I used to LOVE going to Fashion Bug here in Marion, Ohio. Why? Because they always had something in my size. Fashion Bug used to have two distinct sections — the side for skinny girls and the side for fat girls. And, until a few years ago, the stuff on the fat girl side was pretty matronly, for the most part.
Side note: Why do designers of fat girl clothing think that we all want to wear floral prints or cartoon animals on our shirts? Is there really a market for this that I don’t know about? Am I really, as a 33 year old woman, supposed to dress 20-30 years older just because I have more skin and flab than the lithe 33 year old woman standing next to me? Anyway…that’s a little off topic.
So, like I was saying — A few years ago, Fashion Bug made a change. They started carrying everything in their store in all sizes. I was ecstatic. It was like I’d just won the lottery on my birthday. I could walk into Fashion Bug, see a skinny girl sized outfit and know that they had that same outfit somewhere in that store in a double digit size.
I moved away from Marion for a few months in 2012 to take a job in NC. When I moved back in February 2013, my beloved Fashion Bug was gone. Just gone. Apparently the brand had went bankrupt, shut down, headquarters blew up…I’m not sure. But, I was upset, and I’m still grieving.
You may think that is a little extreme to grieve over the loss of a store — but there is a further implication that you may not understand. They replaced it with a store called Rainbow. While Rainbow is a plus sized store, it doesn’t have anything over a size 24. Sorry, I’m bigger than a 24. What is a woman like me to do?
Unfortunately, I’ve seen this as an alarming trend in plus size clothing stores. I mean, it is one thing to go into American Eagle and not find my size. I don’t expect to — that’s a whole other discussion that I’ll get to another time. But, when I walk into a clothing store for plus size women, I expect that they will have up to at least 26/28, if not 30/32. And, until a few years ago, they mostly did.
Then, for some unknown reason, Lane Bryant, one of the top plus size stores in the country, almost completely stopped carrying size 30/32. They also started making their “designer collections” only go up to size 22/24. Once again, women larger than that size were left in flower prints. So now, as an obese woman — I’m outcast even in my own sect of society. How is that right? I mean, I understand that sizes have to stop somewhere, but really? Are we even getting the weight loss shaming from our own stores now?
Ever since the loss of Fashion Bug, I have nowhere to buy clothing in my own hometown. Sure, I could go to Wal-Mart, but their clothing is, once again, matronly, and there is a VERY limited selection. Plus, it doesn’t fit correctly. And, while other major department stores carry plus sizes, their 3x (biggest size) is usually only an 18/20 or a 22/24.
So now, instead of shopping in town, and keeping my money in town, I’m stuck driving all the way to Columbus to buy clothing. Not only does it waste my gas, on top of the high price of these clothes (Fashion Bug was always a bargain), but it also takes my tax money away from my community. I like to shop locally when I can. But, in my present situation, I can’t.
I’m sure that some people will read this and think, “Well, just lose weight.” You have a right to think that. But, it’s not about losing weight, at least, not really. It is about trying to be comfortable in my own skin and being able to have the same abilities as everyone else. And, it’s about the plus size industry sticking up for their consumers, instead of shutting them out.
Has anyone else had a problem with this?