Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Perils of Online Shopping

I do not own a car. I do not lease a car. I don't have a car unless I plan far enough in advance and can borrow one. Add to this a roommate with a car, but also with a crazy schedule. It makes it very difficult for me to go shopping for clothes.

If you're a woman, you know the story. Sizes are a debacle. You're a different size in any store you visit. Any woman could be easy befuddled trying to find clothes that actually fit.

If you're a big woman, you know that it's even harder for you. Try finding clothes that are affordable, well-made, and don't make you look like an old lady. If you're looking for a dress in size 24 at J.C. Penney's, just go straight to the rack of "mother-of-the-bride" dresses - those'll be the ones in your size. It never fails. If you're window shopping and see something really cute that you think you might like, chances are when you go into the store you'll find that it doesn't come in plus sizes.

The one store that I've found to have a good selection of plus-sized women's clothing that's actually something I'd consider wearing is Lane Bryant. They've also created a line of pants (jeans and some work-type slacks) that are called "Right Fit" that come in different shapes depending on your body type. They fit me pretty well, and I know what size I wear in Right Fit pants.

Hooray! This means I can shop for clothes online. I don't have to try anything on. And if I decide to explore outside the category of Right Fit pants, I can try on the clothes when they arrive and return them to the store if they don't fit - I don't have to mail anything back. This is a dream-come-true.

Or so I thought.

I'm currently in need of a new pair of jeans and a new pair of black pants. I wear a "Right Fit Red" size 8P. (No, folks, I'm not really a size 8. Sizes in Right Fit pants go from 1-13, with a 1 being like a normal size 14. The P is for petite because I'm short). I decide to go for the online shopping. I have a coupon code for free shipping, so I'm a winner any way, right?

Not so much.

Every time I try to buy pants on the Lane Bryant website, they don't have my size in stock, and I can't order them. The jeans I like, Right Fit Red Bootcut jeans, only come in a size 1. None of the other cuts of jeans come in a Red 8P. Nor do the black slacks I like (unless I wanted to buy the "tall" size).

They usually have pants in my size in the store. Why is it that their stores are better stocked than their website? This does not make sense to me. Logically, I feel the website's warehouse should be far better stocked than a shop at a mall.

I wrote them an angry email. I got an automatically-generated response that says "A member of our customer service team will respond to you shortly." That was two days ago now.

Dear Lane Bryant: Define "shortly." Also, let me buy some freaking pants. That's all I want. Oh, and that belt I bought a few weeks ago? Yeah, that broke. I think you need to reconsider your quality standards as well. Then maybe I wouldn't have to buy new pants so often - and nor would everyone else, which would mean that you wouldn't always be sold out of the more popular sizes. Thank you. Love, me.


  1. Amen....

    try Fashion bug and Catherines they also have the right fit they might have your size but I always have the same issue :( and they are all owned by the same company "charming Shoppes" they aren't so charming!

  2. If you have a hundred bucks to throw around you could try Indi Denim. They make custom-fit jeans. I got a pair from them once; they were pretty nice. Just be EXTRA CAREFUL with your measurements as the return process seems to be a bit of a hassle.

  3. Try $145 for those jeans! There's no way I'm paying that for one article of clothing that I can't try on before buying.

    Sarah, do Fashion Bug and Catherine's have the same kind of right fit that Lane Bryant does? I might need to look into that.