20 August 2013

When being a plus is really a minus, part two.

Somewhat surprisingly, I received an immediate response from Target. It was signed by a specific person and seems to be a unique letter, so maybe I can actually help make a tiny change in the right direction for other plumpies, like me.  Come on, Target! <waves pompoms> 

As an aside, my Dad told me yesterday that I needed to lose my "flab" for health reasons. None of my medical conditions are weight related, but he is still right. However, the fact that what he said was true didn't make it hurt any less. Why does being told that I am fat carry such tremendous emotional weight?

Target's letter follows.


Dear <Pocketlesspants>,


I'm sorry to hear you're disappointed with the current availability of plus-size clothing at your local Target store.


Your comments are important because they help us learn more about what you're looking for at Target. We've partnered with many different designers so we can bring you the latest styles. To help us serve you better in this area, I've shared your comments with our buyers for further review with our design teams.


We appreciate the time you've taken to share your thoughts and feelings with us.



<Specific Polite Person>

Target Guest Relations

19 August 2013

When being a plus is really a minus

gained weight when I was diagnosed with epilepsy and started taking pills that controlled seizures but fucked up my metabolism and appetite. I had a horrible time adjusting, and then developed a series of additional illnesses and injuries that threw me into severe depression and limited my mobility. I ballooned. It is hard to eat well when (a) you are sad, (b) your pills turn off the receptors that tell you when you are full, (c) you spend every waking moment in pain, and (d) food tastes good. Be honest. We all know that pie is good for stopping uncontrollable tears, and that a cookie can put a little pep in your step to get through a rough day.

I am working hard to get my life in order. I am currently seeing six different doctors with different specialties. I take six different prescription medications which cost more than the rent on my first apartment. I have had four surgeries in three years and accumulated more scars than the rest of my immediate family has, combined. Each surgery brings me one step closer to a life without pain. I cannot exercise yet because of physical injuries but I am trying to diet until I can get back on my feet. Nothing official, but I try to eat half portions, have stopped drinking soda at home, don't snack before bed, eat more fruit and veggies, etc. I have lost 45 pounds and dropped from size 20 to 18. My size 18 pants are even baggy now everywhere - waist, butt, legs - so I think its time to test drive a 16. My shirt size also dropped from a 2, to a 1, and now just a plain ole XL. I want to buy new clothes, but...

Here is where it gets tricky. I hate clothes shopping. It makes my limited self-esteem flush down the toilet. 

Let's be honest. I don't like being fat. Society doesn't like my being fat either. I am not sure which one hates my fatness more. I am happily married but notice time after time how men will connect with thin women and avoid making eye contact with fat women. Shopping is another example of how plump women are shunned. For example, I went to Nordstrom Rack with my husband to find formal wear for a party. The men's section had plus sizes but the biggest size in the women's department was, literally, a size 12. Not a single garment existed in the entire store for a plump lady. We went to three other stores that day looking for plus size dresses, to no avail. TJ Maxx had a single dress in my size, but it was short and sleeveless and I wanted something more modest. The lack of clothing in my size at stores makes me feel angry, ugly, and unloved. The average American woman is a size 14-16. Why would retailers shun such a huge portion of the market?? The only rationale I can come up with is that designers and/or retailers are disgusted by fat women and don't want them wearing their brand, so they intentionally only make skinny sizes. The recent Abercrombie & Fitch debacle supports this theory. I felt so incredibly ugly after that shopping spree that I have not been to a clothing store since.

I do, however, urgently need new work clothes that fit, which is forcing me to address my loathing of clothes shopping. My compromise is that I am willing to look at Target because (a) I like them, (b) I like my husbands clothes that he gets there, and (c) we are already there once a week for groceries, so it is super convenient.

Unfortunately, even though Target does have a ladies' plus section, all they have in stock are sleeveless low cut blouses, a "bag" blouse with no shape whatsoever, a deep V-neck tee in two dull colors, and a single style of nondescript spandex pants in black and khaki. So, while I CAN get plus sized clothes at Target, the selection is dreary. 

I genuinely wish that I weren't fat, but I am and I would like to not be constantly punished for it!!! All I want to wear are simple, pretty clothes. Even if someone can't say that I am pretty, they should at least be able to say that my shirt is. So, I decided to send the letter below to Target today. I really really REALLY want them to have stuff I can wear. 


Dear Target,

I love Target. I shop at Target every week for groceries, entertainment, and my husband's clothes. I wish that I could buy clothing at Target too, but I am a plus size woman and your garment selection is terrible.

It makes me sad. I walk through the skinny women's section on my way to the plus size area and say to myself, "ooh pretty" or "wow look at those patterns." Then I get to the plus size area and hang my head in shame.  

(1) The plus size women's section is a tiny half aisle in the back of the store, and usually has a selection of two blouses, a tee, two pants, and a sweater. When the skinny section wants to put things on clearance, they put racks of skinny clearance items in the plus size area. Couldn't the space being used for skinny clearance items be used to offer additional plus items instead?

(2) The plus size women's clothing has the following common features: (a) Spandex pants, (b) Ankle pants, (c) Squares of cloth with arm holes, (d) Low-cut necklines,  (e) Super short sleeves, (e) black, white, brown, and snore. 

What is wrong with this, you ask? (a) I prefer straight leg pants that offers a more flattering silhouette than pants that cling to my badunkadunk. (b) Capri-pants are not flattering on plus size women. (c) Muumuus and potato sacks are not flattering on anybody. Please stop selling squares of cloth with arm holes as "shirts." (d) Just because my bosom is ample doesn't mean that I want to show it off.  (e) If it doesn't touch your bicep it is sleeveless, not short. Sleeveless shirts are not flattering on plus size women. (f) Target is known for having FANTASTIC patterns and color selections everywhere in the store, except the very drab plus size section. 

My husband buys most of his clothes at Target and he looks good in them. Not only does he have a huge selection of styles to choose from, but each style comes in a delicious array of colors. Also, as noted above, you guys have a great selection in the skinny women area. Why don't you offer larger sizes of your regular clothes? If you insist on having a completely separate line for plus size women, could you try to bring it up to par with the rest of your store by offering flattering styles and terrific colors and patterns?

I want clothing that complements my body. Monochromatic sleeveless low-cut bags aren't good enough. Moreover, being overweight is depressing. I don't like my body and I know that the world doesn't either. I am losing weight (45 pounds so far) and look forward to the day that I achieve a healthy weight. In the meantime, though, I would like to be able to go shopping and feel EXCITED about buying beautiful clothing, or at least look in the mirror in the morning and know that I look the VERY BEST I can, in spite of my weight. 

Please help me and the rest of plus size America look the very best we can, Target. Please upgrade your plus size women's clothing section!

Very truly yours,