Allison: Thanks for joining me. So, BodEquality, huh?
Old Navy: Yes, isn't it great? We're so excited, we're literally sucking our own dicks over here.
ON: Well, no, not literally - it's just a figure of speech - but suffice it to say, we're so excited!
A: So, what inspired this new era at Old Navy?
ON: We were told that 70% of American women wear a size 14 or larger, and while that seems to be a lot of fatties out there, we have never seen them. At Old Navy, we don't notice size, or color, or gender. But the research told us that this was money we could be making. So we decided that everything we'll make, we'll just make bigger.
A: Ok, so, yes - there are a lot of women in the 14 and up category. So when you say you'll make things bigger... are you just scaling up the straight size design in width and length?
ON: Yes! Isn't it amazing?
A: Well, yes. And no.
A: No. See, one of the concepts in plus size clothing is that it is constructed on an X, Y, Z axis.
A: OK - so with traditional straight sizes, you basically measure how long a garment is from top to bottom and side to side. But with plus sizes, you also take into consideration back to front, or as the kids might say, thiccness.
ON: Why would that matter?
A: Well, that's a great question - so, if someone with a large chest or midsection is wearing a dress that is 36 inches long, and someone with a smaller chest is wearing a dress that is 36 inches long, well - on that first wearer, some of the length is going to get distributed up top, so the hemline will hit differently. If course, the same thing is true with two women wearing the same size if one has longer legs or a longer torso. And by the way, I'm 5'4", so it's not like I'm an Amazonian woman.
ON: You know, that might explain why the dresses end up looking so short on our plus sized models.
A: Think so?
ON: OK, we kind of see what you're saying here. But what about the shirts? And the jeans? Aren't they great?
A: Your pants have always been on point - but to be honest, I can find pants literally anywhere. I can buy pants at Walmart. I need some wear to work pieces. Your blouses are hit or miss - the ones that are a little more business than casual tend to be really short. Again - proportion. And... can we talk about fabric?
A: What's with all the rayon?
ON: It's a sustainable fabric that looks good and wears well. What's wrong with rayon?
A: It looks great until you wash it for the first time. It doesn't breathe, and it's not that green - it takes a ton of water and chemicals to get the wood fibers pliable enough, so the sustainable is bullshit. And honestly your clothes are not especially sustainable anyway - they're fast fashion.
ON: But, but... now we serve our plus size shoppers more aggressively! Equality!
A: Maybe? I don't know - I haven't been to a store to see if you're carrying the plus sizes, so that's nice. What I am noticing is that if there's something that works well for me, it's almost inevitably sold out, or isn't offered in my size. So either you're not really making enough for the client base, or you're fudging the BodEquality a little, or I'm looking at older stock. I don't know.
ON: You're just not going to ever be happy.
A: Maybe not - but I will say - for years you made fabulous knit swing dresses and I owned them faithfully - bring those back in some zazzy colors, hit me up with some fun leggings, and I'm good to go. Also, I do want to thank you for the plus size loungy pajama-y stuff. Although again - same stuff available at Walmart.
ON: Hey, will you be interviewing The Gap?
A: Oh, honey, no. They lost me decades ago when things started getting minimalist and edgy. Plus, I can't even fit into their men's stuff.
ON: Then are we done here? We need to go pat ourselves on the back for making clothes that don't in any way endanger coral reefs. We think.
A: Peace out - remember - knit swing dresses. Love you.