De-segregation of plus sizes at Fashion Bug

This post is inspired by Unapologetically Fat’s post on Fashion Bug, please read it, it’s great!

It was a late summer’s day, and my mother was down to visit. I hadn’t seen her since the wedding (so since May), so it was fantastic to have a visit. We usually go clothes shopping when she’s down — call it a bit of a tradition — and we talk about fat issues. Call that a tradition, too. My mom isn’t quite a convert to FA yet, in that she still has a bunch of image/health issues that unfortunately her doctors have compounded.

We decided to stop by Fashion Bug — I had heard there was a store re-do, and I was interested to see how it would look. I walked in, and was pleasantly surprised — it looked like a regular boutique, instead of the usual segregated sections (plus on the right, straight on the left). I could see the clothing more clearly. Instead of having a casual rack crammed next to formal rack (both made of the same cheap knits and polyester), there was a casual and formal side, in which straight and plus sizes generally populated every rack.

Prices and selection was better, yes. But what impressed me even more than that was that I was, for the first time in years, shopping next to women of all sizes. There was a straight-sized woman who was interested in the same shirt, for instance, as I was. There were straight and plus sizes interspersed, shopping together for the same things.

And it was a freaking wonderful feeling.

I had never really thought about how confining and shaming it was to be segregated to often the back corner of a store (in a much smaller section), next to the FOOD (Super Walmart’s new brilliant placement for its Plus section), or next to Maternity or the kid’s clothes (cuz fat people are never single or young, yanno). I told myself that it feels better to shop near people of my own size.

But you know what? It really didn’t. That day at Fashion Bug, when I was shopping amongst straight sized people for the first time in years, *that* is when the shame lifted. *That* is what made me feel like we were all normal, just differently sized. That fat and thin people don’t inherently like different things, or inherently represent different demographics (in a broad sense), or inherently don’t want to shop near one another, or that plus sized people should have smaller selections of cheaper-made clothing because they don’t *deserve* the selection the straight sizes get.

As far as I know, Fashion Bug is the first mainstream store to integrate the straight and plus sizes. For that, Fashion Bug, I will definitely give you more of my business (your price drop doesn’t hurt, either!).

All I know is that I loved, loved, loved being able to shop with my mom again, who is a straight size. That we aren’t banished to different ends of the store. That she doesn’t come back from her side with a top she rightly knows I’d love, but dangit, it’s just too small (not her fault, she perpetually thinks I’m a 1x for some reason lol).

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3 comments on “De-segregation of plus sizes at Fashion Bug

  1. sydera says:

    This is really awesome. I’ve never shopped at Fashion Bug, but I might now! We don’t have one near where I live, but there’s always online.

    I have to say, on the XL thing…I am a straight size 14ish. A lot of XL tops are too small for me. A lot. What it says to me is that, for this particular store, XL is the largest size they can possibly imagine…and it’s about the same amount of fabric as in a men’s small t-shirt. The fattest person that store can imagine is much smaller than me. It makes me feel excluded.

    When I look for a size, the best thing for me to do is just pick up the biggest straight size they have, whatever it is. The plus won’t fit me, and neither will anything smaller than the biggest thing a “normal” store can imagine. The actual number of the size–well, it varies so much it’s hardly worth even saying that one “is” a size.

    I wish sizing could be more standard. To illustrate, I love dresses. In my current closet, I have two size 10 dresses, a 12, a 14, two XLs, one M, two L, and a 16. That’s just my summer dresses. What’s not in there are all the 16s that I tried on and that were too tight to zip up. Why can’t something be done about this? If we have clothing sizes that seem “standard,” then they need to go with actual measurements. And be internationally standard.

    My jeans, even though numbered in waist sizes, are scarcely different. I have a pair of Lucky’s in size 32, a perfect fit. My Sevens in size 32 haven’t seen the light of day in two years–I think I can maybe get one leg in them comfortably.

    Now, if there can be international standards for electronics and automobiles, there can certainly be true sizes for clothing. Why not just base the “size” off waist, hip, and bust measurements in centimeters? That’s what I would do.

  2. richie79 says:

    I’ve just come back from the US where my new wife and I visited the local Fashion Bug for jeans. Whilst I wholeheartedly support the principle of (as has always been the case with menswear) desegregating plus sizes in store, I would have to caveat this with deep disappointment at the way the ‘Bug have gone about it. My wife is toward the upper end of their size scale and of course there were plenty of 14s and 16s but the 24s and 26s she needed were in very short supply and where they did exist, never in the styles she liked (too many ‘skinny’ jeans, for one thing). Either this is a stock supply issue or (more likely) they’ve decided to reposition themselves toward targetting the smaller BBWs whilst consciously alienating their bigger sisters by relegating them to the dreaded online clothing ghetto.

    Add to this their newly introduced, highly confusing ‘Right Fit’ sizing scheme which completely dumps the recognised dress sizes in favour of a colour-coded system (identified by a guy rushing around the aisles *offering to measure* customers; someone really doesn’t understand fat chicks) and we quickly made our excuses and left. This was a relatively small store in a strip mall in an outer Boston suburb, however she’s never had any problem finding stuff that fits there in the past (even if their previously higher prices made it something of a last resort.) Ultimately we ended up paying slightly more in the Avenue which had plenty of the required sizes presented in more logical format.

  3. […] actually noticed this last year, but unlike Big Liberty, I never got around to commenting. Fashion Bug no longer separates its plus sizes from its regular […]

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