Dear Dorrit J. Bern:
I have enjoyed shopping at Lane Bryant since I was in high school, and I have always appreciated your selection of stylish, hip clothes for bigger women. While I sometimes feel that some of the styles of clothes you sell are better left to thinner women or to no one at all, I recognize that you are trying to be equitable in offering plus-size women many options for their dressing pleasure.
I do appreciate your attempt to stylishly clothe large women; however, I am appalled at the fact that you have been charging what can only amount to gross mark-ups for your clothing. No gauze shirt is worth $45. No ill-fitting pant suit is worth the $150-$200 total that I paid for pants, jacket, and button down shirt. I didn’t even get the job. I blame my current unemployment on the jacket’s tendency to creep up in the back, producing what I call the Dracula effect in which my ears are hidden by the collar as I gesture, cross my arms, or breathe.
I also wonder if you have taken into consideration the fact that not all fat women have large breasts. I weigh 240 pounds, but I am 5’2″ tall and wear a size 40B bra. I do not have the voluptuousness to fill out your clothing’s more than ample bust lines. Where cleavage should be, onlookers find glimpses of my bra or my sternum. Very attractive. And, the darts don’t help camouflage the fact that I am not breast-blessed. In fact, they amplify the space between the cloth and my breasts until the resulting flaps resemble front-side angel wings.
Similarly, I wonder if you have considered those of us who are fat-petite. As I have indicated, I am 5’2″ tall. Spending $55 or more for a pair of pants should prohibit the necessity for me to take them home only to spend an hour or so altering them to fit my short legs. I don’t mind my jeans dragging the ground, but I draw the line at dress pants. What about the shorties who can’t sew? Will you also open a shoe store specializing in high heels?
Now that I have spoken my mind in generalities, I would like for you to turn your attention to a specific situation. Today, I went shopping with a friend of mine and we left Lane Bryant in the Muncie Mall in low spirits. It appears that you no longer stock size 30 pants in your stores. In addition, we were informed that Lane Bryant no longer carries size 30 on their website or in their catalog. We were not directed to another store or given any advice about where to find size 30 pants. They did exist once upon a time. Surely, they were to be found somewhere.
When I got home, I discovered that Charming Shoppes, Inc. does, in fact, carry size 30, but at Catherine’s, Lane Bryant’s sister store. Had we been informed that we could simply go to another store that was nearby, my friend may have purchased five or six new pairs of pants. Since your company systematically and monetarily rapes fate women, knowing full-well that we have few other option, today’s little debacle means you lost about $400 in sales.
I would encourage you to carry bigger sizes at Lane Bryant, or at the very least, you could inform women who wear those sizes that they can purchase similarly priced and styled clothing at one of Lane Bryant’s sister stores. I mean, you shamelessly advertise Cacique on the radio as we shop. Why not advertise Fashion Bug and Catherine’s as well? As it is my friend was so upset, that she went home and ordered from Ashley Stewart. Your loss.
If you want us to continue to patronize your business, you could begin to heal today’s wounds with a few gift certificates. Perhaps a couple of gift cards, maybe $200 on each one, would help us to get over our ill-feelings and trauma.
A Natty Heifer