November 2, 2010

"Simply Be" Mad!!

Dear Reader,

I was just about to relax for the evening and pull the warm blanket of November magazines to my weary eyes for some fashionable reading, when I stumbled upon a catalog I received in the mail today, called "Simply Be."  The cover was enough to remind me vaguely of a old Delia's catalog cover I would receive as a young teen, and so at first, I ignored this tome.  But after I reached for it, and fondled through its colorful and zesty pages, I took note of a few things: 1. The clothes, pages and outlines were not flattering for anyone at all. Combining empire waists with long peasant sleeves, buttons, and paisley prints, topped off with a long, ruffle sweater and a "chunky necklace", this catalog was off to a bad and unimpressive start. 2. The tops and dresses in the catalog were undefined and shapeless, sitting on the women like a sack sits on a potato.  3.  The models were rather curvaceous.  That's when I realized this was a plus-sized magazine. After briefly rationalizing the reasons why I was getting this magazine and performing the womanly act of narcissistic self-assessment and die a mortifying little death inside with guilty understanding followed by belligerent self-denial, I became enraged.  NOT only because I was a plus-sized person, NOT only because I was a woman, BUT BECAUSE I was a fashion designer!  I was furious over these prints, patterns, and lines of the clothing! The printed ruffle dresses that add zero waist definition, day dresses that look as if wardrobe came straight from Rebecca Donaldson's closest on Full House, and prices that were beyond absurd shocked and appalled me.  The biggest insult was to women, who read this trash catalog and assume this is the standard for dressing!  That this sack is what you are supposed to wear, but pair it with skinny jeans to give the illusion you are more slim than you really are.

If that was in fact the case, the sweaters would lose the ruffles, the jeans would lose the back-button flap pockets, and even the jewelry would lose the offensive "chunky" tone. 

After a further look-through, I find that almost every single item in this catalog has something hanging off of it, whether drawstrings, ruffles, gathers, layers, bat-sleeves or attachments.  And those items without attachments?  Well, I'll just let this picture speak for itself:

I am aghast. This company, "Simply Be", being a "plus" sized company, shouldn't be focusing on trying to mask the natural curves and form of the woman body with boxy outlines, heavy layers, and clown-like ruffles.  And I am not prejudice with this particular consumer group: these clothes wouldn't look good on ANY woman, no matter her size.  The curves of the woman should be highlighted, but done in the right ways, using belts and bold colors with neutrals, and balancing the patterns, rather than combining them completely in one dress (see example below).  My dear readers, fashion must not suffer from the uninformed, nor should the plus-sized suffer from this fashion.

I would love to hear any feedback about this issue from you, the reader and consumer, and please share what plus-size retailer you most appreciate.  I have a fondness myself for Chico's, which combines the elements I described above within their wardrobe and styling. 

Stay Fashionable!


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