Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#LaneBryant Is Smoking Crack- Seriously.

As you all know, I'm always trying to find the latest places to shop- that are affordable and fashionable.  Plus size girls have a VERY (and I do stress the word very) limited selection of places that we can shop.  Unfortunately, if your social circle includes other plus size girls you have more than likely had multiple run ins with the same outfits or wearing the same shirt in a different color/style/etc.  Most of us -heavily- depend on Lane Bryant.  For a long time- even with other stores like the Avenue, or Fashion Bug, or Catherine's Plus Size, - or heck- even the local department stores, continually missed the mark on what they thought bigger girls wanted to look like (overgrown lumpy potato sacks)-  so Lane Bryant has been the mecca.

However, Lane Bryant has extraordinarily steep competition these days.  Even though I'm not 100% thrilled with the "we want your money but keep your fat ass out of our stores" online only shopping experience from Old Navy-  at least a girl can cater to her every fashion whim on the cheap.  And previous to Fashion Bug being acquired by the same people that own Lane Bryant- their buy one get one for a dollar sales were a dream.  

Before you turn your nose up at me thinking about heaven forbid buying clothes on the cheap-  please remember that plus size women have long been considered the second class citizen of the shopping world.  Most of the clothing that is offered to us- are poly mixes or cottons.  God forbid someone provide us with clothes that have some style to them.  And while the skinny people of the world can waltz from store to store (by the thousands of stores) at the mall picking and choosing their "style" from multiple locations throughout the mall-  we have always had to squeeze ourselves (pun intended) into the cookie cutter ideal of what fashion buyers decided what we should look like. 

Refocus back to Lane Bryant.  Lane Bryant has always been a staple for providing many styles, options, and fabrics, usually  at a fairly decent price.  Now, I say usually, because even previous to this post, I found that paying $80 for a pair of cookie cutter jeans - that were just of the stores label carrying no real "weight" to the name-  more than ridiculous-  but for a long stretch they were the only ones that offered jeans in the latest trends- so I was happy to pass over my Lane Bryant platinum card and pay the price to fit in.  They offered great sales and opportunities to really clean up if you got in at the right time (and previously- if you were a platinum member you got an extra 20% off on Thursdays I believe it was)

However, Lane Bryant, I have noticed a peculiar phenomena happening lately.  Your prices went from- fair ($29.99 for the average article of clothing at your store)  to slightly annoying ($34.99-$44.99) for the typical article of clothing - to down right ridiculous.  $69.99 for a SWEATER?  ARE YOU HIGH?  For some piece of crap poly blend  that will shrink and barely cover my belly after one wash- Michal Kors himself better come with it, and follow me around telling me I look fabulous.

Your CRAP-  and yes, your clothes really are cheaply made crap-  is made in China, where you are paying some woman three dollars an hour to mass produce your clothing-  and then you are gonna expect me to pay SEVENTY DOLLARS for ONE ITEM OF CLOTHING!?!?!?  

Ive been into multiple locations in the past weeks, because unfortunately, I requested gift cards to your store from everyone for my recent birthday,  so I could purchase some new clothes for a couple of trips I am taking.  Every store I go into, not only do your salespeople cleave onto every hapless victim that walks into your store- (and seriously they don't let go- they're now worse than the salespeople at  Dress Barn and you really can't sink much lower than Dress Barn) but it's really laughable that you even sell gift cards in $25 denominations because I can't even buy a necklace with a $25 gift card.

Case in point here are the items I considered buying these past two weeks:

Embellished Print Band Bottom Top

This is a super cute T shirt.  But that's the point. Its a TSHIRT.  There's next to no material in a t-shirt.  This shirt-  at any other store would be $19.99  tops-  At Lane Bryant, their cotton poly blends are apparently the acme of poly blends, because this very shirt is currently for sale for-  are you ready?  FORTY FOUR NINETY FIVE.  One shirt.  

I picked up this cardigan-  again super cute, thought I could wear it both to work and to an event I have coming up.  I nearly CHOKED when I saw the price tag- for a CARDIGAN.

Rhinestone and Flower Accent Cardigan

 Had it been say, the price of the TShirt even ($44.95) I probably would have bought it.  But, how expensive was this top?  SIXTY FOUR NINETY FIVE.  Are.You.Kidding.Me?

Now, I am a Paisley girl.  Vera Bradley, is my soul mate.  Seriously.  So when I saw this Cardigan, and another one similar to it, I was in heaven.  I was ready to buy them both.  In previous years, cardigans like this, would be $29.99  or $34.99 or maybe $39.99  at most-  usually with a buy one get one half off sale, which made it sting a bit less.  This year, what is Lane Bryant charging for this sweater?  FIFTY NINE NINETY NINE.  (but, in consideration of full disclosure- there is a BOGO on cardigans right now  but even with a BOGO this is ridiculous)

Now one could say, oh people pay that much for clothing all the time its not just the plus size girls- yada yada yada.  But that is my point.  If I was at Nordstrom, and I was purchasing one of their staple designers- say a Ralph Lauren or an Anne Klein-  I would expect to pay that much money-  and I would know that the clothes are fairly decent quality and will last more than say three washings.   This also brings me to my second point.

So disgusted by Lane Bryant's sheer audacity at thinking they deserve to charge this much money for mediocre clothing -  I decided to pay a visit to Macy's.

Now, since Macy's murdered my beloved Marshall Fields- we haven't exactly been on speaking terms.  Well, we've spoken a few times-  said some cordial "hellos"  and maybe I -may- have purchased a Martha Stewart Bedroom set from them.....  and, maybe a couch......   and a coach bag or two....  and some jewelery-  BUT for the most part, we have certainly not had anywhere near the love affair that Field's and I once shared.

I went to Macy's though-  and bought not one, not two, not three but FOUR items, totaling $89.68.  One sweater dress ($31 and 20% off)  a super cute shirt to wear to my event - $13 (I know! I was stoked), a cardigan ($35) and a shirt that isn't exactly similar to the blue one but close enough ($19.99 at 30% off)

As I discussed my shock and disgust with Lane Bryant to the sales girl at Macy's  she also informed me that Macy's is starting to offer clothing going up to 28 (they used to be a solely to 24 store) and also mentioned that Lane Bryant apparently has forgotten that they have lots and LOTS of competition these days.  After my stop into Macy's  I decided to also check out The Avenue, and discovered that they as well have VERY decently priced clothing (though certainly not as completely fashion forward as Lane Bryant I'll give them that)  but if you have the time to mill around its worth the shop.

Now, in "defense" and I use the word almost with an air of sarcasm  of Lane Bryant-  they -did- (until Sunday)  have a 40% off the entire store "sale"  but sorry,  when you are charging seventy dollars for a cardigan, even the $42 with the discount is laughable.

Sadly Lane Bryant, you have become arrogantly too big for your britches (again, pun intended).  You know that women desperate for even the smallest taste for hip and fashionable attire, flock to your store in droves, plunk down their platinum like its nobody's business, and worship at the alter of your brand.  

Be loyal to the people who made you as big as you are.  There are people by the thousands right now protesting greed and consumerism.  Treat your customers with respect-  every other store in the country is spinning upside walking tightropes and juggling flames right now to get people's business.  Perhaps, because you know you have the market cornered, you don't feel the need to do the same.  Unfortunately though, you aren't the stallion in the pony show anymore.  And, until you remember that it was me, my dollars, and my loyalty that made you where you are-  and you show some appreciation-  I will not be buying from your store again.  I am more than insulted that you expect me to pay more for a sweater than what you would pay one of your employee's for a days worth of work.  

Let me say this again.  If an employee at your store, working eight hours getting paid minimum wage or just above it- can not even buy an article of clothing in your store on a days wages,  where do you feel entitled to charge that much money for your clothing.

You do not sell designer clothes.  
You do not even provide a brand that is a high enough quality to deserve such a high price.
You sell disposable clothes.  One season, maybe two.

Increase your quality

Lower your price. 

Remember who made you.  

Perhaps then, you wouldn't have to rely so heavily on those conversion percentages, and your sales people could go back to helping rather than shadowing, creeping, and down right annoying every customer that walks through the door.


Lynzhi said...

I used to buy clothes from LB, and it was a lot more affordable then, but it was still pretty shoddy work and nothing ever fit quite right. That said, you're right- these stores get all big in their britches and you can't tell them anything. I work at Bloomingdales and Macys during the week and i know all too well to what you're referring, especially when I see all of their stock rooms and they're overflowing with clearanced merchandise that they wont put on the floor lest they have to discount it. Occupy Wall street? Done. Occupy 5th Avenue? Next stop.

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Anonymous said...

If you don't take advantage of their sales then you don't know how to shop LB.

The Tubby Triathlete said...

Oh trust me, I take advantage of their sales plenty- but when they mark UP their prices to ridiculous costs -just to "Mark them down" to what you would have previously spent at FULL price- a light needs to be shone on the situation.

Anonymous said...

Ironically enough, I came across this blog searching for plus size clothing.
I totally agree with you. The price they charge for the quality they give you is absurd. All they've done for me lately is strengthen my resolve to lose weight so I can shop elsewhere.

KLA said...

I'm a new customer to LB, my friend and I drive to Buffalo from Toronto once every few months. I find that I only buy pants and underwear there, I can't seem to find any tops and jackets that I like (and/or the price is not right).

Jayne_SFT said...

So. Freakin. True. I was delighted to hear that Macy's is enlightening themselves. I quit going there because of their "24 or less" practices. Let's tell LB what to do with their cheaply made $70 sweaters!

Rusti said...

AMEN!!! I have resorted to Walmart for the plus size Levi's and sweaters. I know they won't last long but at $24 for a pair of jeans and $12 to 15 for a sweater to get me through to the next size or two down I'll take it. Thank goodness I didn't get rid of all my large and size 18 and 16 items when I gained out of them or I might be nakey for awhile.

Jody said...

Absolutely adored this post! You go are 100% on point. It's sad and unfair that plus size women are put on the 'back burner' in the style world...for what reason? Oh, that's right, because we all LOVE looking like shit? I think not. xo Jody

Bella said...

Amen, sister! I've pretty much given up on LB because of their insane pricing. I'm not loving their recent styles that much, either. Macy's really is the way to go, and even Kohl's has some really cute stuff. As you said, LB had better realize that they do have a lot of competition and that big girls can be just as discerning as anyone else in terms of who gets our fashion dollars.

Big Life, Little Blog said...


I hate to admit I still shop there even though I am now at a size I could shop at Macy's or other stores that carry "plus sizes" but I think Lane Bryant is all I knew for so long it's hard to break the habit of it being the first stop I make.

I certainly have NEVER bought anything full price or close to full price there. I always cleaned up on their Clearance racks and when they had the 40% sales.

I seriously LOVE this post. Lane Bryant needs to read it and take note!

Sassy said...

After the kiddos, I was in plus sizes and hated LB, over priced and their clothing never seemed to fit correctly. I could always find great deals and cute styles on the second floor at Macy's. They were a Godsend, better sales and higher quality clothing. Keep it up Millie, shopping the bottom floor is even sweeter!

Crissy said...

This is seriously THE BEST POST I've read in a very long time! I used to be an avid Lane Bryant shopper...buying something at least once a week - I decided last month that I would not be making any more purchases from Lane Bryant! I have had it with their out of control prices. For the last 3 years or so, my closet has been 99% Lane Bryant...but no more! I will definitely keep what I have, I haven't had too many problems with the quality of things I've purchased, but I'm sickened by their ever increasing prices. It's really ridiculous! Even though, I used the gift checks each time or took advantage of the sales...I'm thoroughly peeved at how the prices have soared year after year. I'm sorry it has come to the point that I have to part ways with Lane Bryant because for a time they were the "be all/end all" and now...well, they're just not.

Anonymous said...

SO TRUE! I have pretty much stopped shopping at LB and just get bras there now. The quality has gone down hill so much. I bought a pair of dress pants in July and I have a giant hole along the seam in the waist now. It's ridiculous. I've been doing a lot of online shopping with Eloquii and am OBSESSED with the quality of the clothes and how great they look. Check them out!

Anonymous said...

I am actually new to Lane Bryant and yes, their prices are ridiculously over the top. I mainly shop their clearance and sale items. If not, I would not be able to afford anything of there's. It's funny that you winded up at Macy's because one of the reasons how I ended up at LB is because I could never find anything at Kohl's, JCP, Macy's, etc. Inventory is always very limited. While there are racks and racks of Misses, there are two for higher sizes. And most of the clothes are flowery printed, animal printed or extremely busy. Really? Dressing like a couch is fashionable?