Old Navy, Old Schmavy

Old Navy As many of you may have heard, Old Navy recently decided to stop carrying its Women’s Plus line in stores, instead opting to make it only available online. (Scroll down the link page for story.)

So, what to make of this?

Well, the first thing I thought was, “Ugh. That’s annoying.”

What I didn’t think, however, was that this was some defeat for the underdogs in the “War Against Fat”, or whatever certain members of Fat Acceptence movement are calling it.

In fact, I really don’t think this has anything to do with fat acceptance or fat discrimination or sizism as all.

I think it’s about, like all else in the world, money.

As my father always used to tell me, “Follow the money trail.”I doubt Old Navy would decide to drop a line of clothing from its stores just because they want to discriminate against fat women. What I’m guessing is that the line wasn’t profiting them the way they had hoped and it’s probably costing the company more money to keep the clothing in stores than it’s worth. I mean, I can’t imagine any other reason Old Navy would make a move like this. Still, they certainly must be making some money off the items, otherwise they wouldn’t continue producing the clothing, but probably only just enough to keep the line running online.

It makes sense in a lot of ways. Just from being fat and observing how I and others like myself shop for clothing, it seems that the online world is much more accessible for shopping than real life. Though it’s a pain to buy something not knowing how it’s going to fit or what it’s going to look like, online shopping for plus-size clothing is definitely booming. I see Old Navy’s move as being up-and-coming towards the future of retail, not a step backward for heavy women. In fact, a few weeks before news broke, I did actually buy a summer top off of Old Navy’s website and nothing went awry:

old-navy-2.jpg

(Like my new shirt?)

And finally, to be honest, I agree with Truly Curvaceous in her assessment (which I couldn’t link because I can’t find the page) that Old Navy clothing, while inexpensive, just isn’t that well-made. It’s alright, I mean, but it’s not like we’re losing out on very much. Furthermore, as Elegant Plus Magazine points out, there were numerous problems with the line and its marketing to begin with. Thus, I don’t see the loss of real-life assessibility being any sort of tragedy. Target, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and Kohl’s still carry plus-sizes at discount prices in stores, not to mention New York & Company, which, while slightly more expensive than these stores, offers really fashionable styles and products that will last you a long while.

So please, don’t cry over spilled fabric.

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~ by Rob Anne on May 11, 2007.

14 Responses to “Old Navy, Old Schmavy”

  1. I’ve heard about Old Navy axing Plus size clothes in their stores. I called my neighborhood stores and they still supply plus sizes. But I won’t be surprised if they decide to stop tomorrow. I think that it really sucks that’s another company just leaving us out to dry. We are really treated like step-childeren…. but whatever…….. 😦

    Truly Curvaceous

  2. Hey, I just recently blogged about this too, and apparently the spokeswoman for GAP inc. claimed that they wanted to make plus-sized marketing more efficient and also claims that they can showcase more of the ‘plus’ line by doing it online. Yeah, my ass… anyway you can read my post if you want, it doesn’t really say anything more than what you’ve touched upon already:

    http://pandoraatl.wordpress.com/2007/05/13/old-navy-discriminates-against-fat-people/

    PS – that picture of Scarlett was disturbing, boobs should not be able to do that, ever.

  3. Although this aggravates me, it doesn’t surprise me. A lot of plus size girls I know never even knew Old Navy had a plus size line, and so few stores carried it in the first place, it was always a gamble. Usually a better bet just to order online for me. The latest promotional email I got from them suggests they’ll be extending their plus sizes up to size 30, so maybe the online-only thing was the trade-off for that.

    It’s certainly not ideal. I would love to be able to walk into any given store and be able to try things on in my size, but so long as the product is available I can’t poo-poo it. Even if we make up a considerable percentage of the population, plus sizes are still considered a “niche” market, so anybody catering to it won’t be hearing complaints from me.

  4. To be clear, Old Navy never had their Plus Size line in all their stores – only select stores had it. I live in a Los Angeles suburb and the only store relatively near me (about 15 miles away) that carried the line predominantely catered to a black clientele in Culver City. I noticed that the next nearest Old Navy store that carried Plus Size clothes was in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. My insight is that basically Old Navy did market research into what areas were more likely to have Plus Sized customers – and apparentely my largely White/Caucasian area didn’t. To put things into perspective, I think this size stuff is probably market researched pretty heavily because when i shop at an Old Navy in the San Fernando Valley I have no problem finding size 42 men’s shorts (I prefer the men’s cargo shorts over any of the women’s styles), but pretty much any time I have travelled to the L.A. store near the Beverly Center (a very trendy “hollywood” type area), I could barely find shorts larger than a 36. If you know L.A. at all, if you’re in Bev Hills or West Hollywood people are pretty damn skinny because those areas are very image conscious. So these decisions are obviously based on profitability – whether they are stocking a regular size or a plus size. Personally I think it’s great they are expanding their Plus Size range online. I wear regular size tops (Larges or X Larges) but need Plus Size (20 or 22) for pants so I have been really grateful that Old Navy has even had a Plus Size line. I wish the Gap and Banana Republic (both part of the same company) would get on this bandwagon so I would have a larger selection of styles and obviously higher standards of quality. Although I still enjoy window shopping in stores and being able to try stuff on, I find ordering online really easy with Old Navy, and actually a time saver from having to go to the store to shop. What I typically do is order all my plus size stuff online from them and whatever doesn’t fit right or doesn’t look good, I just return directly to the Old Navy store. They have it set up so that you can ship it back for free, but I actually prefer to go to the store versus having to deal with shipping and going to the post office. Whether their clothes are available in store on online, Old Navy still has me as a customer. Their clothes are priced right, nicely styled, and those Plus Sized jeans fit me great! 🙂

  5. The only problem I see, beyond the annoyance of not being able to go into a store to see the clothes, is that you have to pay for shipping. If Old Navy isn’t going to offer Plus clothes in the stores, they should pay for the to AND the return shipping if the clothes don’t fit. You are allowed to return the clothes to the store, but you can’t exchange them there for other clothes. Your only recourse is to exchange for the exact same item in a different size through the mail. What happens if it’s too big and the material isn’t right for you(but you couldn’t tell this online because you can’t actually SEE and FEEL the item)? Guess what!?!? You have to pay shipping for the new item AND the old item if you return the old item by mail.

    OK. I get it. Old Navy wasn’t making a profit selling the clothes in the stores, but to be charged more (aka shipping and return shipping) IS discrimination. They should at least waive the shipping for plus clothes or allow for free returns if you’re exchanging, no matter what you’re exchanging for.

  6. this is so nice and i love old navy i alaways go shop there and i love there clothes because it dosent get small to fast.

  7. his shirt because i love old navy

  8. nice, it wouldn’t fit me though, i’m only 10 lol

  9. I wouldn’t be surprised if one reason they moved the plus-size line to online-only was for image reasons. If you see only skinny women walking into a store, more people will want to go there than if you see lots of large women entering. By moving everything online, it ensures that the larger women are kept hidden in home, rather than out shopping. I could be looking too much into this, but that was my initial reaction.

  10. If you’re a Canadian like myself, that decision doesn’t help with 97% of my wardrobe is completely Old Navy. Canadians cannot order online. This just pisses me off.

  11. I think it’s definitely for the whole money thang, why else? I don’t go shopping (that’s what birthdays are for :P) so I don’t know but is it possible that they stopped it because they didn’t wanna show plus-sized stuff or make ads for it or maybe people who shop for plus-sized stuff get embarassed or sumthin? I really don’t know I’m sorry…What I think they should start dealing with now are some plus-sized manekins, unless they already have them in America, none here. They continue to be just as skinny, big-breasted and big-butted as women in the mass media.
    Hey, Ames, to which Scarlett woman were you referring? Did I miss something?

  12. Dresses…Shirts…Fine. I’ll order them online if I have to. Pants, however, I have an issue with. Like I’m sure is the case with many of you, I have to try on several pairs of pants to find a pair that I’m happy with. That just isn’t feasible online.

  13. very nice long v-neck on that shirt! online plu-size clothing, at least I can find clothes. I don’t think there is enough clothing lines that cater to plus-size. And old navy I don’t think screams fashion, they do however scream bottom line. I guess the plus-size clothing they were selling in store had no bottom line. I just find shopping for my clothes online easier.

  14. lose some weight fatasses!

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