Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A plus-size issue

Whew. I just had a customer here at the store that made me feel totally craptastic. She asked if we carried any plus-sized items, and I apologetically said no. "But why? I'm a size 18--you don't have ANYTHING for me?" I didn't know what to do, so I told her it was something I'd bring to the manager's attention. To which she replied, "Guess I'm stuck with the accessories table again!"

Ok, so I didn't make or buy the clothes, or single-handedly develop our society's distorted image of what's beautiful and fashionable (we can blame that on Anna Wintour). Yet, somehow I felt guilty. I don't know why. I guess I just felt badly for the girl. Her attitude was kinda sucky, but maybe mine would be too if I shared her problem.

As a size six (on a good day), I usually don't have trouble finding clothing that will fit, but based on my body type and "problem areas," there are plenty of things I consider to be off-limits. Backless tops, strapless-everything, cap sleeves, skimpy tanks, bandage dresses--are all a no-go for me. Really, I try to avoid anything sleeveless as much as possible. I'm forever jealous of the super-sveltve celebs that can slip on a Herve Leger bandage dress and look fantastic. I can only imagine the wiggling, jumping and stuffing that would have to go down in order for me to zip up one of those suckers. I'd totally look like Snooki at the Grammys minus the Oompa Loompa tan. And breathing would not be an option. (For the record: I'm not calling Snooki fat by any means. Just um, a little...juicy.)

Tell me: What do you think about what happened at the store today? Did the customer have a right to get a little fiesty with me? And is there an item of clothing that you consider to be off-limits for you?


  1. I think you were just at the wrong end of a frustrated girl's vent. I can see her point, and not that it gives her the right to harp you on personally, but sometimes people just let that frustration get the best of them. I have a job where I constantly deal with people yelling at me for things that I can't change or fix. It sucks, but after a while you just learn to de-personalize it.

    You did the right thing telling her you'd take it to the manager for her. Maybe you could make a mental inventory of places that sell great plus-size fashion in the area so if someone like her vents, you have somewhere to direct them.

    I consider shorts mostly off-limits. My legs are, uh, bigger so I find the chafing makes them ride up. And if they're too short to ride up, that's a different story. And too long makes the legs look short.

  2. I don't want to sound bitchy, but it sounds like she kinda likes fighting the fight, you know? Most boutiques don't carry plus sizes. If she's a size 18, I'm assuming she's fully aware of that fact by now.

    But maybe she's legitimately trying to spread awareness that, YES, plus-sized girls are willing to splurge just like skinny girls. For me, it's such a losing battle to find maternity wear that isn't dumpy or prissy or crap quality -- I feel all enlightened like Tyra Banks in her fatsuit, LOL -- I can see firsthand how shitty it is when clothing companies assume you want to dress like a hausfrau just because you're carrying extra weight.

    But it's not your store. So don't feel bad.

  3. I don't think she was mad at you just mad at the situation. I wouldn't take it personally nor would I feel guilty. We don't know her story so we can't judge but just chaulk it up to her having a bad day and you were the easy target.

    I will NOT wear skinny jeans! I think they are super cute...but not on me!

  4. Yeah, I mean, we don't carry those sizes because they'd be hanging on the rack for forever. The clothes are bought based on the average customer, which yeah, sucks, but it totally makes sense! I just felt bad bc it's not like I could REALLY empathize with her...she kind of gave me the "you wouldn't understand" look. It was a lose-lose situation for sure.

  5. So awkward! I worked at PUMA in college and we only went up to an XL in womens-roughly a size 10. As for the dudes, it went up to about a XXXL. I think you handled the situation well. Love your Snooki reference. Sigh. I miss that show so much!

  6. It's tough being heavy! I used to be a size 16/18 and finding cute clothing was near impossible and never fun. (This was in the late 80's)

    The thing that strikes me as odd is....we are becoming an obese nation yet 99% fashion is geared towards the skinny minnies. Um what? I think designers need to start designing more clothes to fit the actual population instead of the catalog models.

    I need to add that in no way do I approve of an obese nation but it is what it is...

  7. I agree, Barbara...everyone deserves to look and feel good about themselves. Designers should be more aware of different body types and sizes. The fact that I have yet to find a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress that fits my shape is just insane!

  8. While i'm on the opposite side of the size spectrum, I can relate with the customer's frustration. While my problem is usually that all of the size 2s are long gone by the time i'm ready to part with my money, it's irritating. but if i walked into the store and they just didn't cater to my size AT ALL I would be livid and hurt. this woman has to take her frustration out on someone,and while its a shame it had to be you, i can definitely understand why she would.

  9. It is unfortunate that she couldn't find clothing in the shop, however thats life. Generally if you are a size 18 you know which stores carry the style, and sizes that you need. As a former plus sized (198 lbs/size 14/16) girl (who now wears a 4/6 @ a much lighter weight), I have to say that she can't hold you responsible for her not being able to find something. Nor should you have to tell your manager anything. Your manager can't make clothing in her size just appear overnight. It doesn't mean that's ok- but thats reality. I have friends who are very petite, and next to shopping in the childrens department, they go to the stores that they know have special petite styles and sections.
    We all as individuals simply can not hold other people responsible for our frustrations and challenges. Was that rantish....? My apologies.

    I'm sorry you were put in that position, I don't know what I would say to that.

  10. That sucks that someone was rude to you like that. This might sound really mean, but she's a size 18. That's her own doing. She can't get mad a stores that don't support her unhealthy lifestyle. I'm frustrated when people call themselves curvy when they're that large... I so dislike these euphemisms. They're fat. It's unhealthy to be so overweight and no one should support that. Our country, our world is becoming so fat and unhealthy.

    I really don't mean to be a negative nancy. This is just a subject I'm very passionate about.