Open Letter to Target Canada from a Plus Sized Fashion Lover

Dear Marketing and Purchasing Departments of Target Canada, and whomever else is interested.

Yesterday was a weird day for plus size fashion in my little world.  I woke up that morning to a truly kick-butt article on The Grid, discussing how lucrative the plus-size fashion industry is in Canada. Some of my favourite local plus size fashion bloggers and clothing boutique/store owners were interviewed and photographed, and the published result is gorgeous.  It has info graphics, and pretty people wearing pretty dresses, and quotes from fabulous designers like Jessica Biffi, and actually spoke well about a plus-size fashion-lover’s fight for fashion.

I’ll let you in on a little secret of my personal fight… I cried in front of my mother the day before my college graduation, because all I could find was “granny wear” and dresses that were meant for funerals.  How do you celebrate when you look ready to bury someone? This was my graduation. I was ready to shine.  And now that I no longer had to worry about tuition fees, nor books, I had money to spend.  It took me most of the day to find something that was even remotely fun to wear, while all the store-front windows had sparkly dresses that I could literally only dream of wearing. I could have had a million dollars in my pocket, but that still wouldn’t make the dress I had my eyes on fit at that moment.

If only I could have told my past self that “it gets better.”  And it has.  I have some amazing outfits in my closet today, literally from all over the world thanks to the internet. But, is it so crazy to want to be able to try on clothes before purchasing them?  ‘Cause right now I do a lot of squinting and head tilting with tongue sticking out while I concentrate and try to imagine a simple shirt I’m seeing on my computer screen and how it might look on my frame.  I guess I should be happy at developing a new skill… I’m getting really good at eyeballing an online picture and imagining myself wearing it in place of the product model.  I guess what I’m most tired about though, are the border taxes and blackmail that I have to go through with shipping companies just for a $10 shirt. One particularly popular shipping company mails out unsuspecting bills months after the shipment, without warning. So not only do I have to budget for time of purchase, and time of delivery, but now I have to budget for lots of time after delivery.  Where does this end?

Bottom line:  I want to be able to buy more of my clothes at local, physical stores that I respect like all the cool kids do.

So yeah, I had high hopes for Target Canada being another store that I could rely on.  The US plus-size customers can do this, so why couldn’t I?

That article from TheGrid also brought up an interesting point that kind of shocked me.  I was never ever made aware of this excuse about not making trendy clothing for a plus sized woman, until I read yesterday morning that, “The notion that they [plus size women] won’t spend the money because they plan to lose the weight is outdated.”

REALLY?!?  Is THIS why I couldn’t find anything to fit growing up?  Because I was expected to “grow out” of being fat and need smaller clothes soon?? Don’t worry, she can wear an XL garbage bag until the Weight Watchers diet kicks in?  And hey, the dark colour plastic looks slimming?

So, the reason behind this open letter: I recently heard from a fellow fashion blogger that there wasn’t a plus size section to be found at the brand spanking new Targets in Canada.  This shook my world. I went all cartoon-bug-eyed at the mere thought of this being true.  Around this time last year, I had went to Buffalo and totally enjoyed a full day of shopping that included a trip to Target.  I brought home a ton of stuff. Clothing stuff. Stuff that fit like a glove, and looked pretty to boot. I wore shorts for the first time in years thanks to that Target. So I’ve been carrying this ill perceived notion since I heard about Zellers being bought out that I had one less store to have to cross the border for clothes soon, ’cause finally Target was coming to me instead.

Like any good blogger, I emailed a contact I have in Target’s PR just after I heard this news.  I wanted to hear what the source had to say.  What was there view?  Were shipments possibly just delayed?   I asked, “I would like to find out if Target will be carrying a collection of women’s plus size clothing, as none were yet found in the Guelph store.” (copied right from my latest email)

And this was their response yesterday: “No, that is not accurate.   While we don’t have a separate area of the store, we have incorporated plus sizes throughout our assortments so that in the majority of lines we have size ranges from XS to XXL. “ (again, verbatim)

XS to XXL

I’m truly sorry if I’m bursting any bubbles Target, but selling clothes up to “XXL” which equates to a small-fit “X/1X” or a “16/18″ is truly a token gesture.  Plus sizes are known for going up to 6X (and it saddens me that most plus-size-carrying stores in Canada only go up to 3X/4X.)

After reading those lines in my email, I just about ran to the closest target (which takes nearly an hour to get to for me.)  And yeah, the email was correct.  I saw XXL, 16s and a couple 18s sprinkled around the Centrepoint Mall Target.

Centrepoint Mall Target: Womenswear Department

Target Canada Womenswear Department

 XXL/TTG Tag – Largest size to be found at Target Canada.

Target Canada Womenswear Department XXL/TTG

Tags for XXL/TTG comes in two colours (pink and grey)Target Canada Womenswear Department XXL/TTG

 

At risk of sounding like a five year old with a bad case of the tantrums… Why do I not have access to these styles below??

Plus size clothing only found in Target US

 

Do you realise what a lot of us are willing to do to have that affordable, Merona® black and white, plus sized, long-sleeved cardigan that’s only $24.99??  Have I mentioned border crossing yet?

I would even break my rule of not buying anything black-based this year just to own it, it’s that special.

Merona® is an exclusive, owned by Target, brand.  I’m trying to figure out the concept of creating these lovely clothes, but selectively selling them only to your US market.  Sure, Canucks love to say they’re not Americans, but do you think the border makes us different enough to not want to look just as pretty? Is it the dreaded border?

I was under the impression that NAFTA made it much easier for businesses to trade over the border, so if you shipped in a t-shirt to your store, it would cost me $9.99 + 13% HST to purchase it from you, but if I tried buying that same $9.99 tee while it was still in the US, the fees and taxes could wind up making that same garment double or even triple in price for me, because I’m paying you roughly the same amount, but I’m also paying the government for not buying locally.  And let me tell you, that t-shirt looks awesome with a $11.29 price tag, but sucks at $30.

If this is the “true Target brand experience” brought to Canada that has been cited on countless websites before the grand opening, colour me highly unimpressed.

Yours truly,

Aeryn

 

PSST, hey Aeryn! Are you boycotting??

No! No, I’m not saying “down with Target”, just because I can’t find clothes to wear.  Heck, I bought a really nice necklace and gum while scoping out the store.  I just need my displeasure to be heard, ’cause I didn’t get to experience what we were (all?) promised.

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Aeryn Lynne

Web/Content Developer at Geek with Style
Aeryn Lynne loves to geek over all things tech and fashion. She's like one of those Apple store "geniuses", but you'll never catch her wearing a blue shirt. Purple maybe, 'cause red shirts are a no-no too.

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38 Responses

  1. paulaschuck says:

    Oh Aeryn!! I am so sad to hear this and I loved this post. I am sharing it madly at risk of alienating all the Target PR people everywhere. Listen this is the same journey my daughter – who is athletic and gorgeous and smart and plus sized at 11. WTF?? She is 11! She should not be mad to feel shitty about her weight, self esteem or anything else at 11. She is a bright and talented girl who cannot find a pair of jeans that fit or a dress that she feels pretty in. (Or I have to upsize and shop in women’s wear for my sweet tween who has yet to emerge fro puberty and should sure as heck not be wearing a dress with cleavage cut down to the navel.) In my world she is just a healthy girl who we work with to keep active and healthy and strong, and yet she cannot find jeans anywhere that fit. I think retailers in Canada are missing the boat and messed up entirely when they pull silly stuff like this. People come in all sizes. People of all ages and sizes have money to spend. Shopping for my gorgeous 11 year old is a nightmarish cycle of her trying something on and feeling bad about herself. I HATE IT and she Hates shopping. So, what do I do I tweet and blog and share my displeasure about retailers that miss the boat for me as a parent willing to spend my money on my daughter who isn’t a stick twig girl who looks like a gust of wind might knock her over. And did I mention that I also really appreciate the fact that the same retailers have damaged her self esteem. Sending you big hugs! This is an awesome post sister!

  2. Shari G says:

    I heard from a lot of local ladies that they don’t have all the same brands the US store has and that it basically just the same as Zellers. I need to go check it out personally, but I was surprised it wasn’t the same. That’s the point isn’t it?

  3. multitestingmommy says:

    There are truly not enough plus sized options in Canada! I agree! I hope someone is listening.

  4. akpicc says:

    I know that delivery company all too well because I’ve been dinged a number of times. Now I refuse to purchase from companies that use them. I haven’t been into a Target store yet but it seems like I might be disappointed.

  5. Jessica says:

    Wow….I can’t believe this looks like I wont be able to fit any of the clothes … to all those curvy girls out there modcloth is redesigning there plus clothes based on a focus group wohoo <3

  6. Debbie Bashford says:

    You’re singing to the choir here, and as a plus sized lady living in a rural area, over an hour from a larger city, I do most of my clothes shopping online. Now Giant Tiger brought in plus sizes but they run like 2-3 sizes small, which have pointed out to them many times, but it falls on deaf ears, it’s like we don’t deserve to feel good or look pretty. So my love of shopping has been beaten out of me after years of shame, thank god for the web, I am slowly finding the odd site where I actually like the clothes

  7. I was shocked and dissappointed as well !!! I went to many Targets to see if it was store specific, but alas its not. I hate buying things online because I cant get the sizes right and end up spending more money on shipping returning things to the stores and fighting for the Duty fees back.

    Plus I am really disgusted with Target’s attitude towards us Canadians. I have read a couple of articles that have left me unimpressed. I am not going to boycott them though because I do love their scarves !!!!

  8. gingermommy says:

    And this is why I will still cross the boarder to shop. i know I can find many stores that have a huge selection of clothes that actually fit.

  9. anon says:

    i have a friend whos a buyer for women’s top at their canadian office. they’re gonna have plus size in selected markets just not until summer season i believe. something they clearly overlooked but mistakes will be made when opening so many stores. and the plus size market is much smaller in canada in comparison to the us markets. ; you won’t find plus size sections in some of their more urban us stores.

  10. caryn s says:

    Thanks so much for the heads up i was really looking forward to clothes shopping at target as i heard so many good things about their american stores.

  11. colleen nyborg says:

    I am happy that I read this article before going to Target and having my heart broken. Hopefully, things will change!!

  12. Margie says:

    I went to the Guelph target on opening day…I was so excited to see what they had, but in the end, I had to hold back tears. I was so disappointed.

    I’ve always felt marginalized crossing the boarder and shopping at target stores in their plus sized section (aka the tiny section in the back where the people who work in the change rooms store all the clothes that need to be returned to their proper place), but I kept going back. Mostly because I could find style for a good price, so I sucked it up and I moved the shopping carts full of cute clothes I couldn’t fit in, just so I could sort through the 5 or 6 racks I might be able to wear.

    I had seriously high hopes for all the promises that target made to Canadians, but in the end, I was made to feel like I wasn’t the type of customer target seems to care about.

  13. Sam says:

    I noticed the same thing. Not to mention their version of XXL is similar to a Large in some other fashion lines (they are made small). I was geared up to check out the clothes too…needless to say they had NOTHING for MOST people I know. I found Target some what disappointing…no craft section for us adult crafty people…no 1.00 bins like in the US….or even 2.00 bins. Nothing that would fit someone over a size Med-Large realistically. The only thing I likes was their make-up selection.

  14. Estrelita says:

    Here, here! What a huge disappointment I had upon entering the new Target stores in Burlington and Etobicoke. No plus size clothes to be found anywhere.
    Reminds me of a recent move Winners made.’

    What an excellent website.

  15. Holly says:

    I really do hope they change this. I was so excited for Target. I still am, as there are definitely other things I will go there for… but they missed the mark with this. Did read a bit below where Anon said they will be getting plus size in the summer, so that’s at least something! Hoping they do make listen and realize they’re leaving out a lot of potential customers!

  16. Eva Mitton-Urban says:

    Being a plus size curvaceous woman too – disappointed that the size range is so limited. It is soooo frustrating to try on XXL and find that this is a small version of possible a size 16. You try it on and the circulation in your arms get cut off. Too bad. Was hopeful to do a lot of my plus size shopping at Target – guess I will stick to Penningtons/Reitmans and give let them have my money !

  17. Victoria Ess says:

    That’s really disappointing, and I’m also disappointed at the weak response you got! Such a bad business decision too.

  18. wandajb says:

    I agree completely. Plus size clothes are always so hard to find.

  19. miltonterri says:

    this story is exactly what I would like to say to Target … XXL does not cut it I was look forward to the Target Plus Size as they show on line…but NAY NAY….once again Canada was short changed…hey Target wakeup. Signed Plus Size in Milton, Ontario

  20. terry says:

    I agree,NOT RIGHT Target wake up we are people who want to dress nice also PLUS SIZES PLEASE PLEASE

  21. Nicole Nearly Nailed says:

    I too rushed to the opening of the very first Target in my town and was extremely disappointed that there were no plus size clothing!! I mentioned it to one of the employees as I was riding down the escalators and she not only had no clue (nice training Target) but was as disappointed as I was!! Great read, I hope Target Canada smartens up if not to satisfy me but to take advantage of this huge market (no pun intended, but it is a gooder!)!

  22. Nancy says:

    This letter isn’t unique and the reason I started JustPlus.ca…in Canada, only for Canadian women.
    For years I seethed and weeped over the selection of clothes that fit me. Not only do we only find ‘granny clothes’ but these days, with most of Pennyingtons, Addition Elle (really Reitman’s), Target etc being made in China or other countries with smaller statured populations, the plus sizes don’t fit…like an xxl (16/18) is really made for a shorter person maybe size 14/16.
    The bottom line is that we have personally chosen the fashions in the trendy styles that we feel you need. But it doesn’t stop there. We don’t ‘select’ a store that fits our budget and hope you’ll buy. We carry everything our suppliers Igigi, Kiyonna and Swakdesigns has on their sites…not overcharging because we’re in Canada, but at the same price as you can buy it from them directly, PLUS you pay NO Tax and we pay the shipping over $100!
    So…no need to sweat over Walmart or Target or any one else that pretends they sell plus size and call it xxl

    In the spirit of sharing,
    Nancy@justplus.ca

  23. Beryle Chambers says:

    Dear Aeryn, loved your article and am so disappointed that we have yet another store in Canada that discriminates according to size. I’ve posted your letter on my facebook page along with this comment: “So, Target is opening stores in Canada. You
    may have noticed the groovy red based commercial appropriating Mr.
    Rogers “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” song. And of course the Target mascot:
    a dog with target on his eye (ewww! – who would want a bull’s
    eye painted on a beloved animal’s eye? It’s just inviting disaster and
    perhaps hinting at Target’s darker and more insensitive side.) Because
    it does have one. Target Canada only wants skinny Canadians to be their
    neighbor. They carry few if any clothes for plus sized women. That’s WHY
    we have to shop in the U.S. for clothes and there is a huge (if you’ll
    pardon the pun) market for stylish, plus sized clothes in Canada.
    Instead of meeting that need, Target is taking on Canada’s (im)moral
    prejudice against larger women. Apparently we curvy girls don’t deserve
    clothes that fit and flatter. The writer of the open letter written to
    Target (below) is generously not boycotting Target because they have
    nice scarves, shoes, jewelry etc. She is much kinder than I am because I
    WILL BE BOYCOTTING TARGET and urge others to do so as well. Until
    Target treats everyone with respect, please boycott them. We don’t need
    more ignorant, judging, size shunning stores in Canada. We have too
    many, already!”

  24. BrendaInGP says:

    I have to admit… I wandered all over the store looking to find the plus-sized section… and was shocked when I realized that there wasn’t one! Do they know who their demographic is? It’s pretty similar to Walmart’s! Without having clothes that fit me, there really isn’t much reason to enter the store… I can find the household items they sell at other stores… many of which also sell clothes that fit me! …and while I’m on a bitt of a rant myself, I keep hoping that Superstore will bring in a JoePlus line… they have awesome clothes… but, like Target, they leave out us plus-sized women. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they’ll eventually realize how big of a market they’re missing out on (no pun intended… ha ha)

  25. kristaF says:

    I was disappointed as well..i live in the Windsor area..so can shop in Michigan without too much of a drive..i was soooo looking forward to having access to the same goods I had bought in the past at Target U.S….No such luck..
    I really don’t care much for the overall feel of Target Canada..smaller aisles..poor layout in my opinion…Hate to turn my back on my own country..but in this instance..desperate times call for desperate measures…Bye Bye Target Canada.!!!

  26. VoyantClara says:

    I recently went to the new Target in Port Coquitlam, BC and found little in the way of plus sized clothing. I was greatly disappointed. Over the last 15 years Zellers had some stylish and inexpensive plus sized clothing from lingerie to yoga wear to outer wear. There was crappy stuff too, but even in regular sizes, there’s crappy clothes, unless you want to pay for expensive clothing at high end stores. I expected the same as Zellers or even more from Target Canada. The clothes they did have were extremely expensive and most of them were so thin you could spit through them. Even if I could fit into half of the clothes, I would never in a million years purchased them. After all the Target hype from friends that cross border shop, I was shocked. WalMart has better plus sized clothing, too much of it wild prints for my tastes, but now that they carry Alia in plus, I will be making more purchases there. Target Canada has a lot to improve on. Until they change, I won’t be back to shop for clothing there..

  27. Stefanie Augusteijn says:

    As the owner of a plus size clothing store, I understand intimately the need for fashion and trends that are on par with regular sizes. It’s why I took my life savings to create the store and the business. I was tired of the lack of selection of sexy, fitted, curve-enhancing, high quality clothing. But even though I have a store, with new arrivals coming weekly and have to resist most of them and be responsible, I like selection too and I also had high hopes for Target. The clothing I sell is a little higher end, but I like to get the occasional “cheap and cheerful” item too. While http://www.sexyplusclothing.com is in a different price range and quality caliber than Target, at least we get it, and we serve Canadians and international customers too. Thanks Aeryn for taking the time to share your story. xox

  28. Ramona St says:

    I live at Ajax Ontario. I was so looking forward to the new target. I went on opening day and picked up a pair of shoes. When I learned  that Target Canada did not carry plus size clothing….. I put the shoes back, filled in a customer comment card, left the store and never returned. I refuse to spend my money in a store that excludes a large part of the population. What were you thinking?

  29. Tracy says:

    I went to Target for the first time so excited about being able to buy plus size clothing. I literally almost cried when I was told there was none except the xxL. It pissed me off so much I dumped my whole cart of stuff and walked out. I WILL NOT SHOP AT TARGET!!!!!I took that as a personal insult. I can’t believe how stunningly stupid they are.

  30. Tracey says:

    Amen sister!!! We just had a Target open in Kingston, ON and I was so excited to visit and buy a TON OF STUFF. But alas, a XXL just wasn’t going to cut it.

    I guess they don’t like MONEY. I’m 40ish and have a ton of discretionary income, and I’m sick of having to buy plus sized clothing at Wal-Mart and Pennington’s as that’s about all that’s available in my town.

    I don’t understand a business model that HAS THE INVENTORY AVAILABLE but decides not to sell it to willing buyers???

    Very disappointed to put it lightly. I would have been a loyal customer, and purchased tons of other things in Target, but now I have no reason to step foot in it again.

    Tracey

  31. Penny says:

    Well that answers that question! My aunt, who is a 5X and has no hope in finding anything at Giant Tiger… needs some new undershirts. I’ll be damned if I’m going to go to an over priced plus sized store to get them! I too, am a plus sized lady and would love to afford to buy everything I could in those store but let’s be real!

    That sucks! Guess I’ll try Waleeemart! Limited selection but maybe I’ll get lucky!

    Thanks,
    Penny

    • Aeryn Lynne says:

      Hi Penny!
      Maybe give Old Navy a try? They go up to a 4X, but some of the shirts are made to stretch. Depending on the type of undershirt you’re looking for, you might find something there that will work! Granted its online only, but with free shipping w/ $50 purchase and free returns, its not too bad! :)

  32. Amanda says:

    I had the same excitement at hearing target was coming and the same disappointment in finding out i couldn’t fit into anything except socks. I was expecting Target to be on par with the US target sizing or at the very least what walmart carries. Boy was i disappointed.

  33. Rose says:

    You saved me a trip so thank you and Target Canada- YOU SUCK

  34. Mary says:

    I totally agree. Target was a bitter disappointment. Everytime one goes into a store in the USA such as Walmart, Target etc, the selection is SOOOO different. The colour choices, the styles but most importantly…..the SIZES. Those stores bring their business North to Canada and they throw us a bone. Nothing comparable to what they offer down south. I am trying to bring youthful vibrant options to Canadian Plus Size Women. I got tired of the choices here and decided to do something about it. Black outfits and outfits your grandmother would shake her head in disbelief; should not be the only choices for Full Figure Canadian Curvy Women.
    http://www.maribellaplus.com

  35. biggirl says:

    @Candy Multamaki  
    Target stores in the USA don’t have a plus-size section for women. If they do, its 2 racks mixed in with maternity clothes. Is that supposed to be funny? Like a plus size girl can just wear maternity clothes and it won’t look silly? There is a big and tall section in the guys department.I guess its ok for guys to be big.

  36. VoyantClara says:

    It’s nothing like Zellers. Zellers had a lot of plus sized clothes from lingerie to yoga gear to outer wear for wintertime. Most were stylish and inexpensive. Target has only xxl in a handful of clothes, no specific plus sized section, at the end of the racks. They clothes are for young, thin women. There are no clothes for middle aged women or seniors. They clothes they do have are too thin and very expensive.

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