So here's my Open Letter to the Big Girl Stores:
Dear Lane Bryant, et al,
It's not you; it's me. I started gaining weight when I got married (literally ON MY HONEYMOON), and I never looked back. Since I was already at the top of both Gap and Limited Express sizes at the time, I didn't know where to turn. The first day I ever stepped into a Lane Bryant (Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL), I thought I was in heaven. Really! Cute, stylish clothes in sizes larger than 12? Awesome!
There were a few times (especially in the beginning) where I was frustrated with you, sure. I distinctly remember wailing to very nice sales associates, "there are TALL round girls, too!" -- when all I could find was clothing for short round girls (what's up with that, really?). But you started carrying talls, and in general you really took care of me. For about 10 or so years, everything I owned was from Lane Bryant, and I was happy with my clothes.
You did go through that weird business with re-sizing your jeans where I had to find jeans elsewhere (thank you eBay for having a ready stock of 18 and then 20 Talls/Longs from Old Navy and The Gap for the last 6 years), but truly you clothed me in sickness and in health. You dressed me for Christmas parties, "holiday" parties, for my work in a stuffy financial services firm long before anyone ever heard of "business casual", you dressed me in the 90s (although I did wear some flannel from the men's department at Target), and you dressed me after I was laid off from a 20-year job and needed interview clothes. You took care of my foundation garments and my pretty lingerie. You covered awesome earrings (I'll probably keep buying those from you, actually), and kept me from wearing all black. You had stores in most major cities, and I shopped in many of them. Really, you were a good friend to me through a lot of years.
But here's the thing: I've lost 33 pounds and am looking at more. And although I did recently buy a jean skirt in a size 16, I am pretty much done with you. I don't need your 18s, I don't need your XXLs, I don't need your 2X, I really don't much need you any more. Any of you. And although I was impressed and grateful when I bought 18 Tall jeans from Old Navy and then immediately started getting plus-size (only) emails from you and the same goes for Lands' End and the bathing suit I love that I wore approximately 6 times, the fact is that I really don't need your plus-sized targeted marketing any more.
Now my #firstworldproblem is trying to decide WHICH stores I will be shopping in, going forward! I honestly don't even know what kind of clothes I like now. It's a good problem to have, though, and one I will embrace firmly in another 70 lbs or so.
So it's come to this. I'm really grateful to you for your years of service, and I have loved finding clothes that fit me in your stores and online. But I don't need you any more. And I'm not really sorry to say goodbye to you :) If anyone asks, I still recommend you to anyone who needs you, but I'm not that girl any more.
Best of everything to you, and remind your buyers from time to time that NO ONE wants to see a big girl in horizontal stripes. And sleeveless things are questionable as well.
Thanks for the clothes,
P.S. to Avenue: I only ever ordered wide-calf boots from you, and returned every pair. Stop sending me emails and for Pete's sake, open a store in the state of Colorado.