Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lane Bryant- Making women FEEL fat

Today, Nick and I treated the kids to a day out. Chris  & Gilly both had left over Christmas & Birthday money burning holes in their pockets, and we had given the kids each $20 to spend on anything, and $10 to spend on books at Barnes & Noble.

While we were at the mall, I stopped in to Lane Bryant. A few years ago, I struggled with finding jeans that fit me just right. They never fit right, they always made me feel uncomfortable. I stopped in to Lane Bryant just to see. Shirts at Lane Bryant don't fit me- I'm not as broad in the shoulder area, as I am in the hip area, so the wider shirts fall off my shoulders.

I am digressing, right? I had never tried pants on, so I went in a few years ago, and tried. I found jeans that fit perfectly. Oh, how comfortable they were! Two years later, my jeans are getting a bit raggedy. I decided that since we were there, and I had some extra money, I might as well stop in.

I don't know HOW I could have forgotten the dressing room of HORRORS that Lane Bryant has, but I did. Never been in one? Let me regal you with the dressing rooms. Mostly, it's the lighting. Horrific, horrifying, horrible lighting.

It's recessed, spot light lighting. It creates shadows. LOTS of shadows. Know what stands out in shadowed lighting, when you are spot light from above? Every dimple, crease, and pocket of fat. In glorious up close vision, because you're standing right there looking in a mirror.

Clothing that looks perfectly acceptable on while outside of the dressing room, looks horrific, horrifying, and horrible in the dressing room lighting.

I walked out of that store today beating myself up because of the 5 pounds I've gained since breaking my tailbone. I'm seriously crushed over weight I've gained, and the weight I've carried around since becoming a mom. Yes, the weight is my own fault. I could (and should) watch what I eat more. And I could (and should) work out more.

What I do not understand, however, is how a store that caters to larger women, can get away with lighting like that. Have they never heard complaints? If I hadn't walked out and looked at myself in the more normal lighting, there is no way I would have bought the two pairs of pants that I bought. The lighting had another effect on me. It made me look shorter, and made my legs look stumpy and wide.

I felt not like a beautiful, slightly larger than average woman. I felt like a circus freak waddling around. I felt like I'd shrunk 5 inches, and widened 10 inches. I felt horrible. I felt like saying something to the women working, who all were my size or larger. I felt like crying.

Is this really the message that shopping at a store should send us women? It wasn't a store for twigs. I expect to feel fat if I'm in a store surrounded by size 0 stick figures, where an XL is really a M, and isn't going to fit. When I walk into a store built for woman of a larger size, I expect to feel comforted. I expect to walk out not feeling like every eye was on me, wondering just who I was shopping for.

And I didn't. I walked out thinking every eye WAS on me, wondering why I only bought a size 14, when clearly, I should have bought a size 18 or 20. I felt like they wondered who I was kidding. I felt fat. Maybe it was the kick in the pants I needed,  but I certainly didn't need it today.

On the plus size side, they had a clearance event. I skipped the $50-60 jeans, and bought a pair of courd's, and a pair of dressy pants. Not dressy, dressy. They aren't denim, kind of like khaki's but not. The kind of pants I can dress up, or down, I suppose. Anyway, They were each only $12.99 on clearance. I spent less on two pairs of pants, than I normally would on one.

Another blight on the day? Getting harassed about signing up for a Lane Bryant credit card. I get it every time I go.  It's one thing to ask, and stop when I've declined. It's a whole different matter to ask repeatedly after I declined, and mention "how much you'd save!" by getting it. Of course, they don't mention how much you pay in interest. I firmly declined again.

-sigh- I'm fat. Fantastic.

I should clarify. I don't think there isn't anything wrong with whatever size a woman is. This isn't about size itself. It's about self image, and being comfortable with who I am as a person. No woman should be made to feel even worse, or even larger than they are at a store there to cater to them.


Michelle @ Delicate Construction said...

I so agree about the lighting!! I never understood why every store wouldn't want to invest in awesome lighting and honestly great mirrors in order to sell more clothing! They are lame- but good buy on the clearance stuff.

Veronica said...

Maybe they don't know how bad it is or if they do they might not realize how it makes the women who shop in their store feel.. You should send an email to them. In fact I would send what you said in your blog. They might be an eye opener.

Expressions by Heather said...

I did send them an email, actually. I find it difficult to believe that no one who works there hasn't noticed, though, since most of them shop there as well. In fact, a quick web search showed at least one other person writing publicly about the poor lighting. I posted this on another large site, and emailed the link to Lane Bryant, and stressed that between both places, the post is sure to get a few reads. ;)

the thrifty ba said...

nothing like some bad lighting to play into our insecurities.
when i worked for the limited (many years ago), the people high up have NO IDEA what it is like to work/live in the stores. be sure to let them know!

CC said...

It's a sad shame when it seems as though the store just doesn't hear you. Try again.. no customer should have to feel as you do...send them exactly what you wrote here. If that doesn't wake them up, nothing will.
Good luck..

JRFrugalMom and Family said...

I thought I was the only one. Seriously, a few years ago a friend and I decided to give the store a try just in case it might fit. We both found some items that we thought looked nice on the rack, but as soon as we got to the dressing room, we realized that nothing fit right. I agree about the lighting and the mirrors as well.

We both left Lane Bryant feeling less happy than when we entered. We did not find anything that fit, but we sure felt heavier than when we got there.