…you don’t expect them to have your size. It’s like, I don’t know, logic. As Red No 3 put it (emphasis added):
See, what’s going on here [at Saks] is a bit of product testing. This is only being launched in one location. They see how it goes, and then decide how to expand. Its like Old Navy a few years ago when they expanded plus-sizes in their stores. Anyone remember how that turned out?
There is a fundamental flaw in the test marketing of plus-size clothes by retailers who’ve never offered them. […] Without promotion, why would a size 24 woman have been in Old Navy to discover their plus-sizes?
So, while its awesome that Saks will offer clothing in larger sizes, I worry that the intended clientele will never be stepping foot into Saks to discover this. And really, why should they?
Why should they, indeed? I didn’t know Eileen Fisher offered plus sizes until I was helping a size 12-14 friend buy a suit. Eileen Fisher had a shirt in the window that we thought would look good with her suit, so in we went. It was a surprise to me to find they went to 3x, and even more so to find that their 3x dresses might actually fit me.
Recently a friend was chatting with Marian Call at a show about clothes, and Marian noted she was just in New York City, which is terrific for clothes shopping. Friend turns to me and asks, “Why didn’t you tell me New York was great for shopping?” It didn’t occur to me to shop for clothes in New York. I went to NY for a business conference in December ’96. I made one foray into Bloomingdale’s looking for tshirts* and found nothing in 26/28 or 30/32, so I ended up getting a 3-pack of v-necks at Rochester Big & Tall. That was my one experience trying to find clothes in New York. During my subsequent vacations there I didn’t even bother looking for clothing. Maybe if I wore a size 20 or 22 I’d have tried, but ye gods, why would I waste time in NYC looking for something as hard to find as clothing in women’s size 28+? Hello?
In my case, it means I often don’t go to plus-size stores where I haven’t found supersizes in the past. Sure, sometimes a 24 fits me, but it’s rare enough that I don’t count on it. If Lane Bryant or Avenue started carrying supersizes, I might find out from the Fatshionista Livejournal community…but then again I might not.
I live near a major mall and I regard the clothing stores as almost negative space — places to walk by on my way to the stores I’m actually interested in, or scenery to walk by when I’m just there for a walk. I don’t shop for clothes at the mall because I’ve given up on anything fitting me.
And when you’re out of the habit of looking for clothes in stores, well … lots less impulse shopping, you know?
*It was December, so I’d brought warm clothes, and discovered all the NY buildings I entered were much warmer than I’m used to. I’m not used to sweating to death inside. In December.