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Allison Kaplan

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April 29, 2008

Subtracting plus sizes

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from women has to do with the lack of stores selling fashionable plus size clothes. So I applauded Hudson, Wis. boutique La Rue Marche for turning over half of its shop to larger sizes. I wrote about it in the Pioneer Press, I talked about it on the radio. Finally, an independent shop recognized that women of all shapes and sizes want to wear trendy, stylish clothes. Finally, curvy women could try on jeans rather than guess their size online. Finally, a shop stocked the same contemporary looks for size 18 that are available in size 8.
But store owner Lisa Shortridge just informed me that she has eliminated plus sizes already. They just didn't sell. "Women did come in and buy," Shortridge told me, "But some of them seemed to be a little older and they were not looking for my style. Also, it was really hard to find cute merchandise from vendors. And I think these women don't think of shopping in boutiques - maybe they're too intimidated, which makes me sad."
Any other theories? If the women who complain about a lack of plus size options don't support the retailers that are trying, you can't blame stores for sticking with 0-12.


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How long were they available? I'm guessing since the majority of boutique stores stop at something like a size 8, people never even considered checking.

"And I think these women don't think of shopping in boutiques - maybe they're too intimidated, which makes me sad."

Or maybe they've just learned how pointless it is?

I only went once to La Rue Marche. I will say that the plus clothes that I found were way too trendy for me and very expensive. I need something between matronly and trendy.

Having heard about this great addition (thanks, Ali!), I drove all the way out to Hudson to check it out in February, since I love this store and haven't been able to buy any clothes there in the past. (I'm a 16/18 gal.) I looked around the whole store and couldn't find anything in larger sizes. No signage, no nothing. I thought that maybe I'd mistaken which boutique was actually bringing in larger sizes, so I left. Two suggestions: 1) Have a sale. Discounts, etc. A lot of us bigger gals are trying to slim down anyway and don't want to pay a lot for something we hope won't fit in a year 2) Make it loud and clear that you HAVE larger sizes. Signage, advertisements, mailers, etc. We can't shop if we don't know. Thanks and I hope you reconsider your decision!

I agree with mk.

I need something between matronly and trendy. I am a 48 year old single mom. Newly size 18 (formerly 22). I'd love to get some new cute clothes, but I can't wear the stuff 16 year olds wear, and I'm not ready for the stuff with bird houses or light houses on them either!

Also, I have quite a limited budget to work with. Any ideas?

I like to look semi-trendy (hip) and appealing. I like the clothes at Lane Bryant, but even they are too spendy for most things. I shop their clearance rack though!

I'm just so not ready to be old!!!

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