I've been following the story about Old Navy kicking its plus sizes out of its stores via entries from Big Fat Deal and PastaQueen, and I've concluded that I don't really have anything new to add to what others have already said and said well.
(Except maybe this: Given that more Americans are overweight than not, a store that can't sell a halfway decent plus-size clothing line couldn't sell ice water in Hell. Seriously: How badly did they mess up this marketing? Oh, and also this: Size six dress or not, I'm done with Old Navy. If they can't be bothered with me when I'm fat, screw 'em: I don't want to be in their stores when I'm normal size. They're entitled to make a business decision. So am I. And if I decide that Old Navy can go pound sand, that's my business.)
Instead, I thought I'd take a moment to praise a store that does seem to value its fat customers: Dress Barn.
Poor Dress Barn. It gets no respect that I've seen online, particularly not from me. I treat the place as so hopelessly uncool that if it came and sat at my table at lunch, I'd probably pick up my tray and move. Maybe it's that Groucho Marx "I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member" syndrome coming through.
Honestly, it's the name. I still have trouble getting past That Name. I hated lugging around the big pink bag labeled "DRESS BARN" when I was really fat, and I'd do what I could to be sure the store logo on the bag didn't show. It made me feel too much like a setup looking for a punchline.
Anyhow, Dress Barn doesn't have the hip, trendy image that Old Navy does, but you know what? It's always been there for me. (Well, there was that time when I was so fat that I couldn't even fit into their plus-size stuff, but really, that wasn't their fault.)
Dress Barn doesn't keep the plus size department a secret, or relegate plus-size shoppers to the Internet where they don't get to try things on before they buy. You go to the store entrance and there's Dress Barn Woman to the left, Dress Barn Misses to the right. Perfectly straightforward.
And having had plenty of experience with the clothes on both sides of the store, I can say that the plus sized clothes have been equal in quality to the regular line. That's not always a good thing, mind you -- the quality of the clothes can be uneven, to put it mildly -- but for better or for worse, the average girls and the fat girls are getting pretty much the same thing. I have a couple of DB shirts that have lasted for two years. They're big on me now, but they've held up nicely to lots of coffee spills and washing.
And really, the clothes aren't bad there. Sure, there's some hideous eye-bleeding crap, but guess what? That's everywhere. I know I talk up Urban Outfitters a good bit, but good lord -- I wouldn't be caught dead in 98% of their stuff. (Yeah, yeah, I know -- I'm an old fart and it's not meant for me. But I wouldn't have worn it when I was in the target age group, ok?) Some of Dress Barn's stuff is a bit on the pricy side, but they have decent sales. It's always a go-to place for me when I'm looking for acceptable "Buy the same shirt in several different colors" tops for the office.
So I think I'll stop picking on them now. Anyone else have any favorite stores that do well for women of all sizes? (Extra points for stores that have a decent in-store plus line; this whole "Fat women shouldn't get to try on clothes like the average girls do" thing really pisses me off.) Despite what Old Navy seems to think, I know it can be done.