broadsideblog

Posts Tagged ‘plus-size clothing’

Fat Women Pay More For It, Study Shows

In behavior, business, design, Fashion, food, Health, men, news, women on September 29, 2010 at 1:19 pm
Silhouettes and waist circumferences represent...

Image via Wikipedia

Interesting study published in today’s New York Times:

While a man racks up $2,646 annually in extra expenses if he is obese, a woman’s obesity costs her $4,879, almost twice as much.

Much of the gender gap is due to lower wages for obese women, who earn less relative to similar working women who are not obese, according to the analysis, by researchers at George Washington University.

The report is one of the first to calculate the economic toll of obesity on the individual, including both direct costs, like medical expenses, and indirect expenses, like lost wages and reduced work productivity. (The study did not account for many other personal consumer costs, like clothing, because data are not available.)

Based on a median annual wage for women of $32,450 in 2009, the report found that obese women who work full time earn $1,855 less annually than nonobese women, a 6 percent reduction. By contrast, studies have found that the wages of obese men are not significantly different from those of normal-weight men.

This doesn’t surprise me. Overweight women are often demonized as fat slobs, and have a terrible time finding clothing that is affordable, stylish and comfortable.

When I worked retail, it didn’t escape my notice that our brand had a man’s XXL — you have to be mighty fat, not simply tall, to need that much fabric — but nothing beyond an XL for women. And the XL was still mighty tight on most of the women who tried to fit into it.

Try to buy women’s clothing in a size 14 or beyond — the average American woman being a size 14 now –  and is on-line or catalog sales for you, missy. No fatties allowed in the store.

A six per cent reduction in wages, especially on an income of $32, 450, is significant.

Women wanting to shed weight crave slimmer bellies and thighs — not their paychecks.

Big(ger) Furniture For Large People An Expanding Market

In business, Health on March 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm
Stainless steel table with eucalyptus wood FSC...

Probably not these...Image via Wikipedia

And in related news, here’s a growing market –furniture for very large people — as 68 percent of Americans are overweight and 34 percent obese.

From Dailyfinance.com:

While big-and-tall shops and plus-size stores have carved out attractive profits by catering to the sartorial needs of heavier consumers, the furniture market has largely ignored the growth in the American girth. Most U.S. armchairs, for example, are 20 to 26 inches in width, perfect for a slender frame, but too small for many customers nowadays. Meanwhile, dining room tables, beds and other standard furniture pieces are often too short, too narrow or too flimsy for plus-size users.

Although oversized furniture seems like a promising growth industry, it is also riddled with potential pitfalls. One difficulty lies in finding ways to sensitively market products to obese customers. Some online companies have decided that directness is the best policy: Oversize Furniture.com, for example, guarantees “Oversized Comfort,” and notes that its goal is “To bring joy to people and confidence to customers.” Meanwhile, Living XL is a bit more circumspect, promising to save its customers from “discomfort, frustration and inconvenience” with its products, which are targeted at “tall and plus-sized men and women.”

The best-positioned plus-size company may be Brylane Home. Originally a spinoff of Lane Bryant, it is currently owned by Redcats USA, a division of PPR, a French retail group. Although Brylane is no longer associated with Lane Bryant, the similarities between their names allows the online company to be a little more coy about its products and target clientele. In fact, Brylane’s website says the company is known as “America’s White Sale Catalog” — a year-round discount retailer.

How do you sell this tactfully?

Shop On (Size 16) Sister! British Retailer Debenhams Puts Larger Mannequins Right Where They Belong — In Their Windows

In business, women on February 22, 2010 at 11:20 am
Debenhams

Image by zoonabar via Flickr

Curvy women, get out your wallets! An upscale British retailer, Debenhams, has decided to put size 16 mannequins in its windows – instead of the usual size 10 — acknowledging the reality that, as in the U.S., the average woman shopper is a size 14 or 16.

If I lived in the U.K., I’d vote with my legs and my pocketbook and head straight to Debenhams to thank them for their intelligence. I was furious to discover the other day, (having driven to the mall and already paid, as it demands, to park there), that women’s clothing retailer Ann Taylor no longer stocks anything larger than a size 12 in their stores.

J. Crew. has been doing that for years, relegating the pooch-y crowd, no matter the size of their pocketbooks, to their limited catalogs and on-line options. Ann Taylor was — like Talbots — one of the few national chains who get the basic fact that women of all sizes want and need well-made clothing made of lovely, elegant fabrics like wool, silk and linen, not just disposable junior-style nylon crap from H & M.

Just because a woman is bigger than designers or retailers want — and maybe she wants — doesn’t mean she can spend her time in sweats. Retailers who sell lovely clothing to women over a size 12 earn repeat sales, no matter if the woman remains a 14 or 16, or slims down to a more “acceptable” 12, 10 or 8. “In the meantime”, for those trying to lose weight, should not add the punition of finding few attractive choices for the lives women lead right now, not six or 12 or 18 months later after they’ve gotten thin(ner.)

The two Ann Taylor skirts I liked in the store were $90 each, for simple gray or black wool. Add to the insult of being shoved to the retail margins a price-point out of reach for many women in this recession and Ann Taylor’s CEO really needs to re-think this misguided decision.

All women need elegant, flattering clothes that fit — not only when they are a size that stores find flattering to their “brand image.” Women with big(ger) bums also contribute to your bottom line.

Big Girls Dress Up, Too — Ashley Falcon's Plus-Sized Fashion Advice

In Fashion, Media, women on December 14, 2009 at 8:07 am
NEW YORK - JANUARY 31:  Writer Candace Bushnel...

Joanna Coles, (r), big girls' champion. Image by Getty Images via Daylife

How do big(ger) girls get dressed up for the holidays? Ashley Falcon — setting a new standard for women’s magazines’ embrace of size 16+ — dishes in this month’s Marie Claire.

Anyone who reads women’s magazines knows the typical beauty drill: women who are deemed beautiful only come in size 0-6, tops. Usually Russian or Slavic, with thighs so thin they look like arms. There will no editorial discussion of, or acknowledgement of, how very few fashionable options exist for women over a size 14, now the U.S. average — let alone real, first-person tips on how to dress attractively and comfortably.

Most designers simply refuse to make their lovely clothes in sizes over 10 or 12. J. Crew added 14′s a while back but you’ll only find their size 16′s on-line. Fatties, ugh! Falcon, who admits she weighs 220, even names the source of her black boyfriend blazer featured in the current issue — Walmart.

Here’s her blog and her list of 12 websites for plus-size fashion.

Her confidence is remarkable, after growing up in the Cuban community of Miami and surviving the vicious stiletto-stabbing hothouse of New York City’s fashionistas.  Props for shaking up that snobby, dictatorial, butt-hating world to Ashley and to Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles, a Briton (married to Peter Godwin, author of one of my favorite books, When A Crocodile Eats The Sun, a memoir of Zimbabwe.)

She's 5'11", Weighs 180 And Has A Belly — "Glamour's" New Poster Girl For Real Bodies

In business, Fashion, women on October 14, 2009 at 8:40 am
McCall Magazine, Night Before Xmas

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

When Glamour magazine ran a photo recently of model Lizzie Miller, her belly hanging ever so slightly over the top of her panties, I thought I was hallucinating. Happily. A girl with some meat on her bones! Gorgeous, check. Happy, check. Pooch, check.

Readers’ reaction to this image — truly revolutionary in the insane women’s magazine world of praying-mantis 15-year-old models we’re told we should look like (genes and age be damned) –  was huge, visceral and emotional. “Shame on Glamour for thinking this was sexy!” wrote one reader. “Holy hell, I am normal!” exulted another. “Thank you for the self esteem,” said another.

Any woman who wears a size 14 or higher continues to struggle finding beautiful clothes, because most high-end designers — even mass marketers like French Connection (nothing over a 10) — refuse to let fatties wear their schmattes. J.Crew, basking in the reflected glory of filling out First Lady Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, only has size 16s on-line or in their catalogs. In the current, November issue of Glamour, we’re told of the very few clothing makers — Michael Kors (expensive), Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne (a much-hyped commercial disaster) and Baby Phat (please) — who’ll even tolerate the excruciating embarrassment of a woman-with-hips wearing their designs.

In a long feature by former Glamour editor Genevieve Field, Glamour promises many more photos to come of heavier, more realistic models. Call it the pooch manifesto.

Here’s a really radical idea. Let’s judge all women — and deem them valuable — by the size of their hearts and brains, not their asses.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,186 other followers