An Open Letter To Lane Bryant

21 08 2012

Dear Lane Bryant:

I could be writing this to Charming Shoppes as a whole, I could also write a letter to Old Navy, or even Torrid.  I have many things to say to all of them, as well as the seemingly endless list of stores that carry 00-14, 00-20, 00-whatever arbitrary size they choose to end at (as long as it’s a straight size.  Don’t need no fats coming into their ~beautiful store~), but the bottom line is no one is as backhandedly spiteful to the fat chicks as you, Lane Bryant.

I’ve been wearing your clothing since I was eight.  I’m 28 now.  I don’t know that your halls ever housed a bastion of delicious style that women were scrambling to purchase, though there were a few times when some nice items could be unearthed.  No matter how many people have contacted you to complain about the fact one 26/28 is stocked per style, no matter how vast the sea of 14/16s and 18/20s became on your inevitable clearance racks, you have not changed; your quiet defiance saying more about your true feelings towards fat women than your “real woman” ad campaigns ever could or would.

All of that has been said before, said well, and said by people better than me.  The real complaint, for me, right now, has to do with what I saw when I went into your Niagara Falls Boulevard location last night.  I saw a teal-and-navy chevron dress with a front-to-back bias cut.  I was taken aback— I was not expecting to see something I’d like so much.  I tried it on, and it fit well, which is another thing that I never would have thought.  The material was a light jersey, very similar to what Old Navy would peddle on their website.  I tried a few dolman-sleeve sweaters for work as well.  Everything was similar cut and fabric quality to Old Navy.  There’s not really a problem with that— Old Navy is relatively cheap material, but it’s affordable.

So, what’s my problem?  The price for the dress was 79.95, and the sweater I’d thought about buying was 54.95.  That is ridiculous.  Before you even factor in New York’s sales tax, it’s about 135.00.  For two items.  Two items of dubious quality, no less.  I had seen a “Reebok for Lane Bryant” or whatever athletic top as well, but before even trying it on, I checked the price.  59.95.  Now, I can’t speak for others, but I would say I make a solidly middle-class wage, and for me, that is flat-out unaffordable.

Let’s play a game for a moment here.  Let’s pretend Lane Bryant does not actually hate its clientele.  Let’s pretend everything the media has to say about fat people is true.  I’m not talking about health issues so much as socioeconomic issues.  If fat people are truly lower on the money ladder, why is it that you choose to take sub-par clothing and price it on a much higher scale?  The argument that there is a much smaller market, so the profit has to be higher per unit is bull.  After all, according to the media, the number of fat people is just exploding.

My entire point of this now lengthy ramble is that I am sick of having prices hiked up simply because the company knows its customers do not have many other choices.  I would absolutely love to shop at places other than Old Navy online, Lane Bryant, Avenue and so on. I don’t have a choice, though.  I don’t know how else to get the attention of Charming Shoppes/Lane Bryant— Lord knows the emailing hasn’t done a thing.  I honestly hope that people will see this and talk about it.

Sincerely,

A Super-Annoyed Fat Chick





Winter 2008 Gift/Beauty Recommendations

5 12 2008

Instead of my usual righteous anger-type posts, today I want to talk about something pleasant.  The Holidays are here, in case you haven’t noticed.  It’s Winter, things are hectic and you probably have a list of people to get gifts for.  I love to shop (which is hard as I don’t currently have a job, heh heh), so talking about my finds seems like a natural result of my hobby.  In this little list of recommendations, personal grooming products abound.  Why?  Well, the reason is two-fold, really.  First off, Winter is a dry, gross season for me (I love the Northeast, but dang, it can get cold up here), so I have to find products that help me get through it without my skin cracking off and my hair turning into a big puff cloud.  Second, it’s fun to buy yourself something cute or nice while you’re out grabbing things for friends/loved ones/pets.  So, the list will be a mingling of gift ideas for others…and yourself!

Old Navy Scarf Cardigans, $36.50

on610799-00p01v01Sweaters are a natural choice for Winter gift giving.  Old Navy has a very large selection, especially if you/the person you are buying for is in the 18-22 range, size-wise.  Need a bigger size?  Fear not!  Old Navy’s Women’s Plus section has loads of cute sweaters, including the one pictured at left.  This sweater comes in sizes 1 though 4x, and in my experience, the sizing can be generous on these sweaters.  A 4x should accommodate anywhere from a 28 to 32.  I am a 28 on top and I frequently have to size down to a 3x with Old Navy’s sweaters.  Anyway, this particular sweater is a great item for this Winter because of the excess material up front, which is to be used as a scarf.  It’s nice, and kind of artsy, and a breath of fresh air when compared to the usual Fair Isle-style sweaters you see around this time.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Fair Isle!  This sweater comes in great cold weather colors as well: black, baby spinach, gentle fawn and crystal peak.  It remains to be seen if this will be a popular sweater or not, but I, for one, love it and it’s definitely on my wish list this Christmas.  Note: Old Navy Women’s Plus is only available online, and shipping is seven dollars USD.  They do, however, have free returns.  If you file for an exchange on the return slip, I believe the shipping is free for the exchanged size, as well.  As of 12.5.08, though, Old Navy’s sweaters are all on sale, so most of the prices I have listed are higher than the current sale price.  If you’re thinking of getting any of these, pounce sooner rather than later!

Other Old Navy Picks: Cashmere Scoop Neck Sweaters $79.50, Cable-knit Hooded Cardigans $39.50

The Body Shop Satsuma Perfume Oil, $16.00

The Body Shop comes out with fantastic seasonal fragrances every year, but Satsuma (a fruit known to many as Clementine) perfume oil is a standby for me.  I’ve worn it since I was 13 and would recommend it to anyone, especially in colder months.  Citrus fragrances generally evoke thoughts of Summer, but this warm, zesty, orange-like scent is very cozy.  Application of this oil to your pulse points allows the warmth of the scent to gently waft around you.  This kind of orange is reminiscent of Pomander balls more so than the light, airy orange Summer citrus scents.  As shown, the oil comes in a cute little glass bottle, and has a small plastic rod inside for dabbing/application.  It’s easily slipped into a small box for wrapping.  An added bonus of this product is that it can be added to lotions and some body sprays.  You could start with an unscented base lotion (there’s one on this list), or, you could add it to a cinnamon or gingerbread-scented lotion for a super holiday feel.  This product is available at any Body Shop (found at most major malls), or online.

Other Body Shop Picks: Zesty Satsuma Takeaways $25.00, Satsuma Body Butter $10.00-20.00, Cranberry Sheer Body Shimmer $20.00

MAC Lipstick, $14.00

MAC is famous for their lipsticks.  Why, you ask?  Well, their range of colors and finishes, coupled with their long-wearing comfort and comparatively low price tag on the department store circuit has earned them quite a following.  Each lipstick has a light, but not overpowering vanilla scent and flavor.  While there are literally hundreds of colors to choose from, for holiday giving, I like pale pinks.  Pale pink is a great color for this season, but doesn’t look out of place in the warmer months (if the giftee uses lipstick slowly) or in warmer climates (where you don’t always see an apres-ski look in December-January).  My current choice of pink is a color called Ahoy, there!  It is, however, discontinued.  MAC has loads of similar colors, though– for your very pale friends, Pretty Please is a good selection.  For medium tones, try Syrup.  Darker skin?  Party Line.  If pink does not suit you or the person you are buying for, try a beige such as High Tea or Viva Glam II.  Added bonus: all the proceeds from Viva Glam products go to the MAC Aids Fund, which has done a lot to support those living with AIDS.  The price of these lipsticks makes them great for groups of people.  The women (or men!) at work, friends, teachers– there are a lot of options.  You can find MAC in many department stores (Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks), or in free-standing stores.  MAC has a very helpful find store section on their website.

Other MAC Picks: Tinted Lipglass $14.00, Kids Helping Kids Collection $6.00-$7.50

John Frieda Collection Brilliant Brunette Shine Shock Leave-On Perfecting Glosser, $6.99

My hair gets super frizzy in the winter.  No, who am I kidding?  My hair is ALWAYS frizzy.  It doesn’t matter what time of year it is– I’m the flyaway QUEEN.  This product, though, is very effective.  While my hair is still wet from being washed, I put a few squeezes of this in and work it evenly through my hair.  My hair dries to a high-shine, low-frizz moderate wave.  This was one of the first products I have used that has given me a good hair day!  I love this stuff.  It’s in a small bottle (2.4 oz/68g), but it’s worth the price for the effect it has on my ridiculous mop.  It works well with the straight iron/curling iron, as well.  It has gotten to the point that I don’t ever travel without a tube of this in my bag.  No, not my luggage– my bag.  It’s great to apply to dry hair as well.  This is a great item to include in a spa-inspired or pampering gift basket to a relative or best friend– I don’t know that I’d give it as a gift alone, for fear of implying something by giving it.  This is a great little something to get for yourself to try out.  You can find this product almost anywhere: Wal Mart, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS.  I got mine at Wegmans, a grocery store in Buffalo, NY.  It’s everywhere.

Other Hair Picks: TIGI Dumb Blonde Conditoiner $22.99, Lush Godiva Solid Shampoo $9.25

Vaseline Intensive Moisture Locking Lotion, $6.29

Let me start off by saying it seems like Wal Mart is giving out free samples of this product.  Okay, on with my little review.  Before I moved up to Maine, I lived in Buffalo, New York for almost five years.  The water in Buffalo is notoriously hard, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the winters.  My Cape Cod Winter-pampered skin simply could not take the harshness.  Until I moved to Buffalo, I NEVER needed to use lotion.  Suddenly, my legs were flaky and my elbows rough.  I somehow stumbled onto this lotion and it was love.  I still use it, even now.  This lotion is hypoallergenic– no dyes, no fragrances.  This is not your typical, watery lotion.  This is a thick, incredibly creamy hydrator.  This, like the last product, is not something I would give to someone as a gift, this is more of a winter survival item.  It takes care of crackly, post-summer feet and crackly, mid-winter skin.  You can find it at pretty much any major drugstore or big box store for a reasonable price.  I have used lotions far more expensive than this that don’t do half the job this does.  If I were to make a winter survival list, this would top it, hands down.

Other Winter Skin Picks: None!  This is my go-to.  You can use it sparingly on your face, as well, because the pump makes for sterile product inside the container.

Merrell Spirit Tibet High Boots, $130.00

I have the privilege of living but two hours away from L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport, Maine.  I have been visiting this store since my days in middle school.  My mother and I would drive up to Freeport from Cape Cod and stay for Thanksgiving.  It was always loads of Fun– Freeport is an outlet/shopping Mecca, for real.  Anyway, I was in need of good winter boots, so naturally I headed over there.  Pictures do not do these boots justice: seeing them in person, I was struck by their beauty.  They are quite expensive, but the warmth, comfort and style these boots provide is unmatched for me.  The suede outer looks and feels fabulous, and the grips on the bottom are perfect for slippery conditions.  This is an ideal gift for someone who lives somewhere cold (Maine, Buffalo, you know).  While a 130 dollar price tag seems steep, the craftmanship is undeniably quality.  Boots like this will last years, and look good to boot!  Hur hur, I said a funny.  They reach mid-shin on me, and are larger-calf friendly.  At the fullest point, my calves are 21″ or so.  These fit quite well, so they are a good gift idea for your muscular/larger-legged friends and family.  I believe other outdoor stores sell Merrill, but I choose to go through L.L. Bean due to their primo return policy.

Other Merrill Boot Picks: Puffin Mid-Height Boots, $100.00

Other L.L. Bean Picks: Maine Winter Socks $16.50, Bean’s Fleece Socks $15.00

Well, that’s all for now.  There is a possibility of a second part to this gift guide, if the spirit moves me.  I hope that a) people will read this and b) that it’ll help people find gifts for others!  The holiday season is a great time to share and express love and joy to others, especially through thoughtful gifts.  Please don’t lose sight of this amongst the throng of hysteria at all of the shopping malls and big box stores.  Enjoy the season.





The No-Man’s-Land that is 24+

29 07 2008

Just now, I was reading some complaints about B & Lu, and I got to thinking.

At one point, B & Lu carried almost everything up to a 30. Skirts were a good ten inches longer on me than they should be, but that’s what tailors are for, right? I thought maybe they were just sold out of a lot of things in the higher sizes lately, but apparently, they’re just scaling down. Why? It seems like a popular trend. Avenue is doing the same– half the time I go to look at an item I’m interested in (a rare happening in and of itself), and the biggest size is a 26. Even with Avenue, B & Lu, Lane Bryant and Old Navy, the selection is sparse for those above a size 24. This is not to say those who are a 24 can shop anywhere; it’s more of a tiered thing. 20, 24, 28 as I see it. Anyway, this downsizing of size ranges really bothers me, as someone who wears anywhere from a 26 to a 34, but most of the time, a 30, as I have a hard enough time as it is. I don’t need less people to select clothing from.

I’ve also noticed a lot of people avoid Old Navy because of the veritable slap in the face that pulling plus sizes from the stores was. I’d love to shop on principle like that, but I get probably 90% of my clothing from Old Navy. It’s cheap (yeah, sweatshops. ‘nother can of worms), comfortable and fits me well. The style also meshes well with how I like to dress. I call them often to leave feedback, but I will never stop shopping there. This may be counter-productive, but I’d rather wear clothing I like that is comfortable rather than too-short shirts (*cough* Lane Bryant) and thin, short-lived pants (Avenue).

I think Silhouettes is the worst offender of all, actually. They’ve never boasted anything particularly fashionable, until recently. They have had some really cute stuff for sale in the past year or so, but guess what? It stops at a size 26. So, all you fabulous women who wear a larger size? You can wear their basic, vanilla clothing. That has a fantastic size range. Anything with current styling, well, guess you’re just out of luck. This dress is a dress I would wear. It has been on sale forever, because I guess those who want fashionable clothing in a 26 or less go elsewhere. Their size chart says their 26 is equal to a 28, but I’m not sure about it. I don’t know that it would fit me, anyway, because I really can only get into a large-cut 28. Silhouettes is a company I refuse to buy from due to their sizing. Without a doubt, when I get a catalogue, I flip through it, and every item I like goes up to a 26 only. In fact, most of their items only go to a 26.

So, where is the love for people who wear 24+? Or, 28+? As stated probably a million other places, these people care just as much about fashion as smaller females. Why is this group left to huddle in the corner in plain, boring (for the most part) clothing?

Don’t even get me started on skinny jeans.