Diary of a Fat Chick

Fat girl living in a skinny world

Open letter to Dorrit J. Bern June 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 12:18 pm
Tags: ,

Dear Dorrit,

I shopped at Fashion Bug when I was much younger and somewhat thinner. I remember in particular a pair of L.A. Blues jeans that even by yesterday’s standards were utterly unfashionable: they had tapered legs and no back pockets.

I discovered Fashion Bug about several years ago when I realized it still existed in my area; the locations with which I was familiar had closed. I had shopped at Lane Bryant, but their clothing is very expensive and not especially designed for plus-size women. When I grew two large to wear Lane Bryant’s clothes comfortably (their limit is 28), I began shopping at Fashion Bug (limit is 32). I appreciated that I could find affordable clothing that was relatively attractive and comfortable on my large body.

Today, I am unhappy. I received a coupon in the mail that lured me into the store. The circular included “plus-size” models dressed in attractive clothing. I hoped to find similarly attractive clothing that suited my body.

So much for the “perfect fit” your clothing claims to have. While I found plenty of pretty clothes, none of them fit me. It appears that your designers do not live in the real world. Plus-size women do not just add fat all over; it is deposited on the inside and outside of their thighs, around their hips, below their middles, above their middles, in their breasts, on their upper arms, around their necks. As a result, as clothing sizes increase, the designs and cuts of clothes need to change.

Case in point: I have large breasts and a large “pouch” below my middle. While surplice necklines flatter my bust, the empire waists on your shirts are too short. They come to slightly below the middle of my bust. In other words, the tops aren’t cut full enough. Other shirts are cut too narrow, so they “fit like a glove” around my torso. They cling to the rolls of cellulite across my middle and around my sides. If they fit around my middle and my bust, invariably they’re too short and my pouch sticks out. Not attractive.

Second case in point: Because of my “pouch,” it is an extreme challenge to find pants that fit my legs and around my waist. It is as if your designers forget about those of us women – and I’ve seen lots of them – who carry extra weight around their middle. Also, what is the reason for carrying “low rise” jeans for plus-size women? We want pants that fit around our waists, not cut into the fat around our lower abdomens.

The Gitano line of bottoms that Fashion Bug carries are cute, but from what I can tell after hours of searching the racks, the largest size the brand offers is 26. What happened to those of us who wear 28, 30, or 32? Do you think we just disappear into the woodwork? As we grow larger, do we no longer desire or deserve to wear cute bottoms? The result of those hours of searching and coming up empty? Gitano pronounced with a hard “G” sounds a lot like “Gitmo,” which is appropriate, considering those empty searches were torturous.

I commend you for carrying skorts or scooters in your stores. The inner shorts makes it easier to avoid the chafing that comes from generous thighs rubbing together. However, the skorts/scooters available are cut too short. The fat above and behind our knees and the varicose veins along our legs are not something we want the world to see. The additional benefit of longer skirts is the coverage of the backs of our legs when we sit down, so it lessens the chance of our skin adhering to warm chairs on hot summer days and nights.

I could complain about the too small bras and panties that you carry (what size bra do you think women who wear 30/32-size shirts wear? I mean, really!) or the “wide” shoes that are only marginally wider than the “medium” shoes, but I fear this letter is long enough.

Dorrit, as chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Charming Shoppes, you should know that Fashion Bug is no longer charming.



7 Responses to “Open letter to Dorrit J. Bern”

  1. grace Says:

    Well said. I always wondered what a women that is a size 4 ringing wet knew about plus size clothes. As a former “in house ” employee, I found myself to be one of the few (maybe 2 tops) plus size women on the design force.

    In fact, when applying for a job, I was originally told “you would not understand our customer”. Me, a size 24, sitting across from a HR mid level manager that was well, maybe, a 8! I was perplexed.

    Like you, I have long since left LB, Fashion Bug, and Catherines behind in search of brands that truely live in my plus size world.

    Here is one to chew on….do you realize that the fashion bug and lane bryant product is made in exactly the same factories and in most cases in the same fabric? LB simply charges more. I am not sure that is fair.

  2. rhonwyyn Says:

    Wow. That’s scary! Thanks for explaining why fat fashion at mainstream stores like that is so freaky and out of touch.

  3. alicia Says:

    I work for lane bryant and i feel that women who are plus sized appreciate that their is a store that will accomodate our size adn if i say so myself very fashionably well. IF it was me and i wore a larger size than what they caried i would simply go to catherines or avenue or somwhere where they did. If you want to wear the clothing you may have to just loose a little weight to be able to fit it. Being a size 8, like you said that women was, does not mean that she cant relate to you. I HAVE MANY SMALL FRIENDS. They all struugle with their weight and have the same insecurities as us. I have a friend that is so thin she cant find cloths to fit her unless they are a childs clothing. So, it is hard enough to be plus size so bottom line you should loose weight or stop complaining about the place that i am so very proud to work and proud to reprsent as a full figured women. Thanks

    • Raine Says:

      Funny thing is, they do carry the same styles and materials, because they are owned by the same company. Catherine’s, Fashion Bug, and LB. Guess they keep their employees out of the loop, ehe?

      Also, as someone who wears a 22, and is positively addicted to Gitano, can I just say how badly it ticked me off that Fashion Bug has stopped carrying their brand. I mean, lets face it, Zana di may go into the larger sizes, but will never be cut right to be flattering. LA Blues pants are hideous, (In my opinion) and their new line of Angel (or something like that) try too hard to look young.

      Also, as a side note, its not fashion bug’s fault that Gitano doesn’t make larger sizes, though I do understand your frustration. And at the risk of sounding totally cheap…George, (The walmart “business casual” brand) has some awesome, cute, stuff in the larger sizes if you can find a walmart that stocks said sizes. (my mother, who is a size 34, usually looks at the stuff in the store, and then orders her size on the internet.) Also, there are a ton of private labels, that make really cute clothes for larger sizes. There are a few great vendors on ebay, that I absolutely adore.

  4. alicia Says:

    Response to Grace,
    Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug do not have the same style or use the same fabic and if you shopped at both places you would know that. If, they did then there would not be two seperate stores. Also, dont be a HATER!!!!!! Where do you shop if you dont shop at lb or fb?? Torid or ashley stewart, they are both CHEAP and they are so trendy that they will soon be out of the picture as fast a their trends.

  5. ravyngurl Says:

    Funny thing: I just wrote an open letter to Dorrit Bern on my wrodpress page, too. Good words. : )

  6. ravyngurl Says:

    And apparently I used all my typing skills there.

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