Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘A letter to the clothing brands who want my money, but don’t want me shopping in their stores.’

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Have you ever had that moment where you have an event and you have nothing to wear? I can practically hear you screaming ‘yessss’. 

So the day before, you race to the shops because you need to find something. 

Well, imagine going into a large shopping centre, brimming with clothes, and it being near impossible to find something that actually fits — let alone in a style you like — because none of the stores stock your size. 

This is the reality for women in Australia who are above a size 16. 

You enter a major shopping centre, money in hand ready to spend, but you leave feeling disheartened, lacking confidence and asking yourself why these brands hate fat people?

I am Melissa, a plus size fashion content creator. I am 34 years old and for the last 18 years I have been above an Australian size 16. 

In those 18 years, I’ve spent countless hours roaming stores in the hopes of finding something, anything, that will fit me. 

When shopping with friends, I buy accessories just so I don’t feel left out. When shopping with my mum and sister, I buy an oversized knit or a new pair of shoes, just so I can also carry around a shopping bag. 

Watch: Plus-sized bloggers talk about their experiences. Post continues below.

There have been so many moments when I’ve been standing in a change room with a huge pile of clothes spread across the floor. However, not one item I’ve taken into that change room fits and I have already been in there for what feels like an eternity. 

I’m too embarrassed to go out and hand the pile of clothes to the room staff member. The feeling is almost paralysing. 

Sometimes I have stood in there waiting for the attendant to walk away, other times I have just taken items and pretended they fit only to shove them on a rack on my way out of the store. 

We are seeing so many brands claim to be ‘extending’ their sizing to include a size 18, but more often than not the size 18 is online only. 

So, they are really saying, ‘Hey we want your money if you are a size 18, but we don’t actually want you entering our stores’.

That’s how many plus-size women feel. 

It’s demeaning, it makes us feel less than and it’s quite simply ridiculous. 

For these brands, who often stock from a size 4 or 6 up to a size 16, adding one extra size to the store seems to be just ‘too hard’. 

However, they want to spruik that they are being more ‘inclusive’.

We get excited and waltz into the store ready to take a handful of clothes and try them on. But as we rifle through to the back of the rack looking for those bigger sizes, we just don’t see them. Even when there are signs all around the store saying, ‘we have extended our size range’.

So, then we have to do the awkward, gut-wrenching thing of sneaking up to a sale assistant and asking ever so quietly for the size 18 section. 

The sales assistant will often say ‘Sorry we only stock that size online, so just jump online and order it there’ usually with a friendly smile on their face, not knowing how shattering this news is to the plus-size customer

Why can’t we be like everyone else? 

Why can’t we enter a store and experience trying multiple items on, laughing with friends or family while bonding over the shopping experience? Why should we have to pay the cost of postage? Why should we have to order online without trying on first and hope the item will fit? As if it isn’t already bad enough that brands are only extending to a size 18, but then throw in the fact that they don’t really want to stock that size 18 in their stores. 

So, if you are an Australian retail brand and you want to claim to be a size inclusive, then please stock all of your sizes in store (like some of the brilliant brands listed in my article here). 

Show plus-size women that they matter, that you want them wearing your beautiful clothes. 

We deserve to have that experience, and we deserve to have these sizes in stores.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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