if finally being heard! I have an online store, but I like my customers to call or I like to talk to them before we ship their lingerie. My store is called Curvy Girl Lingerie and we are in San Jose and open for 8 months. It’s been an amazingly successful 8 months. Huge demand out there…pent up demand.

      • brokennails

        I literally just boxed up a bra I bought on Amazon to return because it doesn’t fit. I live in Oakland. I’ll be paying you a visit real soon!

      • http://www.Bliss-Radio.com/ Chrystal Bougon

        Oh yes, you should come see me. But, we mostly specialize in lingerie and corsets, not bras. You can find us on facebook to get a feel for our products. Just search on Curvy Girl Inc which is also my blog, BrokenNails. My store is down in San Jose

    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      Yeaaah. I’ve basically just gotten really good at knowing my online sizes. The only place where that’s next to impossible is Old Navy – I love some of their clothes, but their sizes don’t translate from item to item. You never know if it’s going to be too big or too small or what. It’s a pain in the ass. If they offered their plus sizes in store, I would be there ALL THE TIME. Once Target put in a plus size section, it was like heaven. Most of my closet comes from Target.

      Although seriously if you have a Torrid nearby, go there. I shop online with them all the time but then one opened up in Indianapolis and now I go there when I have the money. They are the nicest people and they have the best clothes. I’ve never had a better shopping experience than I do when I go into a Torrid. It’s like they actually get that big women are used to being treated like second-class citizens and they’re trying to fix it.

    • Eileen

      I do wish more stores carried a wider variety of sizes in the actual store, but I also remember from when I worked retail that the plus sizes didn’t sell. Sizes 4-8 sold out quickly, then 0-2, then 10-12, and anything higher just sat there, often not selling even when they were marked down 75%. This really confused me because it’s not as if my area was devoid of plus size women, and the clothes were nice. Does anyone have any idea where the disconnect is?

    • PaintingChef

      I have to be honest… I don’t mind shopping online. I actually prefer it. I can try things on at home and get a good feel for what I like and what I don’t. I can mix and match with pieces I already have in my wardrobe and try different shoes and accessories all in my own bedroom instead of a cramped fitting room that smells slightly of pee and has horrible lighting. And most places now make returns pretty easy, just package it back up and use the return label that is almost always included and drop it at the post office. You don’t have to wait in line or anything. I know that I SHOULD be bothered by plus sizes not being carried in stores as much but really the only time it gets to me is if I need something in a hurry or last minute.

    • Jess

      I’ve been saying this for years: most clothing stores hate making money. Clearly this is the only logical conclusion since most don’t carry above a size 12, and there’s a lot of ladies who would spend their money at your store who won’t because that size 12 is either too small, or a you have a size 10 mascaraing as a “size 12.” (Also, I’m pretty sure some bra stores are confused as to what a DD cup is). If the stats are to be believed, and more that half of women are not fitting a size 12 and under, can you imagine how much money is being lost to main stream retailers? It’s a sad case of poor planning and bad economics if you ask me – we got the demand but no supply. If it makes you feel better, it’s worse up in Canada. Most curvy girls I know here, including myself, cannot wait to visit the US, where there’s so much selection, and I for one am jealous.

    • Bree

      I remember buying an expensive 2-piece at Bloomies some years ago, and I thought I’d return it because it was so expensive. But when I went back (I lived 100 miles or so away) there was literally nothing to replace it — the outfit itself was long gone. So I took it back and wore it a lot. The point is that at some plus size stores you have to hang out there weekly to find to catch nice things because the best will fly away.