Dear just about every clothing store,
According to the CDC, the average weight circumference of women over 20 is about 38.1 inches. This translates to a size between 16 and 18 according to a US size chart by Collete. Refinery29 reports that 67% of women in the US are size 14 or above. So why aren’t you reflecting that?
The idea for this letter was initially sparked by the discovery of the “plus-size” section of the forever 21 in my hometown. It was put in the back corner of the store (obviously not a part of their store that they wanted to advertise), and nearly every item consisted of a light fabric and a loose fitting, t-shirt style. This was even more insulting than not having a section at all. The obvious minimal effort put into the plus size clothing shows that you are definitely not catering to girls of that size. I recognize that not every store has to cater to plus size, but if you’re going to try, at least pretend you care about that group of customers.
I find it very discomforting and alienating to go into stores with friends and not find a single thing to try on in my size. And that’s not the only problem.
Something that needs to be fixed is the attitude that workers sometimes have towards customers like me. Not all workers are like this, of course, there are incredible people in every store. However, there are a select group of sales associates who find it necessary to make sure women my size and bigger (sometimes even smaller!) know that we are not really welcome in their store. The nasty looks and almost sarcastic smiles are too easy to read.
Another thing, when you look at the actual data, wouldn’t it seem wiser to cater more broadly to more sizes? I mean, if the statement that 67% of women in the United States are over size 14, it would only make sense economically to cater to those sizes for optimal return. At the very least you could put more than one size XL in with all the other sizes.
When you advertise with one particular body type, it sends a message to those who don’t look that way that somehow they are less “worthy.” No doubt the women in the ads are incredibly valid and deserve recognition as well, but only using them is incredibly damaging to the self-image of millions of girls across the nation.
All I’m saying is that I think you could make a lot more money if you catered to a wider range of people. The near future will be filled with body positivity and acceptance, as we have already seen, begin to happen, and you’re falling behind. Pay attention to your audience, make changes, and support ALL your girls.