Our fashion director, David Michael, answers your fashion inquiries with his honest opinion which is sprinkled with his extensive professional experience. Our first write-in explores plus-size fashion.
I am a 20 something woman making my way through life. Like most 20-something women, I love fashion! I like to look good- hair, nails, make-up and all that jazz! Unlike the average 20 something woman, I am a dress size of 18. So of course, this makes shopping difficult. I miss out on all the designer collaborations ( Alexander Wang and H&M, Lilly Pulitzer for Target, etc) and I’m starting to think that this isn’t fair. Designers have long had a history of not catering to us women with something extra. Do they think we don’t want to be chic and fashionable? What do we have to do to get more plus sized clothes in store?
Pretty Plus Sized Princess
PS. LOVE the Magazine!
Dear Pretty Plus Sized Princess,
Here’s the problem,
I’ve worked in retail my entire life (went to college was an art major decided to stay in retail). I’m constantly hearing about plus size things not being available in a traditional “bricks and mortar” store.
I have worked every end of the retail spectrum and one thing I have noticed is (I have physically seen the numbers because that’s part of my job) plus size clothes do not move numbers like other departments. You would think so but they just don’t. What’s even more interesting to me, stores like Lane Bryant and Ashley Stuart sell REALLY nice clothes. Yes they are on the pricier side because you have to pay a little more for the fabric (depending on the fabric/garment the standard is about 2 yards). Those stores sell amazing clothes and yet and still plus size women shop there but not how they should (daily sales/goals and comps should blow thru the roof).
Most people are running to stores like H&M or Forever21 and though Forever has a plus size section, its still doesn’t offer a wide variety in comparison to what it offers through out the rest of the store.
You also have to consider the floor space. Let’s say we bring in a full presentation of plus size clothes to the floor and when we do, the clothes aren’t selling. Then what? Particularly with these designer collaborations, they are a one-time thing and they do them to drive sales. So, now I have to send back my stuff that didn’t sell. It first costs money to make the garment that didn’t sell, it cost money to ship it, and now it’s going to cost money to send it back? That’s why most retailers carry their plus size clothes online. When you order it online, it comes straight from the warehouse and they only ship it once.
My advice is to shop at the places that love you (I’m 6ft tall 225 lbs with large thighs and a large butt. I cannot wear H&M pants). My favorite spots are The Gap, Banana Republic, Thrift shops and JackThreads. Online shopping is your friend, it maybe a little bit of an inconvenience but wouldn’t you much rather have it than not?
These companies care about the bottom line and that is money. We have to vote with your dollars. If you can drive business online, they will bring it. Ask and you shall receive.