Thursday, March 26, 2009

Plus size offerings..yer doing it wrong.

Let me start off by saying that I my aim with this entry is not all about being bitchy. The following has been on my mind lately and Lip Service just happened to hit the annoyed fat girl trifecta today.


Being that my aesthetics tend to run toward the gothy and have for a long time I'm going to use Lip Service as an example of how not to sell fat people clothes.

Then I'm going to tell you about some retailers and clothing lines I think are doing it right.

First up.

You all might recall this about Lip Service's absurd sizing chart that is now gone. Now my main criticism if you don't feel like reading boils down to several key points.

  1. At that time the supposed equivalent to a Torrid 0 (my size) was measurements of 42-42-45 an actual Torrid 0 is 40/43-35/36-42/45. The key difference being a differential between bust and waist measurements. This isn't to say that there are not people who have those measurements but, that if you take say a sweetheart neckline dress, with a defined waist and full skirt (like this one, another huge screenshot) those actual measurements would mean that the dress would hang straight from the bust which is not how the garment appears to be made. I was informed that those were "typos" that were actually confirmed by employees.
  2. Second, I find the fact it unfortunate (this happens with all sizes with Lip Service clothing) the actual size chart is more of a suggestion rather than being accurate.

Now if we look at the current size chart (that's a big picture that'll open in another window) we see that there are no longer any plus size listings at all and there haven't been in quite awhile which leads me to believe they won't be offering non-Torrid Lip Service in plus sizes which is fine sorta.

Just today Lip Service let the community over at LJ know about a sale and announced new styles at Torrid. Now if you look at the Lip Service website you can get a fair idea of what they offer style wise. Have a looksy here. If you look around they offer a fairly diverse range of styles of clothing.

Being that the stuff at Torrid warranted it's own wee announcement I hurried over to look and this is what I found, (another huge screenshot) no really all 8 fit on one page.

If I was looking for things I would identify as Lip Service garments, what's available would probably send me packing.

By contrast (this is the 100 item view so it might take a minute to load) Tripp's offerings for Torrid appear to be far more representative of what you might find in their jr's sizes.

Is it perfect? No. But what Tripp offers that Lip Service doesn't is comparability. As a plus size shopper with gothy tendancies you're more likely to find what you're looking for from Tripp because the selection they have offered via Torrid is pretty decent.

I have this same criticism of a few stores. Old Navy for one. There are quite a few items that are available in the not plus sizes that would be fucking fantastic and would I imagine sell quite well in plus sizes. Speaking from experience I tried on some pants there that were just a bit too small and I tried the plus size equivalent and they were not the same pants as they were supposed to be and it's irritating.

To add to the list of brands Dickies. This is what they offer via Torrid. Yes that is one pair of pants. They offer a whopping five items in their official Dickie's Girl store. If you look that's actually two items in two colors. As opposed to the multitude of skirts, dresses and pants in other sizes.

The problem is, if you are a brand known for a particular style don't be surprised when plus size shoppers don't flock to things that don't really represent your brand well.

There are lots of companies to take cues from let's go on a little journey shall we?

Let's talk about Eshakti. Here's a bit of a disclaimer I haven't shopped from them myself but I have been keeping up with the talk about them amongst some fashionable fatties.

Let's look at this garment because I like it. I like this Smocked waist embroidered cotton dress. If you examine the standard sizing link, they offer the same dress in sizes 0-26. You can also for 10$ more get this custom sized. Which is entirely not outrageous. From the reviews I've seen these are not only quality garments but, the purveyors are quite friendly and helpful.

That is offering variety in damn fine fashion.

Now if we want to talk about higher end Goth clothing let's traipse around the world. Gallery Serpentine in Australia is doing it right. The size chart is clear, just about everything I looked at was available from 0-20 (which is not ideal naturally but it's pretty good) without the nonsense.

Fashion Overdose, check out the plus size hottie right there on the front page. Also have a look at their size charts. Excellent I will be ordering from them.

So I know I usually say I won't do your research for you but there it is. What you see here is an excellent starting guide to doing plus size clothing correctly.

Now what makes me really sad is that Lip Service makes some beautiful clothing. And with my personal economic situation working out for the better (during a recession go figure) I would fucking love to give them my money for pretty things. However, I am not going to fuck around buying two or three of things because they don't provide the sizing correctly or don't offer what I want.

It breaks down this way Lip Service. If you make it well, don't make the items hard to find, make things that are comparable with more of your regular lines, and provided good information on the garments, the hot ass goth fatties would buy.

Lip Service and other retailers who clearly do not get the plus size market let me point you to a few places. The Fatshionista website and LJ community. Voluptugoths on LJ. Fatshionista's on Flickr.

Some sample questions:

Hello goth rocking fat people. We need to know what you want in your higher end goth rocking awesome clothes.

See easy peasy.

Lip Service, you may remember the poll you conducted last summer that clearly indicated by a lot of plus size and not plus size folks, if you make the clothing of awesome a little bigger we'll buy it.

Take a chance.

Now if you folks will excuse me. I am going to make myself a battle plan to purchase this here waist cincher. Which you'll notice is available 34-44.

Homo Out.



spacedcowgirl said...

"The problem is, if you are a brand known for a particular style don't be surprised when plus size shoppers don't flock to things that don't really represent your brand well."

OMG YES. This is my absolute #1 pet peeve about plus lines within well-known straight-size brands. 90% of what is offered is no different in appearance from what I could get in the Wal-Mart plus section. Maybe it's better made or something, but I would prefer to pay for interesting style. Designers at mostly-straight-size brands seem SO fearful and unimaginative when it comes to plus-size clothing. This also leads to what Marianne yesterday called the "But we triiiiiiied" excuse. They half-ass and treat their plus customers like dirt (this may manifest in something as simple as always being out of the plus sizes, or certain colors within the plus range, or whatever) and then they claim "there was no market" when shoppers take their money elsewhere. It infuriates me.

Meems said...

Something that drives me nuts with sites/brands like Fashion Overdose is how they size for inbetweenies like myself. If you look at their sizing chart, a "regular" large is 37-29-40 and a 0x is 40/42-32/34-42/44. What happens to women who are between 37 and 40, 29 and 32, 40 and 42? It's not a big difference on the hips, but it is especially in the waist. I'm also always a little wary of brands that place a size 10 in "plus sizes"

As another note, last season I found a really cute one piece bathing suit at Old Navy. The only problem? They only carried it in plus sizes! Not all women who wear "regular" sizes want to wear a bikini (and I sure as hell can't wear a string bikini - the girls need way more support than that).

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with this post more. My personal style definitely tends towards the goth, so finding Torrid was initially a breath of fresh air. But of course, when I realized the awesomely-styled items from well-known straight size brands that *aren't* being offered (rather we get some matronly or cheap-looking version), it makes smoke come out of my ears.

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