Stores should carry plus-sized clothing, not isolate it from other sizes


Cady Armstrong

When I go shopping with my friends, I always have a prepared speech in case I don’t buy anything: I didn’t want to spend the money, the clothes weren’t stylish, or some other excuse. However, most of the time the real reason is that the stores we went to didn’t carry anything that would come close to fitting me.

Often, I walk into a store feeling excited about shopping and getting new clothes. However, the experience quickly goes downhill when I check the rack and the store doesn’t carry any sizes past large, leaving me feeling shameful and embarrassed. In addition to making many, including me, feel horrible, this practice re-enforces the toxic idea that bodies are supposed to be a certain size and that nothing else is acceptable, a thought not even close to true. All body types—plus size, “ideal”, and everything in between—are drop-dead gorgeous and all stores should recognize this, carry a better range of clothing and stop making the experience isolating and shameful for plus-sized people. 

From the very start of the shopping experience, stores shame plus-sized people. First, most do not even carry plus-sized clothing, making it a very quick trip. On the off-chance that the store does, it either hides it behind the smaller sizes on the rack, isolates it in a separate area, or makes the shopper ask the associate to see the “additional sizes available”. 

These scenarios are very concerning but are all easy things to fix. To start, instead of hiding the plus-size clothing and making it an embarrassing experience for the individual to have to always reach in the back for it, stores should alternate the order they put sizes on the rack. This way, stores do not contribute to the mainstream idea of an “ideal body” and how it should be small and thin. Then, as far as having a separate section, stores should simply incorporate the plus-sized clothing in the normal sections that already exist. The way it is organized now, having an isolated area makes being plus-sized a defining characteristic equal to gender or age when it simply is not and strips one down to their body. If I’m shopping with my friends, I’d have to leave them and do a walk of shame by myself to look at clothes that would actually fit, isolating me and defeating the whole point of going shopping together at all. Putting all the sizes together would eliminate all of this.

Overall, these practices lead to a shameful experience, and stores should make adjustments so plus-sized people don’t dread going shopping every time. While stores carrying plus-size clothing and not isolating those individuals won’t completely fix the fatphobia present in today’s society, it’s a good place to start. 

To see more works by Cady, click here.