With all of the festivities this week for us with The Limited it got us to thinking more about the way not only the world views being plus size but how retailers view plus size women in particular.
We applaud The Limited with their new line eloquii - beautiful pieces for women over a size 2 that are of quality and on trend (all images within today's post are courtesy of eloquii :). I say this because many many lines for plus size women are just kind of "thrown together" almost as though we are an afterthought. The message from retailers to the plus size market has seemed to be "well, larger women have to get dressed in the morning so I guess we have to make something for them". The Limited has come to realize that by taking the time to create collections with thought and craftsmanship the sales will come (like if you build it they will come). Finally it seems that other retailers, along with The Limited are catching on and realizing that plus size women have a HUGE stake in the consumer market and we will spend money to feel and look good - maybe even more money on average.
Speaking of averages 60% of American women are a size 12 or larger. Uh, hello, why would it take a strong business mind so long NOT to cater to this market? Well, it wasn't something that was mainstream or fashionable or "the thing" to do. As we know, unfortunately, there is a double standard when it comes to men and women. Men can have Big and Tall stores and that is cool - there is no stigma around a man shopping at a Big and Tall store. On the other hand if we women shop at a plus size retailer then some feel they have to go in with a hat and sunglasses so no one knows they are there. NOT FAIR and we have to change it. Along with changing our own mindset we have to change retail. Easier said then done but it is happening - better late then never.
The LA Times published an article back on October 24,2010 titled 'The Plus Size Mystery in Women's Fashion' regarding plus size women longing for fashions of the same caliber as their smaller counterparts. Here is an excerpt that blew my mind:
"In a time when retailers are struggling to turn a profit, the disconnect between fashion and reality is a puzzle. The fashion world's emphasis on tall, thin and young women is frequently cited as contributing to poor self-esteem, anorexia and bias against the overweight.
What's more, a key finding of a 2009 report by Mintel, an international consumer market research firm, found that plus-size shoppers, especially younger women, want fashions that match those sold in smaller sizes.
But that's a big request with a small chance of success, experts say. The proportions, economics and aesthetics of plus-size fashion virtually guarantee that fashion — fashion of the trendsetting, desire-stoking, magazine-filling kind — will always favor the thin.
Creating stylish clothing for larger women isn't as simple as making bigger sizes of existing styles, says Rosemary Brantley, chairwoman of fashion design at the Otis College of Art and Design.
"There are a lot of styles that won't size up," said Brantley, a designer and former model. Pattern makers can more easily enlarge or shrink proportions for sizes 0 to 10 because the body's proportions expand in a more universal manner in the lower sizes.
"The human form is nothing but a bunch of curves," Brantley said. "Those curves get very exaggerated as one gets bigger. The more exaggerated the curve, the more seaming, the more shaping, more darting, more fitting and more expense."
Again, um okay. But we are willing to pay for it so make it!
I'll end on a personal note - after having three daughters I am not a size 8 or even a 14. I'm happy with myself and my family AND my husband thinks I'm beautiful just the way I am. I make money and I'm in love with fashion and all it encompasses. More retailers need to wake up and realize all of the profit that is slipping away each day they are not catering to the plus size woman :) So, thank you, again, to The Limited for starting a trend which I hope will prevail in the future.
P.S. and eloquii has pants with an inseam of 35" which is heaven to someone (such as myself) who can NEVER find pants long enough - score one for The Limited!!