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March 11, 2008

I found out today that the last Torrid in my area is closing. This makes me a sad panda.

I know everyone isn’t a huge fan of Torrid. We’ve certainly had our differences. Their desire to put tinkerbell on far too many clothing items, their carefully manufactured hipness, and their oddly sized tights got on my nerves. But they were also the one place I could count on to be staffed by fat women who got that I wasn’t always looking to ‘slenderize’ my body.

Most of their staff were my fashion heroes – not always for their clothing choices – for the way they didn’t follow the rules that all fat girls have been told to follow. If it wasn’t for Torrid, I might still be forcing myself into carefully fitted jackets that made me feel confined and squirmy because I’d always been told I needed to pretend to have a waist. And I’d still have a wardrobe stocked with baggy pants because everyone else always said it was better for my legs to be lost in fabric than to have pants that created a belly roll. Being a fat girl who loves leg-hugging jeans and stretchy tops was made possible by finally having a place where I didn’t feel like most of the clothes contained 5 extra yards of fabric.

Now all I have left in my area (my area including the city an hour’s drive from here) are a few Lane Bryants. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found some great stuff at LB. Their right fit jeans (Yellow 5!) have been the most consistent in terms of fit and I can usually manage to find a cute top when I go. But I don’t always like the fit of their clothes and I find a lot of their stuff geared towards non-me demographics.

Really, it’s all about having choices. Having two stores devoted entirely to plus size clothes may not sound like much and certainly there are other places nearby where I might be able to find clothes, but it’s more than just the clothes. These are places where we can briefly experience a sense of community and normalcy (which is so funny considering all we hear about fat people taking over.) For a lot of women these stores may be the first time they tell their size to another person or it may be the one place where they won’t be relegated to a small section in the back of the store.

It may sound silly and believe me, as someone who is not actually that into fashion I am slightly amazed that I would feel this way, but these stores are very often havens of self-celebration in a sea of judgement. The first time I came out of a dressing room and employees ooh’d and ahh’d and told me I looked ‘hawt’ (and not that the clothes were really slimming or did a good job of hiding my belly) and I honestly believed them because I thought they were hot and I saw myself reflected in their bare arms and their round bellies….wow it was just a fantastic experience. And now I’ll have less opportunity to experience it.

I’m really wary of ordering online. Both because I have a body shape that is hard to shop for (shortish, long-waisted, apple) and because I’m bad about sending things back that don’t work, but I think I’ll have to start. Especially since I’m not a fan of the v-neck with the fake cami underneath it. :p

  1. March 12, 2008 8:52 am

    UGh that sucks. The Torrid in my home town has this AMAZING guy who works there. (I mean the women there are great too.) But I can’t help but love having a totally hot guy to flirt with and help me find clothes. He has amazing taste.

    (Not that I can wear anything that covers my bottom at torrid. I also find that their clothes aren’t very long wearing. Though I do have this a-mazing coat…)

    Anyway. I”M SO SORRY!!!!!!

  2. thoughtracer permalink
    March 12, 2008 10:37 am

    I like Torrid, even though I do not appreciate the skulls and rhinestone stuff they seem to enjoy plastering on everything these days. I have been exceedingly disappointed with LB over and over again. Why? Because I wear a different size pants every fucking time I go in there. Get it together people. You are one store. You carry basically one brand of pants that I buy. I have not gained or lost any more than 5 pounds in years. Therefore, I wear the same size pants. Figure out the pants. Make it happen.

  3. Karen permalink
    March 12, 2008 10:53 am

    thoughtracer, Lane Bryant isn’t the one with the problem. See, I’m way, way, way to thin to get in the door there and I have the same problem everywhere. I don’t know which direction your sizes are going, but, in the last 10 years I have gained 20 lbs and LOST two pant sizes. Seriously, I have things from high school that have a larger number on the tag than the things I wear now. Size 0 is now larger than the old size 2. Really and truly.

  4. pennylane permalink
    March 16, 2008 2:38 pm

    It is remarkable to me that with the OMG obesity epidemic it is so damn hard to find clothes in my size. I’ve never shopped at a Torrid and I’ll admit that I usually shop online to avoid 1) people 2) malls 3) mirrors but I know how hard it is to lose one of the few options available. We have a Torrid in the mall here that always seems to be bustling; it surprises me they are closing stores. (I always peek in as I’m rushing to the Apple Store, Body Shop, and New Balance stores). I should stop in and buy something just to support a pro-fat retailer.

  5. sara a. permalink
    March 19, 2008 2:47 pm

    I’m so sorry! I have been fairly fortunate in always being about an hour from a Torrid wherever I’ve moved.

    I have the biggest issue with Lane Bryant’s color-number jeans. I went in there one day in January convinced that I would find SOMETHING that fit. I tried on just about every color and number and nothing fit. Not Blue, not Red, and not Yellow. What would fit in the stomach wouldn’t fit at the thigh, what would fit at the thigh wouldn’t fit at the stomach. And what would fit the bum wouldn’t fit anything else. I was so frustrated I didn’t know what to do.

  6. funnie permalink
    March 30, 2008 10:48 am

    Hey – you maybe keep up with this blog already, but I ran across this post, thought it was interesting, and thought you might too:

  7. squid permalink
    May 8, 2008 11:30 pm

    I never liked Torrid because they didn’t sell clothing for anyone taller than 5’6″.

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