Social media has seen thousands of disparate plus-size shoppers connecting in online communities, reinforcing messages of body positivity and voicing their many aggravations with the struggle that is plus-size shopping.
Those aggravations came to the fore on Tuesday in an hour-long Twitter chat with Lane Bryant, arguably the most well-known plus-size retailer. Co-hosted by Refinery29, the #AskLaneBryant chat engaged plenty of shoppers as well as notable bloggers, such as Nicolette Mason, Amanda Levitt of Fat Body Politics and Gabi Gregg aka GabiFresh.
And they had a lot of concerns about plus-size shopping to raise to Lane Bryant.
Plus-size clothing doesn't always reflect the needs of the people who wear it.
Diversity still lags behind, even when the sizes are diverse.
So much plus-size clothing all looks the same — and it's not pretty.
Bras are also an, er, big problem.
Even plus-size models — and the clothes — tend to come in smaller sizes.
It's hard to buy all the "body positivity" language when a certain body type is still emphasized.
Of course, big stores and small brands alike have made plenty of progress, largely thanks to online pressure from shoppers. There has never been more trendy, cute clothing available in bigger sizes; and certain big chains like Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Target have rolled out bigger sizes or better styles in response to customer demand.
But there's still a long way to go until mainstream stores can give all their customers the sizes and styles they deserve — and until plus-size retailers like Lane Bryant succeed in truly catering to the needs of its shoppers.
Lane Bryant, for what it's worth, is obviously open to hearing these critiques, considering the company hosted the chat and is aware that it's been the target of critics in the past. At the end of the chat, Lane Bryant tweeted: