'Curvy girls' rule!
Plus-size women should stop shopping where a false image trumps customer need
By Jacque Meyers 05/30/2013
A “curvy girl” walks into a trendy clothing store. A thin, blonde salesgirl greets her with little enthusiasm and a supercilious up-and-down glance. I know what you’re thinking: “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts, right?
I was a full-figured teenager growing up in Los Angeles in the 1980s. In those days, fashion options for girls like me were limited, to say the least. But I’m thrilled to say now that, over the years, many wonderful designers and companies are offering more fashion-forward clothing and things are looking up for Rubenesque gals. But I digress.
I wasn’t on Rodeo Drive and I don’t have legs like Julia Roberts, but you can imagine my surprise when I asked the salesgirl, “What’s the largest size you go up to?”
I was floored by the response. “Size 8,” she replied.
Huh? Come again? Was I being punked?
She promptly and unapologetically told me that size 8 and under was “their” market.
Their market? Or was that what they wanted their market to be? It appeared size discrimination was alive and well at this store in Old Pasadena.
I told her with obvious disdain for the information she was giving me that I was a wardrobe stylist in Pasadena and that my clients, as well as friends and family members, came in all shapes and sizes.
“Actually, the average size of the American woman is 14,” I told her with gusto. She could not have cared less about what I was saying to her.
The brands they carry all go up to a size 12. I know, because I have a closet full of them. However, she made no attempt to offer to order me a bigger size, or at least even try to muster some attempt to rectify the situation.
Hearing the commotion, a younger and even thinner girl appeared from out of nowhere and pointedly asked if I had a problem. She said she was the manager and buyer. I thought, “Perfect, now I’m talking to the right person.”
“Darn right I have a problem, and so do all the beautifully ‘normal’ fashionistas out there! Girls young and old who have to grow up in this supermodel-standard city,” I said.
I’m sure they were hoping I would exit the store quietly. Yeah right! I proceeded to tell them just what I thought of their obvious elitist attitude and then I walked out vowing to enlighten the women of Pasadena post-haste.
This was an unfair and all-too-familiar experience; a reminder of the challenges I faced as a young girl. It is because of these challenges that I became a fashion stylist and personal shopper. It’s my job and privilege to assist women in creating their own unique and personal styles. To help them find great-fitting, beautiful clothes and accessories no matter what their figure challenges. I’ll even show them how to shop their own closet (there are many treasures that can be altered and made to look fresh and current).
It is worth mentioning again that there are some wonderful stores in Pasadena that carry a plethora of sizes for all women, such as Cache, The Loft, BCBG, Max Studio and Lucky Brand at Paseo Colorado, as well as J. Crew, Banana Republic, Zara, even Forever 21, now has a plus-size department.
It’s interesting this issue has recently risen to some national prominence, namely the 2006 Salon magazine interview with Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch.
Fitch said his company doesn’t make larger sizes because he wants to market to who he calls “thin, beautiful and cool.”
Needless to say, I was furious! Wow, the “cajones” on this guy, I thought. Then I realized that narrow-minded people like Jeffries actually get people talking and ultimately create change. So, for that, I thank him.
For a personal wardrobe transformation, contact Jacque Meyers of curvygirlconsulting.com at Meyers424@aol.com or (818) 416-0216.