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Nothing to Wear, blah blah blah | Manolo for the Big Girl

Nothing to Wear, blah blah blah

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A welcome article from the Los Angeles Times (which won’t be news to any of us, but you might want to email it to those Who Don’t Know as a method of venting):

 . . . the average U.S. woman, who’s 162.9 pounds and wears a size 14, is treated like an anomaly by apparel brands and retailers — who seem to assume that no one over size 10 follows fashion’s capricious trends.

Fashion-forward boutiques such as Maxfield and Fred Segal rarely stock anything over a size 10, and in designer shops, sizes beyond 6 or 8 are often hidden like contraband in the “back.” Department stores typically offer tiny sections with only 20 or so brands that fit sizes 14 and up — compared with the 900-plus brands they carry in their regular women’s wear departments.

That leaves style-loving full-figured women with a clutch of plus-size chains including Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Avenue and Torrid. Or big-box stores such as Target, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart, the No. 1 seller of plus-size apparel in the country — though most of its selection consists of basic, often matronly items. Beyond this, plus-size clothing is largely relegated to the Internet, where customers who already have a complicated relationship with clothes are unable to see, touch or try on merchandise.

::snip::

It’s a which-came-first scenario, Cohen said. Because plus-size women have been ignored for years, they’ve stopped actively looking for shopping opportunities. But when retailers bring savvy style to the plus-size game (as Gap Inc. did with its short-lived concept, Forth & Towne, which carried fashion-forward clothing for career women in sizes 2 to 20), they often shutter their efforts before they have a chance to bloom.

“Retailers don’t have the patience to allow it to evolve,” he added. “This is a market that’s been underserved for 50 years. Customers are saying, ‘For 50 years, you’ve ignored me and now you expect me to react to it instantaneously?’ No.”

Francesca says: Read the whole article here. And then go shopping at Igigi.

35 Responses to “Nothing to Wear, blah blah blah”

  1. Travelinoma March 2, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    I was recently in NYC, excited to spend my money on plus-sized clothes unavailable at home. I found the same problem there–no selection! In Lord and Taylor I rode the escalator past 8 floors full of beautiful women’s clothes for every occasion, and finally arrived at the 9th floor plus-size department. It was so discouraging! I spent just $220 on clothes in NYC and I had come hoping to buy a whole new wardrobe. So here I am, shopping onlline as usual.

  2. Tanya March 2, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    20 brands to choose from in department stores. Subtract those that don’t work for the top heavy shape, someone short and sixty. What’s left? Damn little.

    I too am tired of polyester, ugly colors and ugly prints. Cheap clingy fabric in general. Forget capris with dragonflys or martini glasses. I don’t want two piece so-called tankinis which are really “swimdresses” whose top floats up when you get in the water. Please, someone, recognize that plus size women come in at least a few different shapes and a certain percentage of us have round bellies, big busts, and relatively skinny legs and backsides. Pants that fit in the waist but have legs twice as long and twice as wide as mine cannot be tailored to fit.

    It is true that making larger sizes requires more than just adding inches to existing patterns. Surprise! There are computer programs for pattern making using real measurements. I would bet that someone consistently marketing fashionable clothing that fits could make money even with re-tooling.

    Like Travelinoma, I’ve passed clothes I would have loved to buy had they been in my size. Knowing what I like and what I can wear, I could go through the various departments and say “that, that, that” and pick what would look good on me if I could find it in my size.

  3. dcsurfergirl March 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    I was reminded of the whole nothing-to-wear issue on Saturday night. I attended a waltz ball and saw so many lovely dresses in a wide range of styles and colors-all on women under size 10. I was wearing the dress I wore last year (and was so grateful that it was a fairly classic style).

    I am also generally not impressed by the styles stocked by the chains mentioned in the LA Times article but I cannot afford to bypass any of these stores because of the lack of stylish plus-size clothes. I end up mostly buying in Wal-Mart (jeans and underwear), Lane Bryant and Macy’s (dresses, miscellaneous sale items). I am hesitant to order online because I would rather see and try on clothing before I buy. As a result, my wardrobe is rather plain.

    My other problem is with plus-size clothing manufacturers. Quality is a problem at any price point. I am often repairing fallen dress hems or reattaching buttons. Buying the simplest classic styles (when available) is my only option if I want to spend less time repairing my wardrobe. Is this an issue with smaller sized clothing?

    I am no designer but is it THAT hard to adapt smaller designs for plus-size figures? I just want the same style options as thinner women.

    I guess I have to keep dieting so maybe I will have better clothing choices.

    Thank you for the opportunity to let me vent.

  4. dcsurfergirl March 2, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Hey, wait a minute.

    Where are the good quality plus-size clothing lines (at whatever price point)? Where are the decent stores (local or chains)? We could list them so we all have some fresh resources to use in the never-ending quest for fabulousness.

    OK, I can start. I heard somewhere that the Marina Rinaldi clothing line was nice (but expensive). Can anyone verify this? I also remember once talking with the staff at Rizik’s in Washington, DC and was told they were willing to help me order an evening dress (as a custom order that would need several weeks notice)–good to know.

    Hey Francesca, Twistie and Plumcake–would this somehow make a good blog post? You all can answer that more than I can?

    Who’s with me?

  5. Alyssa March 2, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Reminds me of an experience I had at Lane Bryant a few weeks ago. Gal was shopping with her bf and held up a dress. He said, “It looks like ones you already have.” To which, frustrated gf shouted, “Of course it does – because I can only shop at two stores.” Which made me laugh. And then she started to laugh too. Because it’s so true.

  6. Hermione March 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    If Talbot’s closes, I’ll have to wear a barrel. Their Women’s Petite clothes fit me perfectly, and the clothes are very nice. I wait for the sales of course. But even with them, there are no dresses in Women’s sizes, only in Misses. And I have to shop online with them too.

  7. Cat March 2, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    dcsurfergirl says: “My other problem is with plus-size clothing manufacturers. Quality is a problem at any price point. I am often repairing fallen dress hems or reattaching buttons. Buying the simplest classic styles (when available) is my only option if I want to spend less time repairing my wardrobe. Is this an issue with smaller sized clothing?”

    Indeed, it is an issue with smaller-sized clothing, as well. I wear a size 2 and I often have the same problems with fallen hems, buttons falling off, collars going wonky, etc., and it happens with clothes I’ve bought at Old Navy, GAP, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Saks — pretty much any price point. I once read an article that said women’s clothing is, at least as a general rule, of lower quality than men’s clothing. I believe it.

  8. Tracy March 2, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    What gets me is that women are expected to change their bodies for fashion instead of the other way around. We are made to feel bad because the clothes don’t fit our bodies instead of getting pissed at the system.

  9. class factotum March 3, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    “women are expected to change their bodies for fashion”

    Unfortunately, this happens at every size. I read years ago in a gossip magazine (no, not proud of that, but I was an intellectual for four years in college and that was long enough) that some actress, in her therapy for anorexia told her counselor she had to be thin so she would fit into her clothes. The counselor asked, “Shouldn’t your clothes fit you?”

    Other subject: Are designers so anti business that they don’t want to make money? I mean, seriously. Is there nobody doing any market research on the size (ha!) of the plus-sized market? Do they feel like they would be selling out if they actually made clothes that the plus market would buy? What is the real issue here? Ignorance? Stupidity?

  10. AmelieWannabe March 3, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    I recall seeing a quote from some fashion designer saying s/he would never put out a plus sized line because it would diminish the reputation of the existing line. Something about a woman who works to be a size 2 shouldn’t have to worry about a woman at size 16 purchasing the same item. I thought this was complete poppy-cock until I overheard some very chic 20-somethings in Saks saying that they’d never buy a particular garment because they knew their heavier “friend” already had it and if she was wearing that style then it must be for the big girls only.

  11. ChloeMireille March 3, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Is there nobody doing any market research on the size (ha!) of the plus-sized market? Do they feel like they would be selling out if they actually made clothes that the plus market would buy? What is the real issue here? Ignorance? Stupidity?

    It amounts to simple fatphobia. Someone posted a blog relating to a similar article amounting to the idea that designers flatly refuse to design for anyone over a size 8 or 10, despite 14 being the statistical average, Donna Karan being the stated example. She said that she’d be afraid of alienating her thinner customers by producing the same clothing for plus-sized women.

    Well, Miss Donna, people still shop at Ralph Lauren, don’t they?

  12. class factotum March 3, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    Chloe, it makes you wonder if any of those people can do math, doesn’t it? If the average US woman is a 14, than there are more 14s than 8s, so you’d sell more 14s, so who cares about alienating the 8s?

    Unless you’re not in business to make money, in which case let me know so I can make sure not to buy your stock.

  13. class factotum March 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    Oops. “Then there are more 14s,” not “Than.” Makes you wonder if I can do English, doesn’t it?

  14. La Petite Acadienne March 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Besides, I’m no size 8, but my best buds range in size from a 0 to a 12, and the thought of any of them eschewing a brand because they make a size 18 is beyond laughable.

    Donna Karan, you’re being pretty insulting to your thinner customers if you think they’re that damned petty and superficial. And if some of them ARE that petty and superficial, then pandering to that sentiment is not doing anybody any favours. What would be great would be if ALL designers vowed to include larger sizes in their repertoires. Then Donna Karan’s hypothetically petty customers would either have to suck it up and deal, or learn to sew.

  15. Cat March 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    La Petite Acadienne says: “Besides, I’m no size 8, but my best buds range in size from a 0 to a 12, and the thought of any of them eschewing a brand because they make a size 18 is beyond laughable.”

    That’s what I don’t understand. Why would anyone care whether the clothes they buy are also available in larger sizes? Why on earth would somebody think, “Oh, that’s a pretty dress, but I refuse to buy it because it is also available in a size 20?”

  16. Margo March 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    God, I’ve been screaming this (in my mind) for years. I outgrew the standard teen wear stores at about 15, and had to make do with whatever my aunt could make me (duvet cover lookalike skirts) and massive sweatpants.

    And yet, there are so many of us, and money to be made. Possibly one of the few positives that could come out of the economic downturn is that it’ll open up the fashion market.

  17. Marie Denee March 4, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    AH- Ma- Zing… I write and write and search and search all over for all the resources that I can for this smae reason!! Ladies you rock for this article!

    So- this is what infuriates me. Its almost like the chicken and egg thing. Department stores put plus sizes in obscure places with minimal advertisement and selection and then blame it on the fact the customer when thier product is not moving… and they wonder why they are not able to make any money …
    Here is the problem- These designers and business folk do know Know or understand the customer… they are afraid to invest, working on Old, old, sterotypes…

    There is light at the end of the tunnel I feel.. or at least by my research. I have been unmasking and amassing deisgners that cater and understand the Curvy.Confident.Chic. Fashionista. I am a snob when it comes to fabric, fit, and style. I have been in retail for over ten years and it is slowly changin! I see it… but the atliers and couture makers can bitch if they want to- I am still going to be looking anf feeling fatabulous!

    UGH! keep on Darren Trentacosta, Marina Rinaldi, Anna Scholz, Jessica Svoboda, Monif C, Designer Curves, and Darren Says… Keep on rocking the designs and fits that make all of us full figured divas happy!

  18. Marie Denee March 4, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    Oh and Elene Miro, Julie Envy, and CarmaKoma… oooh how I could go on!

  19. La Petite Acadienne March 4, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    @Amelie:

    I thought this was complete poppy-cock until I overheard some very chic 20-somethings in Saks saying that they’d never buy a particular garment because they knew their heavier “friend” already had it and if she was wearing that style then it must be for the big girls only.

    Which brings us back to my earlier point. Pandering to these superficial bitches is actually hurting business. Think about it: how many size 14-16 women are out there? Compare THAT number to the number of women out there who are like those snotty hags from Saks. I’m guessing the latter number is but a small fraction of the former number.
    And where does it stop? Will designers soon be only doing size 0, cutting off 99% of their potential client base, because the size 0s wouldn’t be caught dead in something that a gigantic size 8 woman would wear? The problem is NOT the big girls. The problem is the designers whose main concern is with having an image of exclusivity and who use nasty cows like those Saks girls as an excuse.

    Well, hopefully the economy will teach them a little lesson, and we big girls can re-create that “Pretty Woman” moment by walking into the stores (preferably carrying a shopping bag from Maestro Manolo) and asking them if they carry our size. Then when they say no, ask if they work on commission or own the store, and if so, just say “Ooh…that’s REALLY too bad.” And walk out with a swing in your step and an evil smile on your face.

  20. ? March 5, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    The article was not even researched (was it a Rachel Pally product advertisement?) and the responses are knee-jerk. Maybe it’s because I’m nearing 40, and can remember when there really were few options, but the real story of our times is that Burberry and DVF go to 14, Cynthia Steffe goes to a 14 that fits like a 16, Gaultier, Max Mara, St. John and Armani go to 16, True Boutique carries some of the contemporary designer jeans labels up to 16, Alice+Olivia, Juicy, Betsey Johnson, Norma Kamali (Norma Kamali of my childhood dreams!), Carmen Marc Valvo, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, David Meiser, Donna Ricco, Lafayette 418, Anne Klein, Kristen Blake/Sachi all have plus lines, and that’s just the brands I can think of off the top of my head. I’m amazed at the first poster who came to New York and found herself unable to spend money, I live in New York and I can’t say I have that particular problem (!!!).

    OK so I cry myself to sleep at night because Nanette Lepore and Leifsdottir don’t go up to 18, but that is not at all the same thing as being reduced to Walmart and Lane Bryant. If you’ve got the money to spend, there are plenty of labels willing to take your money. I’ve been 14+ since I *was* 14, and I’ve never bought a thing at Lane Bryant.

    (Marina Rinaldi was available at Loehmann’s, I wasn’t impressed by the quality but it may be I saw her cheaper line.)

  21. thesearentchachaheels March 5, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    Well, sure, if you live in NYC, then you have access to the labels described, and to places like Loehmann’s. But that’s one city out of an entire country, and the size fourteen average is a nation-wide phenomenon. Yes, all kinds of things are available online (I never shop that way, I have to add–I don’t have credit, I have to contend with items crossing a border, I hate not knowing what I’m buying until it gets here and then having to return it…etc. etc.). But that is not the same as trying on a garment to see how it will look, and having the luxury of turning it down in order to try on something else which can be totally different in design (and far more flattering).

    This little experience is what women fourteen and up in size miss out on–it’s something smaller sized women take for granted.

    Yes, the designers are stupid. Yes, in targeting their clothes to smaller women, they’re missing an opportunity to take advantage of a larger direct market. But I know why department stores like to play down their plus size departments–and it has to do with the reality of the marketplace. Far greater numbers of clients await, it’s true–but should plus size or larger sized bodies actually become recognized as the true norm they are, then all the fashion institution will have to change.
    Everything from the idea of the aesthetic–that large can be beautiful too, which we’re conditioned never to believe–to the idea that fashion is about something the consumer wants, as opposed to something the designer imposes…all of that, on every level, will have to change. Everything from clothing design to manufacturing will have to be retooled; photographers will have to develop a new aesthetic; marketing people will have to be more inclusive in their approach, rather than exclusive–and that is major in itself, since we’ve had decades of selling things “only to those who can afford/deserve them”. It’s easy to see how inflexible these institutions actually are, and that, for me, tells me exactly why this will not change any time soon.

    Here’s a proposal: there are an awful lot of women who sew. A great many who are skilled seamstresses and designers. It’s time they set out their sights for larger women with money–and maybe it’s time for a return of bespoke tailoring–but for women instead of men. After all: men do not come in sizes 0 to 4 either–and yet suits are cut for the biggest/fattest/tallest/shortest of them all, with modifications built in as a matter of course for each and every body reality out there, that’s part of the training of being a tailor and of producing these kinds of clothes. Now might be the time for women to start creating these kinds of businesses for women out there with the money to spend and the bodies which require this kind of design skill. Pick your fabric, pick the colour you want, go with designs that truly make the most of your body’s curves and diminish the “flaws” you wish you didn’t have to contend with. Any size you are.

    How about it? If I’m going to spend $300 on a dress that fits, I want it to go to a seamstress who’s come up with a design that makes me look fantastic, not some off the rack, unflattering t-shirt dress that cost some Walmart contractor less than .49 cents to slap together in a sweatshop somewhere off shore (or in a homeworker’s tiny crowded apartment, for which she was paid about .49 cents in total for her work if she slapped it together fast enough).

  22. ? March 5, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    The better tailored boutique brands in natural (i.e. non-stretch) fibres don’t target larger sizes because womenswear fits are more diverse. The high-end brands that have plus lines tend to be big houses with lots of stretchy, poly etc clothing, and are therefore available and for lots cheaper in malls far outside New York. Focusing on a familiar market which is easier to serve with fewer returns is not exactly “stupid”.

    Couture service is already available, Shanghai Tang for example has reasonable prices, but it’s never going to be a major alternative partially because of the expense and partially because the process is a pain — you can’t try something on before you order it, you can’t wait for a sale, you can’t return something if you dont’ like the results or change your mind. I’ve had custom tailoring done many times, and it’s much more of a crapshoot than RTW. Menswear is more limited in design, and alterations are far more typical than bespoke.

  23. ChloeMireille March 5, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    Notice the divide between the designers who offer up to a 14/16 and the designers who offer an entire plus line. The first group has a much higher price point than the plus lines of the second. Burberry sells $1200 trenchcoats, while Michael Kors sells $89 pants.

    There is a retail glass ceiling here, probably several. The higher the price point, the smaller the size selection.

  24. Violet March 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    ?, I live here too and am curious as to where you like to shop. Eponymous boutiques? Lee Lee’s? Is any one department store more productive for you than another, at any price point? You mention Loehmann’s, which yeah, but I must agree quality is hit or miss there.

    At 14/16/14W depending, I have semi-okay luck at Bloomingdale’s and, for casual throwaway wear, Macy’s, and can still find the occasional really good piece at Saks, but it’s not thick pickings anywhere.

    ChloeMireille, “Michael Kors” is the four-figures designer stuff, not the same as Michael by Michael Kors or Kors by Michael Kors which are the affordable “bridge” lines of clothes and accessories where things do sell for $89 (and very nice too — I am emphatically pro those bridge lines). So yeah: your question is, can you find those higher sizes in the real designer line, and the answer is, usually not. Frankly I would settle for more bridge line size-inclusiveness. I’m not really in the $3800 jacket market.

  25. TeleriB March 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Once we figure out how to get the robots to handle flexible materials (like fabric and spacecraft thermal blankets), I can’t wait for the custom robotailoring to start. Step into the booth for a 3D scanning laser model of your body to be created, then parameterized patterns can be altered to fit your measurements. The Sew-O-Mat unspools the fabric, cuts, aligns and stitches it.

    It’ll be simple patterns in simple, unornamented designs at first. But it’ll get more complex as the technology gets better.

  26. La BellaDonna March 5, 2009 at 7:22 pm #

    DCSurferGirl asked:

    I am no designer but is it THAT hard to adapt smaller designs for plus-size figures? I just want the same style options as thinner women?

    YES. Yes, it is THAT hard to “adapt” smaller designs for plus-size figures – and anyone who relies solely on CAD-produced patterns is going to have a packet of paper that fits no one very well.

    Kathleen Fasanella wrote a very thorough piece on the actual difficulties involved, and was excoriated for “hating fat people” when she listed the technical problems involved.

    Consider: All of us who are fat – and those of us who aren’t! – want something that fits. Those of us who are Tall, Regular, and Petite. Those of us who are at least a variant on Apple, Ruler, Pear, Upside-Down Triangle, Hourglass. For a single garment to fit each of those shapes properly, that garment would need fifteen DIFFERENT master patterns made. FIFTEEN PATTERNS. A different fit for EACH SHAPE – because they are NOT interchangeable. Maybe the manufacturer is going to offer the dress – let’s make a dress, OK – in more than one colour, say, black and … blue. Very often, fabrics with black dyes shrink at a different rate from other colours, and manufacturers do NOT preshrink fabric; they size the garment so that it will still fit after it’s washed. The fit has to be calculated into the pattern itself. So for our ONE dress – the same dress – offered in TWO COLOURS – the manufacturer needs THIRTY MASTER PATTERNS. And that is in ONE SIZE – that’s not a RANGE of sizes. That’s not 16-22, 18-30. That’s ONE SIZE, maybe an 18, but for an 18 in each of those shapes, each of those heights, one dress in two different colours, the manufacturer has to pay a pattern drafter to produce THIRTY MASTER PATTERNS. That’s not including a skirt, or a blouse, or a jacket, or a pair of pants.

    Most designers don’t draft their own patterns. If they’re smart, they don’t; they have a professional pattern drafter draft them, and a manufacturer produces the garments. But a major designer has to produce a collection, not just one garment; usually at least twenty pieces or so. If that designer wants to produce twenty pieces that fit every shape of fat woman, that’s THREE HUNDRED MASTER PATTERNS – before scaling it up and/or down to fit a range of sizes!

    This is why many manufacturers specialize in fitting one, maybe two shapes: An Hourglass and a Pear might be able to wear a lot of the same bottom pieces, for instance. It may reduce their client base, but it also reduces their costs.

    And often, for the very large sizes, the equipment to draft those patterns – the tables, etc. – doesn’t exist in a size to make it practical, so the manufacturer who specializes in large sizes may be looking at a commitment to have some of the drafting equipment specially made.

    Add into THAT, not necessarily the ladies here, but quite a few folks who’ve complained about the large sizes they HAVE found: “I don’t want to pay thirty dollars for a skirt!” Yes, I have read that. They don’t want to pay thirty dollars for a skirt, or thirty dollars for a blouse. And many a manufacturer looks at that, and is afraid. They are afraid there are more women who don’t want to pay thirty dollars for a skirt than there are women who will pay a ninety or more for a good skirt.

    And I’d have to say that, right now, most of them aren’t in a position to make that kind of economic commitment.

  27. La BellaDonna March 5, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    Ugh, my whole long post disappeared.

    The short answer:

    YES. It is THAT HARD for designers to come up with clothes for us – and it’s an expensive gamble.

    To create ONE DESIGN – a dress, say, that will fit us – we who are Tall, Regular, and Petite, Apple, Hourglass, Pear, Ruler, Upside-Down Triangle – ONE garment in ONE colour in ONE fabric, the designer has to pay the pattern-drafter to make FIFTEEN MASTER PATTERNS IN THE BASE SIZE. That’s MASTER patterns – they haven’t been graded up or down yet for sizing. And if that garment is made in a different colourway, or a different fabric, it is entirely probably that another set of FIFTEEN MASTER PATTERNS will have to be made for the SAME DESIGN – because not all fabrics behave the same way, and not all colours shrink at the same rate. Again, not a single pattern has been graded up or down yet.

    That’s ONE design. And although the ladies here may be willing to spend money, there are plenty of large ladies who don’t want to spend more than thirty dollars for a skirt, or thirty dollars for a blouse.

    It is an economic gamble of nightmare proportions for most designers to consider.

    More on this later on.

  28. ? March 6, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Violet, I have never been to Lee Lee’s. I don’t have any particular spot that effortlessly works — it’s always a matter of digging, even for the size 0 girls. When I worked near Macy’s I used to go there a lot and I had some great finds, both in bridge lines like Eileen Fisher, Ellen Tracy, Anne Klein (which go up to 16) and plus lines like Tommy Hilfiger and Due Per Due. I’m keen on Banana Republic/Monogram knitwear, which is also pretty generously cut and lovely quality — the L fits me so the XL might fit someone who is usually 2x. The one tip I have is that the Lafayette 148 warehouse sales do have plus sizes, and their quality is quite respectable.

    I’m sure soemone will complain that Eileen Fisher is shapeless, Hilfiger tacky, Lafayette staid etc, but honestly, lines interpret trends from season to season, so I’ve gotten a Hilfiger floral skirt that looks like it came from Anthropologie and a Lafayette 148 cropped mandarin jacket that looks like it came from somewhere in Soho.

  29. TeleriB March 6, 2009 at 9:11 am #

    La BellaDonna wrote:
    anyone who relies solely on CAD-produced patterns is going to have a packet of paper that fits no one very well.

    First, I believe you. I am entirely willing to believe that the current state-of-the-art is incapable of making the required pattern adjustments.

    Also, I am not aware that fashion designers are funding the AI research that would fix this problem. So, while I think the problem is solvable, it’s not going to get solved until the technology is developed for some other application first, and then an entrepreneur spins it off with a fashion slant.

    I’ve never drafted a pattern, so I speak without experience, but I would think that if you could do the knowledge capture on an expert, you should be able to encode the rules or guidelines they use to develop patterns and the ones they use to determine if a pattern they’ve done is good or not. That would make your expert system that would interface with the CAD model, altering it, critiquing its alterations, and adjusting as needed.

    That would be a very large project and an awful lot of work – and someone has to pay for it. I’m not minimizing that. But I think it’s within the realm of the possible.

    (Sorry… it’s just so rarely that my day job and fashion intersect… :) )

  30. Violet March 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    I agree about not writing off the putatively frumpy brands. I have a great sweater skirt (!!) from Eileen Fisher last fall that’s got loads of shape to it and a fantastic Anne Klein suit that cost practically nothing on sale, very much worth picking through racks and racks of fail for. I’m excited to hear the Monogram stuff runs that way and will certainly look into that too … I was being pessimistic about it, I guess because their whole branding concept feels exclusionary. I do have good luck in XL knit tops at regular BR on and off.

  31. OCCaliAKA March 6, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    I think ? spoke for what I was going to say. I am a bridge shopper mainly and have always found things from Ellen Tracy (my favorite), Dana Buchman before that brand went down-market, Talbots and Talbots Woman. I have some designer pieces — a couple of Bill Blass top-line jackets and two Oscar de la Renta pieces in size 18 misses.
    I’d say there were “thicker pickings” in the late 1990s, when Mode was in its heyday. I remember that Givenchy and Versace had bridge plus lines. I know that Valentino had one in Europe.

  32. JS March 14, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    If more plus women shopped & spent money, there would be more people servicing them – put your $ where your mouth is – and you’ll have selection and quality like you can’t imagine. Plus women simply aren’t spending the $ – it is that simple.

  33. Man Transformation September 9, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    Thanks!

  34. Rolling Duffle November 18, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    This is not a question of regulations, its a question of safety. Buy a vest big enough to go over your backpack or get an orange backpack. And wear a blaze orange cap. It is your first season so be safe and make sure you are out again next year. Good luck!!