I’m feeling really disheartened at the moment. I went into my local Target yesterday, as a friend had told me that they had all this stock with amazing colours at the moment, and being the colour fan, I’m in!
But I came away so depressed, so disheartened. But the difference this time is, I decided to take some action about it, and I took a bunch of photos on my phone (apologies in advance for the low quality of images, I was in a hurry on my lunch break, and was just grabbing shots on my phone, but I think they do illustrate my point) to share here.
I walked in to the store, and you betcha, there is colour splashed everywhere in the women’s wear. It’s awesome. They also have these little signs up on quite a few of the racks:
There are neon brights, loads of prints, lace, crochet, jewel tones, sportswear, you name it… all in the most glorious of colours. So I took myself off to the plus-size section, which is at the back corner of the store, facing the shoes, you know, like they’re ashamed of it (they should be) looking for some fab coloured clothes for fatties.
Sorry, no fatties, you get this…
Or you can have this:
Ooh, wait is that a little blue I see?
Hang on, there’s a bit of colour behind here…
Ok, that’s a bit of colour, I’ll give them that one, it also comes in a deep blue as well. Not too bad. Bit casual though, let’s see if there’s anything by way of colour for non-casual occasions (work, going out etc)…
Ugly print, again with the dark/muted colours, looks like something my Grandma would love. I’m a successful woman in the prime of my life who loves fashion, has a career and a full social life. I do not want to dress like my Grandma.
What about a frock? Frocks are much more likely to work for a wider age group, and are more likely to have a bit of fashion about them, let’s try the frocks…
Can you see why I am depressed? Everything is so bland, so boring, so OLD.
So I went back to the straight sizes. I want to know, where are these clothes for me? I mean look at this:
Where are the fabulous prints and bold colours for plus sizes? Wear are the funky separates to mix and match for women like me?
I want this shirt. Exactly like this, in a size 26 to fit me. I don’t want a version with a hanky hem and weird sleeves added to “flatter” my arms, I don’t want it in muted colours, I don’t want it in some kind of nanna print. I want it just like this, but bigger.
See all this casual/activewear? I want a whole bunch of that in my size too. In these colours and prints. Target hardly even have activewear for plus-sizes, it’s like four or five pieces, all as dull as dishwater.
Look at all these t-shirts. In a rainbow of colours, with a bunch of variations in sleeve and neckline. Where are these for plus-sizes? Why do we only get muted colours, and the only variations we see in design are those that I like to call “fat lady uniform” – shark bite or hanky hems, weird sleeves, ugly prints like that purple shirt above or with “bling” on the bust. All things that are supposed to “flatter” but just mark us as “different”.
Want prints? Look at that – all on trend styles, colours and prints. Acres of them. But not for the fatties, no, you can’t have cute, fashionable pieces like this!
What about the young women? Let’s have a look what is on offer for them in straight sizes:
Where are these clothes for the young plus-size customer? In fact, not just the young ones – I’d wear a few of these things myself if they came in my size. That stripey shirt with the pink sleeves on the right is AWESOME, as is the rainbow leopard print top there. Nope, fatties can’t have anything funky and fun like this.
What about something a little more dressy? A little more suitable for work or a night out?
Yet another garment I would love, exactly as it is, no changes to style or shape, except sized to fit me. But no, instead I get those bland things pictured above.
Or this one:
I would absolutely kill for this dress, exactly like this, in my size. I would rock the hell out of it, people would say “Cute dress, where did you get it?” and I’d reply proudly “I bought it at Target, isn’t it awesome?”
It is so disheartening, so depressing to see that straight sizes have all these fabulous choices, and yet we plus-sized women get this tiny section of frumpy, unfashionable, boring clothes.
Look, don’t get me wrong, some women want dark colours and conservative styles. Hell my Grandma needs clothes as much as I do, I don’t want Target to get rid of the selection they have. But I want them to treat me the same as they do their straight size customers. They’re doing FANTASTIC fashion for straight sizes at the moment. All these great things I’ve posted here are just a tiny drop in the ocean of choice they offer in size 8-18. There’s something for every taste and style in their straight sizes – they have acres of it in my local store. And it’s well priced, well made and readily available to most Australians.
But I’m tired of being treated like I’m not worth the same amount of choice and quality as the rest of their customers. I’ve talked before about the power of fashion, about how it’s more than just putting on a pretty outfit, about fashion. It’s about being part of society, and about being able to participate with your peers. And yes, as a fat woman, not-fat women ARE my peers. We are just as valuable and worthy as any not-fat woman. Our money is just as worthy as any not-fat woman. Our requirements for clothing and style are just as worthy as any not-fat woman. We have as much right to participate in society as any not-fat woman.
So why am I not offered the same options, the same range, the same products as not-fat women? In fact, when Target’s own company website says in their “about us” section, and I quote:
Target Australia is a mid-market department store renowned for delivering to its customers great quality and great value apparel and homewares. As one of Australia’s most successful retailers our aim is to make stylish living affordable and available to all Australians.
Now the last time I looked, I’m an Australian… so why is stylish living not available to me and other women like me? If you look at the straight sized options in the photos above, and then those in plus-sizes, do you think we’re being offered the same “stylish living” as their straight sized customers? If you don’t believe me just from these photos, go to their online store and look at what is offered to straight sized women, compared to the Moda range.
I’m tired of excuses. I’m tired of being told that fashionable clothes “don’t sell” in plus-sizes. Of course they don’t, when they’re shoved on the back side of the shop floor like you’re ashamed of them, never marketed properly and of course, are never there. Perhaps instead of blaming the market, perhaps it’s time to look at how you’re approaching it. Perhaps it’s time to make a splash and say “Check out our hot new clothes for plus-sizes! Shop your heart out, you deserve nice things too!” and watch just how things change with what sells and what doesn’t. How about looking at how you market to plus-sized women, and instead of selling them “flattering”, sell them fun, sell them fashion, sell them empowerment.
You worry about providing fab clothes for plus-sizes, and let us worry about making sure fat women feel confident and strong enough to wear them. I’ll promote the hell out of you if you do, and encourage every fat woman I know to get themselves into your gear. You have my word on that.