Guest Blog: Is there Size Discrimination in Premium Denim?

by Jaime on March 10, 2010

Kristy is a friend of mine whom I’ve been pestering to write here on the site since it started because she has a refreshing honesty and knows what she’s talking about. Here’s the back story on this post: Kristy fell for a pair of jeans and when I contacted the person I knew at the brand, they said that they didn’t make anything above a 30. She was livid, I was livid (and pretty embarrassed, to be honest), and she decided it was time that people heard her story. – Love, JP  
I am a size 12. This size is, reportedly, common inAmerica.  Yet just this week, when I fell in love with a super fabulouspair of skinny jeans in an unusual shade of violet, I discovered that thebrand doesn’t make their clothing for people my size.  The message is”We don’t want you in our clothes if you’re above a size 10.”
Whyis that? Shouldn’t these companies be competing for our business,instead of dictating the terms by which they allow us to give them ourmoney?

For some retailers, such as Old Navy or Ann Taylor, isthe message “We’ll take your money but we don’t want you in our storeif you’re above a size 12 or 14″? These companies offer plus sizeclothing for sale only online, and do not carry these sizes in theirbrick and mortar locations. While part of this is likely due to thefact that less popular sizes aren’t sold as often, meaning thatshipping and distributing these items in stores reduces theprofitability of the business, the inability to find such sizes instores doesn’t increase consumer confidences for those who are outsideof the chosen size range.

Often times stores that do carry mysize, such as Anthropologie, only carry one of each item in sizes 10 orabove. When I asked the sales clerk, she told me that size10 and above “sell out immediately.” I don’t doubt this as sales racksoften hold few if any items in larger sizes.

Not every brand canmake every item in every size. I understand that. Profitability isn’twhat I’m arguing against – I’m opposed to the designers out there whodon’t offer above a certain size because “it doesn’t fit with our look.” You mean to tell me the 3-4″ difference between one size and the next is going to completely ruin your entire brand aesthetic?

Isthis conclusive evidence that companies are actively discriminatingagainst larger sizes? No. But in a world where discrimination based onbody size is often times considered acceptable, it’s hard to understandthe reasoning behind this sort of behavior from retailers.

Forthose of you who are a size 10 or above, here’s a list of denim brandsyou may be disappointed to find have limited size ranges:

Siwy – 31
Blue Notch – 30
Vintage1 – 30
Sass & Bide – 30
Ksubi – 31

Disappointed?So was I. While there’s a handful of companies such as Not YourDaughter’s Jeans that make good basic staples, I’ve been on the huntfor some statement and trendy pairs of denim that also fit and flatterfor over a year now. Every time Jaime writes about a new brand I’malways there to ask her about the fit and size range.

And, to denim creators and designers, I wouldlike to propose a challenge. There are women just like me all acrossthis country who are willing to give you our money, and you’re nottaking it. My only question is… why?

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NICK WILSON TEPICK. June 15, 2011 at 10:50 am



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