Size 16 Goes Online-Only In Ann Taylor Stores

Ann Taylor will no longer carry size 16 items in their retail stores. “But they’re keeping it online,” our tipster Dena observed. “In other words, ‘Hey, wide load! Stay out of our stores! Oh, but keep giving us your cash.'”

Crain’s New York reported:

An Ann Taylor spokeswoman blamed low demand for the size in both brands, but some industry experts speculate that the elimination is really a cost-cutting measure.

“It’s more expensive to produce,” said one retail expert, explaining that larger sizes need separate patterns cut and fitted, which can be quite costly.

I call BS on this. Guess what, geniuses? Offering the same items online that used to be available in stores means that you still have to design them, still have to cut the patterns for them, and you still have to make them. Just not as many.

Good luck to Ann Taylor, though. I’m sure that this move will work out well for them at a time when, according to the same Crain’s article, 70% of American women wear a size 12 or larger. Other retailers in the same price range, such as Banana Republic, Gap, and J. Crew, ditched their larger sizes for women years ago.

Ann Taylor cuts size 16 [Crain’s New York]

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  1. redskull says:

    OK, no snide remarks, I’m just genuinely curious– exactly how big is a size 16? I’ve never been able to decipher women’s sizes. All I know is S, M, L, XL, XXL. Is there a men’s equivalent to the size 16?

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @redskull: [en.wikipedia.org]

      In most clothing schemes for women, it’s XL or L.

    • Canino says:

      @redskull: Women’s sizes change periodically – that’s why they’re difficult to figure out. Read up on the “Marilyn Monroe was a size 12″ urban legend.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        @Canino: Yep, I wear a modern 16, and a 24/26 in clothes from Marilyn Monroe’s era.

      • Lisa Cebrian says:

        @Canino: seriously…i like to sew, and pattern sizes are WAY off from when you buy retail. i usually wear a 6 or an 8 retail, but when i sew clothes for myself i’m a 14 or 16….so i wonder if marilyn’s size 12 was closer to a 12 we see today or a sewing pattern’s 12, which is more so like a 4 in retail clothes.

        but on topic, if it’s not a popular size in the store, then they have the right to make it online only. i worked at an american eagle a while back, which carries 16-18 on their site. if people came in complaining that we didn’t carry the size (which only happened a couple of times), we’d give them free shipping somehow…either with a coupon or ordering it to the store for pick up. i’m sure most stores do this, though.

    • calquist says:

      @redskull: I’m a size 8 and wear a Medium. Maybe that helps?

    • laserjobs says:

      @redskull:

      Size 16

      Bust 38

      Waist 29

      Hip 40

      Back Waist Length 16 3/4

      • Snakeophelia says:

        @laserjobs: Whaaaa? That’s not even CLOSE. Maybe that’s a 16 from a Butterick pattern back in the day, but a 38-inch bust is never going to be larger than a size 10.

        The Ann Taylor Loft website lists their size 16 as 41.5/31/44, which seems about right, maybe even on the small side.

    • sonneillon says:

      @redskull: I think a size 16 womens shoe is a size 14 mens shoe. I couldn’t even begin to tell you why womens shoes are sized differently. Seams silly to me.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @redskull: each brand does sizing differently but a 16 is usually a XL.

    • Julia789 says:

      @redskull: 16 is about an “Extra Large” size. However, wearing a size 16 does not necessarily give you an accurate depiction of the woman in the clothes. I’m a size 16 shirt, but require that size top because I’m disproportionately large in the bust. On the bottom half I’m a size 12. It’s all relative.

      • dohtem says:

        @Julia789: That reminds me of a comment I overheard while I was at the Guess store a couple of years ago, “I can’t find anything in here! My boobs are too big for this store.”

        Of course I had to turn around and see what she meant…

        • Laura Northrup says:

          @dohtem: Of course.

        • Julia789 says:

          @dohtem: Ha ha. Well, it IS a pain to shop when one part of your body is out of proportion. So I understand the young lady’s shopping frustration. I would probably not announce the reason why out loud in the store, however. ;-)

        • Rachacha says:

          @dohtem: I’ll have to try that in a store some time. “I can’t find anything in here!, my [male organ] is too big for this store!” Although somehow I think it might not get the same reaction :-)

        • theblackdog says:

          @dohtem: So that was you that was staring at my mother…perv :-P

    • Ilovegnomes says:

      @redskull:
      XL is usually size 12-14 and XXL (2XL) is usually size 14-16, depending on the brand. I can’t speak to Ann Taylor clothing but that is a general trend in the world of women’s clothing.

      I think that their move makes perfect sense during a recession. Clothing sales are way down right now. Yes, you do have to design, produce, cut fabric, etc but now you have that dress available to a larger audience via a warehouse/shipping instead of hanging on a clothing rack in a store for a select area. As the economy picks up and maybe even demand, maybe they will place this size back in the stores. Who knows? To me this is no different than my local grocery store not carrying my favorite cheese any more because there is not as big of a demand as there use to be but I can still get it online.

      I’m a size medium to large (depending on a brand) and I can’t tell you how many times a local store was out of something in my size but I could go order it online (and find a coupon code for discounted to free shipping) instead of relying on the store to get back to me.

      So for some this move is an insult and for some this is a convenience.

      • Ilovegnomes says:

        @Ilovegnomes:
        My friends, who I shop with, that are size 16 or above actual prefer plus sized specialty shops like Lane Bryant over places like Ann Taylor. The clothing is designed a little better for their body type, they are a specialty clothing store that stocks more in their size, they feel less self conscious, etc. So maybe other women started getting the same idea and Ann Taylor found less demand by plus sized clients in their store?

        Just saying… it’s possible.

        • Julia789 says:

          @Ilovegnomes: Agree – specialty shops leave “room for the girls” up front. I can actually button the shirts there! Even if I have to get the waist taken in by a seamstress, I am just happy to get some room up front.

          In “regular” sized stores, a 16 may or may not button across the chest, depending on the brand. Every brand is different. If I go to the specialty store for a 14W it’s cut far roomier in the bust than a regular 16. That way I can wear a button down blouse without fear of a button popping off under pressure and taking someone’s eye out…

        • Anonymous says:

          @Ilovegnomes:
          Well, if they’re above a 16, they don’t have many other choices. However, as someone who can fit into anything from a 10-18 depending on the store and brand, I definitely am an Ann Taylor customer over Lane Bryant, where I absolutely refuse to shop. I’m not a fan of poorly made clothing that’s primarily polyester blend.

          Now, having said that, it’s not like Ann Taylor ever had a huge selection in size 16 to begin with, so this isn’t a surprise. I would suspect that market forces are indeed at work, and those forces are that while 70% of women are size 12 and over, the vast majority of them are size 12 and 14, and Ann Taylor simply doesn’t sell enough in size 16 to dedicate the floor space to that size, when they could increase the amount of another size they carry (a size that sells more).

        • Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

          @Ilovegnomes: I don’t think “plus sized” women would necessarily prefer Lane Bryant, but are driven there out of necessity. Compared to things offered in stores like Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant isn’t that great.

          I’m sure if Ann Taylor made larger sizes, women would buy them. Everybody has to wear clothes and most people prefer to look classy.

        • zandar says:

          @Ilovegnomes: ah! Thanks for this. Before I read your comment, I was completely baffled. It would be like reading a report that 70% of consumers prefer peanuts to almonds, then removing peanuts from your store. I knew something more complex was going on.

          Though I should have had an inkling. As a man who wears XXL, I can verify the same thing has long been the case with men. As the fashion sense of Men’s Big and Tall shops are, shall we say, naive, I have to find the XXL sweaters I like online- they are almost never in stores.

        • CFinWV says:

          @Ilovegnomes: Wait… what? You’re saying size 16’s should suck it up and go shop in Lane Bryant because your plus size friends like it there? Wow, you are clueless. A size 16 in a regular store is nothing like a size 16 in Lane Bryant, hence WHY one is a plus size store and one is not. They are not interchangeable. A person that is able to shop in Anne Taylor is there because the 16’s that they sell FIT their body type. Telling them to just go to Lane Bryant is so completely ridiculous.

          • Julia789 says:

            @CFinWV: I think it’s up to the individual person doing the shopping. I can shop at either store – regular or plus – but prefer the plus due to the roomier cut in the bust. Then I get a seamstress to take in the waist and sometimes other adjustments.

            A 16 regular and 16W are different, you’re right. I wear a 16 regular or 14W, which makes up the difference. However, the 14W is roomier in the bust, which works for me. I will sometimes buy a 16W if that is all they have in that brand, and have it tailored down to fit me if it’s a good construction, quality fabric, and I’ll have it for years. For blouses and blazers thare are my work staples, this works out well for me. Knits and casual tops for the weekend, I can buy off the rack in either regular or speciality stores.

            In addition, specialty size stores vary in their sizing as well. Some carry as low as size 12W. Women who wear the upper ranges of regular but find them too tight in the bust may find better fit in the smallest sizes of the specialty stores.

            While I have found a few cute tops at Lane Bryant over the years, I usually buy specialty sized tops from Ralph Lauren Woman, Nine West Woman (at Lord & Taylor), Kiyonna, and other other brands that offer either a larger selection of natural fabrics or well made blouses. Kiyonna has as small as 12W, and they have some beautiful work pieces in rich saturated colors. I love that website. Their blouses are great.

            But I’m in my mid 30’s and that is just my preference for finding tops for the office. Lane Bryant carries a lot of stuff that is geared more toward the late teens and 20’s crowd – a lot of young playful clothes – and more casual clothes.

      • mmmsoap says:

        @Ilovegnomes: While, yes, clothing sales are way down right now, I’m not sure it’s all about business. I mean, I was under the impression that there are more women in America wearing size 16 than size 2.

        And while that may not be accurate info, I certainly have never heard of a store dropping its smallest size because there aren’t as many people buying it. It’s only ever the larger sizes, which are definitely being sold more and more.

        I can’t say that it’s the only reason, but it definitely seems that certain stores and brands don’t want their label associated with certain shapes of woman.

        • sponica says:

          @mmmsoap: I like to say I have Ann Taylor tastes on an Old Navy budget….haven’t been to ann in ages, but @ ON, I have noticed that the size 1 from 4 yrs ago is no longer a size 1, it’s a size 6. So perhaps we are returning to “normal” sizing. I am amused that despite the fact my weight/proportions have been fairly constant since high school I went from a size 6-8 down to a size 1 and now back up to a 6 in the past decade or so.

      • AshleyKeen says:

        @Ilovegnomes:

        ?? Where do you shop Gnomes? In most store I shop in an XS is a 2-4, S is 6-8, M is 8-10, L is 12-14 and XL is a size 16.

        I’m one of those “on the cusp” gals somewhere between a 14-16 missus and I LOVE Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor loft and am fairly devistated by this news.

        Saying that your friends that are size 16 prefer plus-sized specialty shops is a little short sighted. There is a BIG difference in the way a 16W dress or shirt is cut and the way a Missus size 16 dress or shirt is cut. Plus-size cuts make the assumtion that you’re at least a C cup size — which is not always the case. Size 14W is even too lose in all the wrong areas for a true missus size 16.

        As far as being less self-concious, have you ever walked around with a Lane Bryant bag? It’s like broadcasting that you’re a fat cow that can’t shop at normal size stores with a megaphone.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @AshleyKeen: I think the reasoning is that instead of going to Ann Taylor or Banana Republic and maybe being able to get your size, you can go to Lane Bryant, which caters exclusively to your size, and get a wider selection.

          I think a lot of Lane Bryant’s clothes are cute. Whenever I’ve been shopping with a former roommate and we go in so she can look, I find myself wishing that some of the clothes came in my size. No offense to anyone, but does that happen with size 16 people who can’t find their size at Banana Republic?

        • AliyaBabasaur says:

          @AshleyKeen: I totally agree, The size 16 at Ann Taylor is WAY smaller than the 14/16 clothes at Lane Bryant (in addition to the different cut).

    • bohemian says:

      @redskull: Part of the problem is that there is no longer any standards in clothing sizes. There used to be uniform sizes put out by (IIRC) the dept. of commerce. Somewhere along the way that stopped being dictated or enforced. Now you have product lines and stores doing vanity sizing. Vanity sizing is where a company purposely labels their sizes a smaller size than the actually are. The idea being if you wear a size smaller in that product line you are more likely to buy it. I can vary three full sizes depending on the product. Anywhere from an 8 to a 10 to a 12. This makes buying clothes very interesting to say the least. I frankly don’t care what number is on the tag, I just want them to fit properly.

      • Ilovegnomes says:

        @bohemian:
        I couldn’t agree with you more!

      • zandar says:

        @bohemian: As a man who fits in the upper sizes most stores, this means I can’t find anything at all that fits in the stores that have any fashion that I like. Large men only dress for comfort you know, I guess I should give up and just cut a head hole in a sheet.

        • jennybeth says:

          @Rachacha: I know you said this tongue-in-check, but there are men with that problem. My boyfriend can only buy one type of jeans because others are too tight in that area (but fit everywhere else).

          Although, I think if he yelled that, he would get some strange looks ;-)

      • LibraryGeek says:

        @bohemian:
        I totally agree with you, which is why I have never tried buying anything but tops online. I have to try on the clothes to know if they fit!

    • bibliophibian says:

      @redskull: In addition to the info others have posted, allow me to add that you still might not be able to get a good mental picture of the size. I pissed off a coworker several years ago because she thought I was mocking her when I told her I got my skirt at Lane Bryant. I was wearing a size 18, and she was wearing a size 16, but at my almost-six-feet compared to her barely-five-feet, she looked much “larger” than I did. She kept saying there’s no way I could wear anything over a 10, and didn’t believe me until I flipped the tag out in the skirt to show her. I’ve even had Lane Bryant salesclerks tell me that such-and-thus a size would be too big for me. (Not recently, mind – apparently there’s a point where yeah, you look exactly as big as you are, no matter how tall you are or how “well you carry it.” *sigh*)

      I have photos from when I was at my lowest weight, and the consensus is that I was a size 2 or 4; I was actually a 10. So even when you have a rough idea of the size, keep in mind that women who are shorter or taller than average are probably not going to fit your mental picture.

    • nakedscience says:

      @redskull: My waist is probably a size 12, but my hips/ass are a size 14/16. Makes buying clothes fun!

      • Ratty says:

        @nakedscience: That’s my problem too… I’ve found that the GAP is one of the few places to sell pants that work for that kind of size. Their curvy fit stuff is excellent.

        • Julia789 says:

          @Ratty: If you can’t find curvy fit, find a good seamstress (if your area is lacking, a men’s tailor will do, not just a guy at a dry cleaners, but a real tailor, a little old man that’s been altering clothes for years.) Buy the pants that fit the butt, and they can take the waist in to an exact fit.

      • grumpygirl says:

        @nakedscience: Me too. I really need to learn to sew…

    • synergy says:

      @redskull: I wear a size 16 and I’ve accidentally grabbed a pair of pants of my husband’s which look just like mine. They fit except for the hips being tight and he wears a men’s 38.

  2. BinaryTB says:

    So I’m assuming that since Banana Republic, Gap, and J. Crew ditched their larger sizes and they’re doing “OK” (Ann Taylor cost-cutters must have gotten their data pre and post size cutting), they can do the same financially as the other stores. The decrease in profit was probably offset by the fact that they now need to manufacture less, so a higher net profit in the end?

    Or they just hate fat chicks.

    • alternatestory says:

      @BinaryTB: Actually, Gap carries size 16 in the store. Sizes 18 and 20, and size XXL in shirts, are available online, as are petites and talls. My impression has always just been that the demand is lower for those sizes, so they are online-only.

    • the_wiggle says:

      @BinaryTB: hate fat chicks most likely. after all fat people are the replacement for smokers on the demonization conga line the country’s insisting on keeping going. . . .

      i’ll stick to Lane Byrant thank you – Anne Taylor can sux it.

    • gnappulicious says:

      @BinaryTB:

      i’m guessing that the gap cut out their larger sizes because they are chief offenders in vanity sizing. case in point? i weigh the same in high school, when i wore a size 8. now i need a size 2 or 4 gap pants. tops? used to be a medium, now x-small is like a TENT. it really enrages me. people complain about discrimination against overweight people: what about those of us who are normal weight?

    • kimshot says:

      @BinaryTB: Banana Republic carries size 16 online, but not in stores. The BR’s I visit always have an abundance of size 12 and 14 in the sale section. I have no doubt that many women wear larger than a 12, but they’re apparently not shopping at BR.

  3. calquist says:

    It seems like whenever I go to these stores and find something that I like the selection seems to be 0, 0, 0, 2, 14, 14, 14, 14, 16, 16, 16, 16. So I can understand why they are doing the cut.

    But I feel for those ladies. Pants can be a biotch to find a style that fits no matter what size. I gave up buying shorts and pants online long ago.

    • redbess says:

      @calquist: Seriously? All I ever find are the tiny sizes left and I’m lucky if they ever made any pants over a size 14.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @redbess: maybe you need to find a “skinny” friend and go shopping together so you can tell ran other where your sizes are.

        I put skinny in quotes cause a number size can be unduly subjective. My
        Mom is a 14 but she’s freaking 5’8.

    • dorianh49 says:

      @calquist: I thought 2 was the new 4, 0 the new 2, and 6 was the new 14?

    • Snakeophelia says:

      @calquist: No joke. Skirts and sweaters you can buy from anywhere, shirts you have to be a little more choosy with, and for pants you have to find the ONE or TWO brands that will fit you and buy as many as you can!

      I probably own six pairs of Tahari slacks, since they fit perfectly, and one pair from a specialty petite brand from Belks that I can’t find anywhere else.

    • lolan64 says:

      @calquist: It is definitely hard to buy pants online, especially if they are sized 0/2/4/etc. I am usually a 4, but it varies between stores, so I don’t bother with that sizing anymore, just buy a 27″ waist from a brand I know will fit me (for any ladies out there looking for a little perkiness in the rear, True Religion is the way to go!). Online shopping is hard enough without mystery sizes!

  4. Cialis Cooper says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the chicks that the crazy dude in “Silence of the Lambs” was killing to get their skin were size 14, so you can use that for a comparison if it helps.

  5. TechnoDestructo says:

    I’ve never really understood this obsession clothing retailers seem to have with small sizes…even in men’s clothing.

    You almost never see XLs on clearance, and on regular racks they’re in far shorter supply than the smalls and mediums, too, and it isn’t because there are hordes of skinny 5 foot 5 inch guys running around. It’s been like this since at least the 90s, and probably forever. You’d think by now companies would have adjusted their production and ordering, but no.

    Are the smalls that much cheaper that it pays to overproduce them to make it appear that large sizes are in short supply so as to be able to maintain higher pricing on those? That’s the only thing I can come up with that isn’t just “retail managers are shitheads”, and I think it’s pretty dubious.

    For some of these, it might be some image-obsessed OMG WE CANT HAVE FAT WOMEN SEEN IN OUR STORES thing, but it’s a bigger problem than that.

    • YardanCabaret says:

      @TechnoDestructo: I have to disagree, slightly. I was at Macy’s a few months back and they were having a massive sale on tons of stuff. I had to search very hard to find L sizes everything was S, XL, or XXL. Maybe the stores you frequent have a heftier clientelle and thus run out of those sizes fast(not saying you are hefty just saying that a bulk of their business might be). I live in a notoriously health conscious city thus running out of the M and L first. Just a theory but I wanted to add my experiential knowledge to the bowl.

      • katoninetales says:

        @YardanCabaret: It’s also possible that the clientele is from a demographic that wears big shirts without actually being heavy. I know a lot of guys in the Air Force who comfortably wear a men’s large but prefer to get their shirts in sizes XL and up. My spouse and some of my customers get casual and workout shirts in 3XL when a large would fit them without being snug. I don’t really understand the preference; they make comfortable PJs, but not workout clothes. But to each his own.

        • YardanCabaret says:

          @katoninetales: that could be as well. With the inverse being true here, that not only are there the health conscious nuts who actually wear those sizes there are a lot of “hipsters” that should be wearing a XL but wear a M or L to be “cool”. Either way good point that people don’t always wear their size anyways.

    • the_wiggle says:

      @TechnoDestructo: 2 cent theory – noticed since about mid-90’s most clothes run way small. doesn’t matter if junior, women, teen, boys, girls, mens. it’s like clothes are being designed by scrawny, ill fed, midgets for the same.

    • West Coast Secessionist says:

      @TechnoDestructo: WTF? I want to come shop in your town. Here (California), for as long as I’ve been shopping, men’s clothing racks in every store seem to be distributed about like this:

      M L L XL XL XL XL XL XL XL XL XL XXL XXL

      If I get lucky there’s occasionally a small. That is my size :(

      Clearance racks are more heavily XL than the rest!

      Anchor Blue is slightly better than the rest on this measure.

    • LanLOLa says:

      @TechnoDestructo: I am 5’10” and weigh 160 pounds, yet I have to wear L size shirts, which are very hard to find anymore. It’s worse with pants. I wear waist size 32 but the sizes skip from 30 to 38 very often.

  6. Shappie says:

    I’m ashamed to say I shop at a name brand clothing store, namely Old Navy. I do it because their stuff usually is nicely priced and it fits. Lately I’ve seen mens sizes that I wear, 38-42 waist depending on the style of pants, not on the shelf…ever. I’ve had to resort to ordering online the last year or so.

    Don’t know if thats a trend with mens clothes or if my local store is just terrible at keeping my size in stock.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Shappie: what’s a generic brand store? Goodwill?

      • trujunglist says:

        @jimconsumer:

        Being overweight in general is not healthy. Americans are known for being overweight. We know, we know, it’s not a good thing. Some try to do something about it, others don’t. But that’s their choice, and I’ll be damned if some commie nazi tries to take that choice away from us!

    • lizk says:

      @Shappie: Old Navy took all of their women’s plus selection out of stores about a year ago. The only option you have to buy their plus-sized women’s apparel (which is affordable, comfortable, and fits well, unlike any other plus-sized clothing line I’ve tried) is to buy it online. It’s only a pain when you get something that doesn’t fit–no returns in-store.

      • sponica says:

        @queenlizzie: i mentioned this in an earlier thread, but (at least with the blue jeans) old navy resized the heck out of those. How is it that my size 1 blue jeans from 5 years ago are now the same as a size 6?

  7. redbess says:

    Whatever. I’ll just keep wearing guys clothes ’cause they’re more comfortable (except in more formal things).

  8. LSAX says:

    Ann Taylor’s sizes are seriously inflated. I’m thin, but not 00 thin, which is what I needed after I tried on a rather roomy size 0. I’m generally a 1-2 in other stores. A 16 at Ann Taylor is an 18 or 20 elsewhere, and I’m not well versed in plus sizes, but those are generally not stocked at most other retail chains unless they also carry plus size. 00 is also only available online. Do they hate us skinnies too for taking up so little space and making their stores look empty? I pay the same even though my clothes take less fabric to make. Maybe it’s just not a popular size for the average woman, just like 00, rather than a conspiracy.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @LSAX: I wear a S or XS at Ann Taylor Loft and sometimes am disappointed when things should fit but are too tight in some areas. I think sometimes they think smaller women have no hips.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: The last TEN YEARS have involved silouettes for women without curves. It’s been ages since I could buy a suit skirt that even came CLOSE to fitting because apparently HIPS ARE VERBOTEN.

        My only solution is to shop at stores that cater to latinas, which often carry brands fitted for curvy women.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (popping ~May 29): The Gap has a new pencil skirt I’ve had my eye on…I’m looking for a coupon so I don’t pay full price. It’s fantastic for me…I have hips. I’m proportional and a size 6 but this works!

        • the_wiggle says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (popping ~May 29): yes. sadly, the stick figure is in.

          thanks for the idea on where to shop though :)

        • West Coast Secessionist says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (popping ~May 29): Any suggestions for where to find these stores or what they’re called? My wife would probably be interested.

          • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

            @West Coast Secessionist: @subtlefrog: @grumpygirl: @chiieddy: re: stores catering to Latinas for us ladies with hips:

            I don’t know of any national chains; however, there’s a national magazine called (surprise!) Latina, whose fashion section always specifically covers concerns of women with curves and always highlights curve-fitting and curve-flattering clothes at national chains, which makes it a WHOLE lot easier to find things (when I can pop over to Target or Nordstrom’s or whatever). (Latina also features models in several sizes and body shapes in its fashion section, which is a big help in figuring out what will look “right” on me. And it’s pretty fascinating to see the variety of body shapes and weights that are all “size 10″ or whatever.)

            Two other options … IIRC, J. Lo’s clothing line is carried at some national chains and her pants in particular are cut for women with some junk in the trunk. But the best option is to find a small, locally-owned boutique/store that caters to the local Latina population. They might carry small brands, or imports, or even stuff the owner makes. Obviously this is much easier in cities with substantial Latino populations. :) I’m sure there are online resources, too, but I’ve done well enough locally I haven’t really looked much.

        • subtlefrog says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (popping ~May 29):
          Yes! This! I am a big fan, since I have…um…hips, yes. Every pair of pants I find in a regular store either fits my butt and has a ton of extra fabric sagging around my waist or would fit my waist…if I could just get them up over my butt! Funny thing is that when I bring friends *not* shaped like me, nothing fits them, either, and I have to wonder…

          WHO do these clothes fit???

        • grumpygirl says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (popping ~May 29): Ok Eyebrows, you need to spill before your maternity leave. We girls with a 7 inch sit bone span want to know more about such stores. I’ve never heard of such a concept…

        • chiieddy says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (popping ~May 29): This is a serious question (I’m short and have the same problem), do you know of any national chains of such stores?

      • the_wiggle says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: or breasts.

    • dangergirljones says:

      @LSAX:

      Well I’m a size 14, and I still had to get 16 button up shirts to sit correctly.

      Guess I’d better stock up on men’s shirts.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      @LSAX: Pics?

    • BridgetPentheus says:

      @LSAX: @LSAX: @LSAX:

      I hear you, i hate that the fact that as skinny to normal person I was a size4 or 5 and happy and now thanks to vanity sizing, I’m in the 0-00 range or buying kids clothes. If you’re a 16 go on a diet, I should be charged less if my clothes take up less space

      • serreca says:

        @BridgetPentheus: People like you are the reason the term “skinny bitch” is used so often.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @serreca: Why? BridgetPentheus brings up a very legitimate point, that sizes are out of proportion and it goes both ways – women who were a 12 now find that they’re being bumped up to a 14 size in number only. Their clothes are still the same size, but because the tag says 14, there are fewer size 14 items in the stores. Likewise, some people who were a 2 or a 4 now find themselves in the lower spectrum because the tags say 0 or 00. It’s just as hard to find 0 and 00 sizes as it is to find 14s and 16s.

          • serreca says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: The “if you’re a size 16 then go on a diet” is where the “bitch” part comes in. It’s just rude.

            I could say to you bitching about not finding a 00 or buying kid’s clothes: gain weight!

            Same principle.

            • LSAX says:

              @serreca: But the difference is that someone who wears a 00 nowadays still can have a BMI above 19. We’re not underweight. I’m thin but nobody gets the urge to feed me a hamburger when they see me (plus, I’m probably already eating one anyway).

              • serreca says:

                @LSAX: So what? Like I said, someone overweight can still be healthy, too.

                Gah, I hate these threads.

                • redbess says:

                  @serreca: *pets* I hate them, too, and I see your point. The comment about “go on a diet” was rude and uncalled for. Even when I weighed 98 lbs. at age 18 I still wore a size 8 in pants because I had a big bottom half. Just because you need a larger size doesn’t mean you’re a fat cow who needs to “go on a diet.”

                  • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

                    @redbess: You and me are cast from the same butt-mold. I was actively underweight and still a size six because my HIP BONES were a size six. By the time I was fourteen. With my BMI at the LOW end of the healthy range, I’m in an 8 or a 10. That’s as small as my ass is every going to get. (And I’m sort-of curious, after pregnancy, if my hip bones will now be an 8 so my butt will be a 10 or a 12. But whatever, people in my real life aren’t nearly as judgmental as people on the internets. :P )

            • Ms. Pants says:

              @serreca: Thank you. I wanted to say “If you’re a 00 or have to buy kids’ clothes, eat a friggin sammich, you stickbug.”

      • sponica says:

        @BridgetPentheus: buying clothes in the juniors section is soo much fun….i can’t buy “adult” brand clothing (Liz Claiborne or any other company at Macy’s because the sizes rarely run small enough) so the options are shop with the kiddies at Old Navy or spend a zillion dollars at Ann Taylor. It’s not my fault I have a hummingbird metabolism that will grind to a halt when I’m 40 and I gain all the weight from the past 20 years that I never gained.

      • Porcelina says:

        @Jessica Haas: Depends on your height, now doesn’t it?

    • Snakeophelia says:

      @LSAX: Gotta agree. I’m a generous size 8 and never have a problem with Ann Taylor Loft 8’s fitting me. I wear a 6 in some of their stuff, even.

      Now if they’d only stop making all the sweaters and shirt that are designed for “work” so damn low-cut! Seriously. It’s difficult to find a top there without a plunging neckline…

  9. jimconsumer says:

    70% of American women wear a size 12 or larger? That’s really disturbing. No offense intended to you larger folks, but it’s not healthy.

    I highly doubt Ann Taylor has any problem with fat people. This is purely economic in nature. Size 16 probably doesn’t sell all that well and it’s expensive to ship this stuff to retail stores and have it taking up valuable retail space. Don’t take things so personally.

    • Anonymous says:

      @jimconsumer: For some people, being smaller than a size 12 would be unhealthy. Not everyone has a small frame. According the sizing chart at Anne Taylor online, a size 12 is:

      bust 38 1/2
      waist 31
      hips 41

      That is not actually that big.

      If size 16 is not so popular, I wonder when I go looking for clothes I see the smaller sizes like 6 or 8, and the largest sizes, like 20 on up, but sizes 14 and 16 are hard to find! Hard to believe that they don’t sell!

      I’ll just keep buying clothes in the men’s section, because they are more likely to fit.

    • erytheis says:

      @jimconsumer: A size 12 is not that large for the average woman in the Midwest – I am the short one at 5’9″. When I worked in a shoe store here we got shipments that started at 7 and went to 11 because the small sizes didn’t sell since most of us passed size 5 by age 7. One day we had a customer who was short and from the coast who always went to our stores because they always had 5’s, because that was a common size there. I think they just need to figure out their distribution chain better.

    • xthexlanternx says:

      @jimconsumer:
      I’m a guy so I don’t know anything about girls sizes except that I have an ex who wore a size 12. She was in no way fat or overweight. She just had wide hips. It was awesome because we could share pants :)

    • lizk says:

      @jimconsumer: Offense taken. Size is not a direct reflection of overall health.

      • Jessica Haas says:

        @queenlizzie: Really? So it’s totally healthy and a-ok to be say, 300 lbs?

        • jaya9581 says:

          @Jessica Haas:

          Way to take queenlizzie’s words and twist them around. Read it one more time, a little slower so maybe it will sink in. Her statement and your statement are not the same thing. I am actually a completely healthy young woman (and I’ve had ignorant doctors express surprise at that fact after ordering a litany of tests and having them all come back normal or better than normal)- I happen to have a condition called PCOS that makes me gain weight and makes it extremely difficult to lose. Look it up. My weight/size is not a direct reflection of overall health, to again quote the prior poster.

          I generally find when I shop that I can’t find anything in my size, even in “plus size” stores. It’s just sold out. I personally think that stores such as this eliminating larger sizes do nothing but propagate the “belief” that women must be a certain size. It’s unhealthy for society.

          • Jessica Haas says:

            @jaya9581: You say that you have PCOS like EVERYONE has it. That’s simply not the case. I think it’s a bit generalizing to say that size and weight aren’t a direct reflection of health. Maybe it is for you and queenlizzie, but NOT EVERYONE.

            I’m sorry, but if you don’t have a medical condition that makes you gain weight or whatever, then being overweight isn’t healthy. It’s a scientific fact.

            • serreca says:

              @Jessica Haas: There are plenty of naturally skinny people who aren’t healthy, either, because they eat like crap.

              You should never assume things about someone’s health by how they look or how big they are. I think that’s all she was trying to say. Fat doesn’t automatically equal unhealthy, and skinny doesn’t automatically equal healthy.

            • Anonymous says:

              @Jessica Haas: Actually, losing weight is unhealthier for a person than being moderately fat. There’s science behind that one too, sweet cheeks. The only people who really need to lose weight are people who are apple shaped and have fat building up around their internal organs, such as their liver. All the pear/hourglass shaped ladies with big butts can just relax.

            • Porcelina says:

              @Jessica Haas: Wow, we have a real medical professional here, folks. No one is asking you about scientific facts. No one is asking you on whether or not it is healthy. The question is about why you would stop selling plus size clothing, when over 50% of the customer base buys that size.

              Please take your size-ism elsewhere, kthnx.

              • Jessica Haas says:

                @Porcelina: Ugh, I’m not a size-ist or whatever bullshit that is you’re spouting. I’m actually one of them KTHX.

                But the answer to that question is NOBODY IS BUYING IT. That’s why. It’s not because they don’t want fat people wearing their clothes, it’s because fat people aren’t buying their clothes for one reason or another. Seriously, why can’t people see it for what it is? There is no evidence or anything to suggest that they’re doing it because people are fat. Y’know, maybe we wouldn’t have this problem if people like you and everyone else getting so defensive because I don’t think it’s healthy to be 300lbs w/o a medical contion actually bought the clothes, this wouldn’t have happened, now would it have?

                @serreca: Yes I did, in so many words. The person I was replying to was basically saying that everyone who’s fat has a medical condition, and that is simply not true. I don’t need to be a doctor to know that the reason we’re all so fat is because we all have a medical condition. Which was also acknowledging that there are legitimate reasons for being fat. I’m sorry but lazy isn’t a legitmate reason like so many in this country, to me, which was basically what I was referring to.

                • aliasmisskat says:

                  @Jessica Haas: Actually, you’re wrong. People are buying it. Old Navy goes up to 20 or 22 in store, GAP carries up to a 20 in their basic lines. Maybe people don’t buy it from Ann Taylor, and that’s fine.

                  The person you were replying to was asking you to consider that not all people who are larger than a stick are unhealthy. I do martial arts 3x a week, go to the gym regularly, eat well, etc., and yet, I’m a dreaded 16. I have a ridiculous rack and hips. I don’t feel the need to starve myself. I am not “fat”, I am not unhealthy, and have no philosophical or medical reason to lose weight. One glaring omission I seen in all the hype about “obesity” is that every generation is somewhat larger than the last, both in height and girth, due to better nutrition and access to medical care.

                  Your comments show a complete lack of regard for a group of people you consider “other” and an inability to filter out the bullsh*t you see on TV and in movies. Not everyone has protruding collar and pelvic bones, and washboard abs, nor should they. And I’m fairly certain you are not psychic and therefore cannot tell whether someone you see walking down the street live a healthy lifestyle.

                  In short, eat a f*cking hamburger.

                • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

                  @Jessica Haas: If you pop over to Jezebel, you’ll see stories there that there’s actually massive demand for larger sizes at national chains and at fashion boutiques. They don’t carry them because they don’t want “big” women wearing their clothes. Period. The economics say to carry them, and fashion-forward stores that carry larger sizes make bigger profits. But plenty of stores don’t carry them because they don’t want larger women in their clothes.

        • MMD says:

          @Jessica Haas: Your extreme example misses the point of the comment you’re replying to

        • Skankingmike says:

          @Jessica Haas: Arnold weighed around 260 lbs in his off season.

          385 is the weight of Olympic Gold Medalist Andrei Chemerkin.

          So na 300 pounds might not be bad depends on what you do in life…..

          So wrong!

        • AshleyKeen says:

          @Jessica Haas: Show me a missus size 16 that weighs 300 pounds and I’ll show you a naked chick with some cloth scraps around her feet where her clothes exploded!

          • Skankingmike says:

            @AshleyKeen: HAHA

            I know right? I think a size 16 woman is around (depending on height) 160-180, i mean god I’m only 230 and I think my “woman” size is around 18 or 20

            Its’ just like Eyebrows said these stores are biased towards “larger” woman.

            You know what? screw them my wife shops Marshells, Kohls, Symms and they don’t get her business.

        • synergy says:

          @Jessica Haas: Seriously, you don’t get it. I’m a size 16 and I’m nowhere near 300lbs. Closer to 200lbs, true, but a 300 pounder would probably be in the size 24 realm or something.

          (I’m totally guessing, don’t flame me if you’re a size 24!)

        • foodporncess says:

          @Jessica Haas: You see, I’m just much more disturbed by the fact that most of America doesn’t understand basic logic than the fact that they are over a size 12.

          You’ve illustrated the point perfectly too. Way to go!

    • Heresy Of Truth says:

      @jimconsumer:

      Some of that is the shifting clothing sizes. I wear a pattern size 12, from a sew your own pattern size. I wear anything from a 6 to a 14 depending on what time period the garment is from.

      Fashion retailers are changing the sizing, so a 12 is not the 12 you might think it is.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @jimconsumer: Healthy or not, there’s a significant fallacy in your argument…If you agree to the stipulation that 70% of women wear size 12 or larger, than why would you think that size 16 doesn’t sell all that well? Sizes 0-10 only encompass 30% of the market, and yet all of those sizes sell well enough to keep around?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @jimconsumer: well 12 doesn’t equal fat either. It’s one thing to suggest women are fat…size has always been subjective. Some very fit women wear a size 12 and they aren’t fat. Sometimes it’s bone structure and muscle.

    • the_wiggle says:

      @jimconsumer: can’t diet off your bones – hips, shoulders – need those!

      ditto for your muscles – they’re needed!

    • foodporncess says:

      @jimconsumer: You have absolutely no idea whether a woman who wears above a size 12 is healthy or not, so do not make blanket statements like that.

  10. William Brinkman says:

    You’re very upset. Do I detect a hint of anger behind a possible weight-apologist viewpoint in this piece?

    “Good luck to Ann Taylor, though. I’m sure that this move will work out well for them at a time when, according to the same Crain’s article, 70% of American women wear a size 12 or larger.”

    Your next sentence outlines that competitors have done that, and those competitors have done just fine. So, your jab falls flat.

    Clothing companies sell clothes. If they feel that it’s in the best interests of the brand to drop this, then it’s their responsibility to their bond and shareholders to do so.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @William Brinkman: Annoyance, not anger. I’m fat. I don’t apologize for it. And I like clothes. If a store stops carrying my size, I shrug, go to a different store, or make my own clothes.

      I question how much of this is a cost-cutting measure and now much it’s an image one. Shipping items that don’t sell to stores and then clearancing them is a huge expense, yeah. But that’s not the reason they gave for the change, and I call BS on the reasons given by Ann Taylor’s representatives.

      • Jessica Haas says:

        @Laura Northrup: And I’m calling BS on your reasoning.

        Why is it so bad that a store stops carrying them in the store? Isn’t it worse for them to not carry them at all?

        Do you make clothes? I do and I know just how expensive it can be when you have to buy all this extra yardage of high-endish fabric, especially when people don’t buy it.

        I honestly don’t see the problem with them taking out size 16 if they’re not selling well, and I’m a fatty, too.

        (Copied and pasted from down below since I meant it for up here.)

        • Laura Northrup says:

          @Jessica Haas: Yes, I do make clothes. The extra yardage does add up over the course of a size run, but it’s negligible per garment, especially when bought at wholesale prices.

          Ann Taylor never suited my style so it’s no big loss to me, but I rarely buy anything I haven’t tried on, so businesses that do this lose my business, at least. I just find it fascinating how retail trends and demographic trends are moving away from each other.

          • Jessica Haas says:

            @Laura Northrup: I see your point. But I mean, why be so harsh on them? Especially in this economy. I know for a fact that plus size clothes aren’t cheap (even to produce), and people just simply aren’t buying them. I really think you need to give them a break. As I said before, selling online is a whole hell of a lot better than not offering at all.

            Now if this was say, Forever 21 or Hollister or something like that, then you have a point.

            • crazylady says:

              @Jessica Haas: Ha, I only wish Forever 21 sold clothes to size 16 women. I’m at a size 10 now, and I occasionally shop at Forever 21 only to find out that the medium shirts fit fine…except where my boobs are concerned the fabric looks like it’s about to rip, let alone enough for me to button up…and the large shirts barely make it. I don’t have big boobs, but apparently they cater to women who are flat chested since my boobs won’t fit in their non-super-loose-and-drapey shirts. Anything larger than *their* large would fit my boobs fine… the large shirts look weird near my waist because of all the unnecessary fabric, but sometimes I can deal with it because I like the shirt.

            • Porcelina says:

              @Jessica Haas: Why be so harsh on them? People have the right to have a gripe with a store that makes decisions they don’t like.

              Also, you ever think they aren’t selling because they aren’t being offered correctly? They are barely being offered, and if they are, they usually aren’t the same style, they are more matronly and directed towards older women.

              • Jessica Haas says:

                @Porcelina: Yeah they do but when the author of the post posts in the comments that she doesn’t even like this store anyway, it’s kind of stupid.

                Define offered correctly.
                I’m a plus size and I have tons of not matronly, not directed towards older women, and the same style as the skinny girls clothes, from stores that are like Ann Taylor, but not.

    • morganlh85 says:

      @William Brinkman: Um, actually the Gap and its related companies have been hemorrhaging money all over the place…so that logic doesn’t hold water.

  11. TheFlamingoKing says:

    I call BS on this. Guess what, geniuses? Offering the same items online that used to be available in stores means that you still have to design them, still have to cut the patterns for them, and you still have to make them. Just not as many.

    Shipping costs?
    Loss of money due to clearance of items that don’t sell in particular areas?
    Loss of sales of other products that could sell in the same space in retail?

    So it is a cost cutting measure. The article may do a poor job of describing it by making it seem like the costs are all cut in materials.

    • SabreDC says:

      @TheFlamingoKing: Not to mention that if they make 100 of a specific item (for example, I realize that 100 is very low), it would be far easier and more cost effective to have a single warehouse from which to ship (via online ordering) than to ship two to each state and have consumers trying to locate them.

      I thought that this site was meant to be a service to consumers; a place to keep them informed of what is going on in consumerism. When did it become a place to trash every company that tries to cut costs? This shouldn’t be consumerist.com, it should be anti-corporation.com.

  12. heinzs says:

    I wear a men’s length 36 pants. Very few places carry that size in-store, and it’s been like that for ages.

    I fail to see how this is any different.

    • dohtem says:

      @heinzs: That’s my size and it’s becoming a crapshoot. :( Now I order online from stores that allow for returns at their retail locations.

    • chocobo says:

      @heinzs: I don’t think it’s an issue with unusual sizes, as much as an issue with keeping items of every size in stock and accurately predicting how many of each size are needed.

      I wear a very common, average size and often find it sold out. Instead there’s a pile of 44/30 pants and another pile of 32/38.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @heinzs: every man who needs 36 length dress pants…Express carries an abundance of that size. Mr. Pi is 6’1 and has the best luck there.

      Also, Calvin Klein makes and stocks 36 length pants.

      • Skankingmike says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Wow Mr. Pi is a leggy guy!

        I’m 6’2″ and i wear 32!

        btw Heinz you should obviously cut your legs off because there’s a problem in this country with tall people! :P

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @Skankingmike: Wait, I lied. Sort of. Express does carry a lot of 36s…but I don’t often browse the mens section for obvious reasons, but now remember that Mr. Pi is not a 36. He’s a 34.

  13. Winteridge2 says:

    Whatever happened to stocking and selling what the customer wants?
    Doesn’t fit the bottom line?

    • dohtem says:

      @Winteridge2: As unfair as it may sound, I’m guessing they want to project a certain image for their brand.

      I don’t think fat chicks fit their vision.

      • dohtem says:

        @dohtem: I didn’t mean to sound harsh. It just seems like what Ann Taylor’s pulling here.

        • sickofthis says:

          @dohtem:

          I think that’s exactly right. The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, American Eagle, etc. are all aiming for a market in which fat chicks don’t fit. They’re happy to take that segment’s money through a web site, but they don’t want a bunch of them in the store ruining their image.

    • SabreDC says:

      @Winteridge2: Well, next time I go to McDonald’s, I’ll be sure to ask for onion rings… because that’s what I, the customer, want. Who cares if it is cost effective to make or if there is no demand. I’m the customer, damn it.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Winteridge2: doesn’t fit the waist line.

      I do think it is a cost cutting measure but also that Ann Taylor as a brand doesn’t want to be like a Lane Bryant and I get it…Victoria’s Secret doesn’t stock larger bras and they have good reasons.

  14. dangergirljones says:

    I’ll out myself as someone who shop in the bigger department.

    What sucks is that Ann Taylor was one of the only places that doesn’t think that a size 14 or 16 also has a huge ass or is 6 ft. tall. Their clothing was a good porportion for me.

    And if anyone cares, we all don’t like wearing hideous floral prints and strechy pants. It was nice to have clothing options that actually had style to them.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @dangergirljones: Oh god, I wish that stores thought that a size 14 or 16 woman was actually 6 feet tall. I’m pretty darn close (5’11”) and “regular” pants end well above my ankles. I tend to wear a size 16 or 18, depending on the cut, but I feel like all the pants ever produced are made for incredibly short people. I haven’t had a “long” sleeve shirt that actually made it to my wrists in over 5 years :(

    • AshleyKeen says:

      @dangergirljones:

      AMEN. It’s so annoying to have to wear massive heels with every pair of pants I own or to have my jeans ripped all over the hem the third time I wear them.

  15. CreativeMama2 says:

    Sigh. More fuel to the fire for the fat-phobia folks, I guess.

    Can I just please say that I take life saving meds that add weight, and I struggle to keep it in a size 14-16. And that’s with daily exercise, eating mostly veggies and lean proteins.

    So *please* retailers and fat police…stop blaming us all for not being thin like you. It hurts. And we’re trying.

    • William Brinkman says:

      @CreativeMama2: You’re a very extreme example and it would be ridiculous to state either that your situation is indicative of the whole or that a retailer offering those sizes online is not effective.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @William Brinkman: I was in a size 6 when I was fourteen and weighed NINETY POUNDS. BECAUSE I AM FROM AN ETHNIC GROUP THAT COMES EQUIPPED WITH HIPS. I was actively underweight and a size six because THAT’S HOW BIG MY BONES WERE.

        So perhaps you should realize that women’s bodies come in different shapes, and it’s not all about weight.

    • Jessica Haas says:

      @Laura Northrup: And I’m calling BS on your reasoning.

      Why is it so bad that a store stops carrying them in the store? Isn’t it worse for them to not carry them at all?

      Do you make clothes? I do and I know just how expensive it can be when you have to buy all this extra yardage of high-endish fabric, especially when people don’t buy it.

      I honestly don’t see the problem with them taking out size 16 if they’re not selling well, and I’m a fatty, too.

  16. privateer says:

    Not sure about women’s clothes, but in the past few years, I have become used to only finding XXL men’s sizes online. It makes it much harder to determine if the clothes fit. But when I have asked them, the retailers just don’t seem to care.

    Not all stores are like this; for example, REI’s bricks-and-mortar stores in Seattle are very good about stocking plenty of all sizes, all the way up to 3X and 4X. That attitude makes me FAR more likely to buy at that merchant’s stores. But unfortunately, they are not the norm.

    • cromartie says:

      @privateer: If you’re only finding 2XL shirts online, you’re shopping in the wrong place. I find shirts in those sizes without issue anywhere. But I do the bulk of my shopping in the midwest and south.

      Now pants that fit, on the other hand…specialty store only.

  17. trujunglist says:

    So… I’m very tall and can never find the extra long stuff that I need in order to not look like every thing I wear has been shrunken in the wash.
    That’s just how it is. Welcome to the club!

    • DrGirlfriend says:

      @trujunglist: I’m on the other end. I am short and shop in the petites section when it’s available. Places like the Gap and Old Navy only have petites online, not in stores. Seems like it’s not just the tall and the short who are being driven away from brick and mortar stores anymore.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @DrGirlfriend: Ann Taylor Loft has almost everything in their normal clothes in petite too.

        @trujunglist: if you’re a woman…Express makes pants in short, regular and tall.

        • silversilver says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: Express only has short pants in some styles in-store, the rest are online-only. And Express’s “short” length usually means short enough for people who are 5’4″. If you’re shorter than that, you have to pay for alterations, which is worse than having to buy clothes online.

  18. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    Fat chicks need loving too, but they have to pay.

  19. chocobo says:

    Complete non-story here. They don’t sell many size 16 items in their retail stores, so they moved it to online-only. This is a pure business decision based around maximizing profit.

    Consumerist is acting like they hung that “no fat chicks” sign on their front door and started using a weight scale to enforce it.

    • Imperialist says:

      @chocobo: I agree. Consumerist? More like Sensationalist.

      Another example: American Eagle doesn’t carry size 00 pants in stores, but it’s available online only. Is it a ploy to keep thin people away? Give me a break.

    • Skankingmike says:

      @chocobo: I think you’re missing the point.

      My wife is a size 14/12 and she hardly shopped at Ann Taylor not because she didn’t like the store but because THEY HARDLY IF EVER HAD THOSE SIZES. Imagine what they had for size 16?

      So not stocking properly led them to not wanting to have them in the store.

      Plus they probably wanted a certain clientele shopping there. And unfortunately stupid people think that plus sized woman (whatever the hell that means) are messy and unsuccessful.

      • Imperialist says:

        @Skankingmike:

        “So not stocking properly led them to not wanting to have them in the store.

        Plus they probably wanted a certain clientele shopping there. And unfortunately stupid people think that plus sized woman (whatever the hell that means) are messy and unsuccessful.”

        ——

        Who ever said that?

        People need to stop taking things so personally. Ann Taylor is a retailer that’s interested making money, bottom line, so they stock in stores whatever there is a high demand for.

  20. yevarechecha says:

    There has to be a rule somewhere that states, “The store will have all sizes except the one you need.”

    I’m a size 4. Sometimes a 2, sometimes a 6P, depending on the store, the brand, and whether there’s a petites department. I’m 5’4″ and underweight. It makes clothes shopping tricky. Tops are all right: usually there’s an S to be found. Bottoms are an entirely different story. I have no trouble finding size 28 pants at Old Navy, but a 4? Forget about it. I went to the store to get hosiery the other day and they had nothing in size A that wasn’t control top. It was all designed for people at least 40 pounds heavier.

    So other people have the exact opposite experience. Great! Just more evidence that the store will have every size but yours.

    • Jessica Haas says:

      @yevarechecha: It bothers me that we never hear about stuff like this when it comes to the thin, yet everyone bitches and moans when it comes to the overweight.

      Sure you could make the argument that they’re not taking off small sizes and all that, but what about all the fat and obese people that look down on people that are naturally skinny, or call them anorexic.

    • Blufyor says:

      @yevarechecha: Ditto. I’m around the same height (though I don’t wear petite-length), my weight hasn’t changed significantly, and I still have various pairs of old pants from the last decade or so to compare sizes with.

      Size 6 used to fit me across the board for traditional Lee, Rider, Wrangler, etc. pants and I couldn’t even zipper up a pair of 4’s or 5’s, but the size 6’s and even some 4’s now fit like a size 8 from a decade ago would have.

      Anything with a low-cut or “modern waist”/”mid-rise”/below-the-waist cut flat-out doesn’t fit properly in the waist, so juniors styles haven’t worked for me in ages. And if you don’t shop in the juniors section, many styles sold both in-store and online in department stores (like JC Penney’s and Kohls) only go down to a 6 or even an 8. At this point, I actually have more luck finding mens’ straight and boot-cut jeans in a 28×30 or 28×32 in those same stores.

  21. ohayou_kun says:

    Lol, no idead size 16 existed. You learn new things everyday, I just never went to that side of the table. Still it’s their business they can do whatever the hell they want. It’s funny some people who are lets just say above what is considered healthy whine and moan about how everything is too small. THAT IS A LIE! Everything is now humungous cause retailers have to make up for the big poeple, and you have to go to speciatly petite stores when you’re not really petite.

  22. bohemian says:

    The lack of larger sizes is just more of the cutting back on product ranges stores have been doing. There is also no difference in sizes and fit. It seems like everything is made for people with flat figures. Size 0 or size 14, doesn’t matter. I can’t find anything in my size range that both fits in the waist and in the bust and hips. It either looks like a grain sack or is too tight in the bust or hips. I am assuming stores can sell more clothes by making them sans fitting and carrying an adjusted line for the people who need more fitting simply isn’t profitable.
    I have started buying many of my clothes online from a few retailers that happen to carry clothes that fit.

  23. z4ce says:

    *sigh* whats with the snarky consumerist comments from the consumerist on this article?

    I am tall. So I need long size 36″ in-seam jeans and khakis. Most stores don’t stock this. However, you can go to the store and have a look an then buy them online. It’s not like they hate tall people and want to keep them out of the store, it’s just a specialty item because most people aren’t as tall.

  24. CumaeanSibyl says:

    You know, even people who are losing weight through diet and exercise sometimes have to buy in-between clothes on their way down… and if you think it’s hard to figure out women’s sizes, try doing it when you’re at a size you haven’t seen in years and aren’t sure what number goes with it anyway.

    So, you know, even the morally pure might need fat clothes. If you insist on seeing it as a sin/virtue equation.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I call BS too. I work in fashion (I’m a tech designer; my job is to make clothing fit) and although it technically costs more money to produce the larger sizes (because it takes more materials), you don’t have to do something particularly special to get to a size 16. We use a system called grading, where we work with a size Medium to develop a style (some companies use a Small for fitting), and then the measurements of that size Medium are increased/decreased proportionally to create each size.

    Also, the pattern for each part that makes up a piece of clothing has be to placed specifically across a certain width of yardage. Although the consumption might go up somewhat between a 14 & a 16, as far as I know, the different between the two truly isn’t much.

    As for not finding your size in the stores…Merchants or Buyers (depending on if they’re internal or external) decide how much of each size to buy. They make those decisions based on how much in each size typically sells. If you can’t find your size, it’s because the Buyer/Merchant didn’t book enough units in that size. For the more popular sizes, that’s a frequent issue. They want to book *just enough* for maximum selling, but minimum mark-downs of the units that don’t sell.

    A lot of companies also have replenishment issues. Depending on where their warehouse/DC (distribution center) is, getting in fresh units can take 10 days or more. You might go back in a few days to check out a shirt you liked & see if they got it in your size, but I doubt most people remember to come back after more than a week.

  26. crutnacker says:

    As a fat guy who isn’t all THAT fat, I’ve wondered why so many stores seem to ignore the fact that there are a whole hell of a lot of us when putting sizes on the shelf. Target used to sell my size and I have some very nice casual shorts I got there a few years ago that I really liked. First the changed the cut so the shorts they sold were smaller, now they rarely have my size.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Just because a size 0 or 00 is cut roomy at a store does not mean that so is their size 16. It makes perfect sense from a marketing standpoint to make small sizes roomy (the self-esteem boost from being at a “smaller” size makes you want to own the clothing) and yet cut larger sizes small (the hit to my self-esteem when i can’t fit in the clothing ensures that i WONT come back to the store.) Why would a store that sells women’s clothing want to alienate their bigger customers and lose their business? because clothing stores are all about image. Have you ever seen a “fat” “ugly” woman working at an Abercrombie & Fitch? I wear a size 12 at many stores, and yet have had a sales associate come up to me at an “image” store and tell me that they likely did not sell anything that would fit me. (I didn’t bother mentioning that I was shopping for a gift for a skinnier friend, i just left.) These stores discourage bigger girls from going into them (even though they’ll happily take their $ over the internet) because they’ll get more business from skinny girls by presenting a more “polished” clientele. these companies want people to feel like they are elite, shiny, skinny, VIPs who only shop at stores for beautiful people. since when was the modern fashion landscape EVER equally supportive of all body types?

  28. Anonymous says:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/homestyle/04/29/plus.size.teens/

    “You’re looking at an under $2 billion business that could easily grow to a $4 billion, $5 billion business within a relatively short period of time, like within a year or two,” said Marshal Cohen, an analyst for the NPD Group, which studies the clothing market.

    “Not only are the [fashion companies] leaving money on the table, they’re not even looking at the table. It is a huge opportunity.”

    Historically, there has been a stigma attached to plus-size clothing, experts said. Many designers don’t produce beyond a size 10, even though the average women is a size 14.

    “These brands don’t want the consumer to aspire to be a plus-size,” Cohen said, “they want them to aspire to be that mini-consumer, that slim model that walks down the runway, that’s a size 0.”

  29. tokenfemale says:

    This is INSANE.

    16 is not “fat.” They’re not talking about size 20. They’re talking 16. In fact, I believe a 1x (basic initial large size for women) is 18-20. XL is 16. Prices on clothes generally (understandably) go up when you hit 1x, not at size 16.

    I am 5’10, and am not overweight. I wear a 16 tall in pants, 14 in dresses, and 12 in shirts. I have long legs, a short torso, and a high waist. It’s my height, wtf can I do about it? I can fit into a 14 pant, but they’re not long enough.

    Maybe not a story for some of you, but for those of us who go crazy trying to find clothes that fit (all of my pants currently come from either the Gap or Lane Bryant..which is a store for overweight women, but ironically, I bought a suit last week at Ann Taylor), it’s upsetting, insulting, and means that there is yet another store that I can no longer shop in.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Women’s clothing sizing is pretty messed up. Men’s clothing is sized by both length and circumference, neck size for dress shirts, etc. Even though mens sizes are actual inch measurements, most men would not buy a suit without trying it on first.
    women usually have to go by a single number, that varies wildly from store to store, and we are the ones whose wardrobe is expected to be more fitted, varied, and visually appealing. Bigger sizes are often the only option for women who are particularly curvy or, as some people have unfortunately put it, “out of proportion”. i have hips and a big chest but a relatively small waist. most people would describe that as “shapely” and not out of proportion. To get clothes to fit me, I often have to buy a bigger size and then get the clothes taken in where they are too big. Ann Taylor sells business and “country club” clothes, and it is a pain in the BUTT to buy a suit jacket, a pencil skirt, a whole suit, basically ANYTHING Ann Taylor would sell without trying it on first.

  31. Keter says:

    I love Ann Taylor clothes, but excuse me, it was hard enough to find an average person’s size 14 in there, let alone a 16. (I wear either, depending on how the garments are cut. I’m not fat, I just have a big bust and broad shoulders.) If they want to cater only to the anorexic, fine. I’ll just buy what they don’t sell at Ross for a lot less.

    • Jessica Haas says:

      @Keter: That is a ridiculous statement that they’re only catering to the anorexic. Just because someone is skinny does not make them anorexic.

  32. PLATTWORX says:

    Um, Banana Republic only stocks xtra small on THEIR web site.. does that mean they don’t want small skinny people in their stores?

    Perhaps one could check to see how many clothing retailers stock “uncommon” sizes (large and small) just on their web sites before calling this “BS”.

  33. andsowouldi says:

    I just like how you refer to size 16 women as “wide load” while at the same time criticizing the decision to no longer carry the size in the store.

  34. morganlh85 says:

    Here’s an issue I frequently encounter. I go to a place like Ann Taylor that carries semi-plus size clothing. The size 16 is a little too small, so I’m SOL. So I don’t bother shopping there anymore. I just go to Lane Bryant and the maybe 2 other stores that actually carry plus sizes.

    Did it ever occur to these stores that ADDING more sizes would attract more plus size customers to their stores and raise their revenue? Having more choices would enable me to have more flexibility as far as getting the correct fit, and lead me to become a loyal customer!

  35. icantreplyright says:

    Good. We need more of this. I was in Kohls today. Most of their pants start at size 32 now in Chicago. WTF? America is too fat. Fat people SHOULD have to work for their being fat. I am healthy and have to pay for it.

    • Porcelina says:

      @icantreplyright: Just because someone is a 16 does NOT mean they are fat. My mother is slim, but is VERY tall, so she wears that size. Also, just because you are large, does not mean you are unhealthy.

      Cover up, your ignorance is showing.

  36. armydrummer says:

    Costs are kept down by keeping a central stock that can ship anywhere, instead of having an entire stock of size 16 at EVERY store and online.

    When I worked retail, VERY FEW WOMEN EVER bought size 16. We would ALWAYS have them on sale. Keeping it online allows for lower costs in moving product, and keeping the profit up because they won’t need to put the items on sale.

  37. sam1am says:

    I am 6’6″ and skinny. Tall sizes at Banana Republic, J. Crew, Gap, etc. etc. are only available online. I assume this has less to do with the cost to produce and more with the cost associated with keeping all their stores stocked when there market is small and spread out.

    It sucks, yea, I can’t ever try something on before buying it. But if you don’t like it, get short or get skinny. :(

  38. jfischer says:

    I have found that the more one pays for any article of woman’s clothing, the smaller the size shown on the tag.

    So, an Ann Taylor or Sacs dress may fit at a 4, but the
    same woman will take home a size 2 if she buys an Ungaro dress.

    So, you get what you pay for. :)

  39. TemporaryAphasia says:

    I wouldn’t have as much problem with this -if- the stores stocked a few basic “shells” in the larger sizes that fit like the real garments – even if they’re not the same colour/material/whatever, I don’t like to purchase something if I can’t try it on or easily return it.

    But with online ordering, you have no idea whether a particular size from a clothing line will be too tight in the hips or too loose in the waist or whatever. I may buy something that I think will fit me without trying it on because it can go back easily (see: the three tops and a skirt I bought today without trying on because the store was crowded and hot and I didn’t feel like waiting through a 20-person line for the dressing rooms), but with online ordering, you can’t really do that.

  40. nidolke says:

    “70% of American women wear a size 12 or larger” – Damn.

    Apparently Ann Taylor wants to cater to the other 30%. Every brand has their niche.

  41. Anonymous says:

    As someone who has shopped at Banana Republic and Ann Taylor for years in sizes 14 – 18, I can tell you the following:

    1. Most AT stores I went to did not carry 16 in the stores, only a few of the bigger ones did. 18 has always been online only. I once spoke to a manager and she said she wished they’d ship her more size 16s, they flew out the door when she got them. But they did generally carry XL in stores.

    2. BR never carried size 16 in stores, you had to order online – but they did carry size XL in stores.

    So for me hearing this news about AT changes nothing – I have to order most of my fitted clothes online. As it turns out, I get better deals often anyway with promo codes, so there are pluses and minuses.

    I’ve never understood why stores carried 00 and XXS sizes, but one had to order size 16 and 18s online. They are just on two sides of the continuum.

  42. JulesNoctambule says:

    For everyone who thinks that being at a certain weight makes you automatically enormous and unhealthy, here’s a photo chart of people with different builds at various heights and weights:

    [cockeyed.com]

    Give it a look — you might learn something new.

  43. Beth Coccaro says:

    J. Jill pulls this crap, too – only plus sizes online. So when a plus size shopper wants to take advantage of an in-store event, they can only buy accessories. If one wants to try something on BEFORE buying it, they cannot. And it is not like the sizes are consistently the same – several different style garments in the same size vary greatly in dimensions because of different manfacturers, so often I have to order both sizes. Until recently one was forced to pay for shipping just to try something on. Now a kiosk order offers free shipping, but one still hads to trek into the store versus the convenience of purchasing from home. It is a form of discrimination when I have to pay shipping to try on my clothing and another person does not.

  44. quirkyrachel says:

    It’s funny because people like Stacy and Clinton are always saying that size doesn’t matter. Fit does. That’s why I have different sizes in my closet. But then if you’re in an Ann Taylor store and the 14 works ok, but the 16 might fit just a tad better, you’re a)screwed, and b)have a slightly dirty feeling for needing a size they don’t carry.
    On a logistical note, do they say if they’ll accept clothes purchased online to be returned at the store? Or will the well-trained Ann Taylor people give the fat girls dirty looks?

  45. o-line says:

    Regardless of what size you wear and your reason for needing that size, even fat people need clothes. It is unfortunate that Ann Taylor is making women shop elsewhere for a product that they normally carry.

    Ann Taylor is also notorious for their fun house mirrors in dressing rooms that make women look thinner. I’m sure that helps them to sell more clothes, but I know I have returned items to the store once I got them home and looked in a real mirror.

  46. quirkyrachel says:

    Oh, I should also point out that I currently have a coupon from Ann Taylor. But guess what? It’s not usable online!

  47. Boulderite says:

    I am little bit surprised that they are doing this, but not much.
    When I was shopping for a dress for a wedding last year I tried to find one at Ann Taylor, but I couldn’t find any size 16 dresses at all. I have a large chest and typical will buy a 16 and then have the rest of the dress tailored to fit properly.
    I asked if they had the dress in a 16 and I was told that they rarely if ever get size 16.
    I found a cute dress at Eddie Bauer and have been shopping there ever since for basics. (Check out their jeans, they fit great and are cute!)

    The funny thing is, when my Mom worked in the ladies clothing department at a higher end department store, they sold out of the 12, 14 and 16’s first and always had the 2,4 and 6’s left over on clearance.

  48. silversilver says:

    I have no sympathy for these women. I’m short (actually only 2 inches below the average height for American women, but apparently a stump by clothing industry standards) and I have to buy all of my pants online or at stores for teenagers. Am I crying out that Banana Republic, Old Navy, every single department store (the “petite” section is usually only old lady clothes), and Target are discriminating against “shorties.” No. It’s a business fact that they don’t carry them if they don’t sell really well. It sucks, but it’s not discrimination, sorry.

  49. synergy says:

    Wow. There’s a lot of unhappy people in the clothing dept, going by the comments on here. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

    What I wish is for all clothing to show a size based on measurements so I don’t have to bring a measuring tape with me when I need pants. Why can’t women’s clothing also be 36, 38, 40 etc like men’s pants?? I know exactly my circumference and my inseam and that’s what’s on the size tags for men.

    If it wasn’t for my hips and very short legs I’d be shopping over on the men’s side all the time. At least there it only takes 2 minutes to determine that there’s nothing in your size!!!

  50. olivia2.0 says:

    Actually you guys, J. Crew only recently (maybe a year or two ago) ADDED a size 16, that you can always find on the website, and sometimes find in stores. Banana Republic ALSO has 16 in stores and online and Gap has up to like 22 or something. It’s really not fair to say these retailers don’t have 16 when they do!

  51. magnoliasouth says:

    So I can add Ann Taylor to the bigotry list?

    I’m below a size 16, but they just lost me as a customer. I’ll NEVER shop in a store that discriminates against ANYONE. It doesn’t matter if it’s size, race, whatever.

    KMA Ann!

  52. personnext says:

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    f th ft ppl shppd t nn Tylr lt, thy wld kp th tms n nvntry.

    ntl thn, thy cn srv th fw ft cstmrs thy hv nln nd sv csts n nvntry cntrl nd stckng.

    Yt nthr xmpl f th Cnsmrst tkng thngs lttl t fr.

    • mon0zuki says:

      @personnext: I agree with personnext to some extent here – stocking sizes is very expensive for a clothing store. Yes, it DOES suck that they’re locking out larger women, but there IS reason behind it, not just a desire to lock out “fat chicks.”

    • Keter says:

      @personnext: I’m sorry, but personnext seems to be the idiot here, not the author of the story. The average woman is a size 14. Add something like a large bust or overall large bone structure, and it’s easy for a woman to need a size 16 and still be of a healthy weight and good looking form. Remember that the clothes must fit the largest proportion on the wearer, even if every other proportion is smaller. For example, at age 19, I measured an unlikely 38-17-36. I weighed 115 lbs and had 3% body fat (yes, that’s actually substantially underweight!) but I wore a size 14-16 because of my build — which guys described as “stacked,” not “fat.” At 48, I’m 20 lbs. heavier, but wear exactly the same size. I’m still a normal weight and have a good figure, but in measurements, I’m big. Go figure.

      • SabreDC says:

        @Keter: It doesn’t matter what size the average woman is. It matters what size the average customer is. Businesses are in business to make money. If they wanted to make sure everyone was clothed, they’d give away clothes to whomever needed them.