Well, as you might’ve heard, Fashion Bug is closing.
Ascena bought out Charming Shoppes who controlled Lane Bryant, Catherine’s and Fashion Bug, and is bringing in the exterminator on more than 600 Fashion Bug stores.
I never shopped at Fashion Bug, and although I applaud their concept of having straight size and plus size clothes in the same room, I can’t say I’ll really shed a tear the way I did when Christian Lacroix shut down his atelier.
So now that Charming Shoppes is a subsidiary of Ascena, what happens next?
For a brief, flickering moment I had a thought that maybe this would be the rebirth of Lane Bryant. Fashion Bug’s gone and Catherine’s has always been dreadful –I remember having a modeling gig with them in 2001 or so and they put me in this terrible cobalt blue glitter-encrusted cocktail dress with matching bolero and a gold lame hat. There might’ve been bugle beads involved somewhere, but mercifully I’ve managed to suppress that memory– but for a few halcyon seasons, Lane Bryant was my everything. Could Ascena bring it all back?
Ascena’s current flagship brands are Dressbarn, Maurices and Justice. According to Dr Google, Justice is some sort of tween retail establishment and Maurice’s sells cheap-and-cheerful (and frequently eye-searing) fashion in straight and plus sizes.
That leaves us with Dressbarn.
I’m not going to talk too much smack about Dressbarn, other than its terrible name, because I remember wandering in completely devastated after a hateful 13 year-old sales associate at Neiman Marcus interpreted “We will hold this fantastic St John’s lavender silk tulle party skirt for you for 24 hours” as “I’m going to put this back on the rack the second you head toward accessories because fat people don’t deserve nice things you horrendous cow” and left me without an Easter outfit. I don’t think I actually bought anything at the Barn but I do remember being pleasantly surprised at the construction of some of the dresses, which were on par with Jones New York and some of the better plus-size offerings from Calvin Klein.
I imagine we’ll see a bunch of Maurices and a smattering Dressbarns pop up where Fashion Bug used to be. Time will tell what this means for the Lane Bryant line, but since Ascena already employs designers responsible for this:
We should be afraid. We should be very afraid.