Plus-sized fashion, or the lack of it, has really made headlines over the last several years, and yet another clothing company is in hot water for apparently refusing to cater to larger customers.
Lululemon, an upscale boutique that sells yoga pants and workout clothes for the price of what I could buy in five outfits at Goodwill, has come under fire for creating a hostile environment for both customers of size and their employees. A woman named Elizabeth Licorish (a very ironic name given the situation) who used to work at one of their shops wrote a stinging rebuke on HuffPo about what she witnessed there and its business practices. The Daily Beast and Inside Edition have also done features on Lululemon too.
To sum up the article, Licorish accuses her local Lululemon of deliberately hiding size 12 yoga pants, saying employees rolled their eyes at larger shoppers; claims a fellow employee mocked her for drinking soda and eventually was forced to drink nothing but water in reusable plastic cups; and witnessed harsh critiques from co-workers when a customer wouldn’t respond to a sales pitch.
Lululemon has responded to the controversy with this statement: “We don’t manage or merchandise our size 10s and 12s differently from any other sizes. [We] recognize fitness and health come in all shapes and sizes.” To which Licorish replied: “I wish that they would get a reality check about fitness and what fitness looks like, because fitness doesn’t always look like a size four.”
If the accusations are true, then Lululemon isn’t the first retailer to dismiss fat customers. Abercrombie & Fitch caught flak a few months ago for publicly admitting they don’t carry larger sizes so they won’t lose their “cool” status (which I blogged about in an earlier FFF post). Old Navy is routinely criticized for only selling plus-sizes online, while Roaman’s and Woman Within, two catalog companies who exclusively sell extended sizes, have had backlash for not using actual fat models in their advertising (both retailers have claimed when they did use fat models many years ago, their sales actually went down).
Even if Lululemon were to offer yoga pants in my size, I’m not about to plunk down $118 for a pair. But I find it extremely ironic in a society that rants at fat people to get off the couch and exercise, it’s difficult to find decent workout clothes in extended sizes. There is Junonia, Athleta (a subdivision of Gap that goes up to a 2X) and, if you’re lucky, you may find something at Target, K-Mart, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart (if you’re not boycotting the latter). Discount chains like Gabriel Brothers and Ross might also be other options. I couldn’t even begin to find where fat guys go to buy workout apparel (so if you know, list them in the comments).