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DEAR TORRID: A love/hate letter.
theoryofgravity wrote in fatshionista
Hi folks! Recently your mods received a missive from Torrid's newish representation on LJ, torrid_inc, asking about promotional opportunities in fatshionista. That's not going to happen, not least because we're trying to be stricter than ever with any kind of promo posting (and any flexibility on the subject historically has only been extended to support small, fat-owned and/or fat-friendly businesses). BUT, it did occur to me that this is a great opportunity to make our multitude of voices and opinions heard to a major US plus-size manufacturer, and to do so in a space and environment controlled by us, and not by some third party organizing a focus group.

So this here is an open letter to Torrid. If you've got a Torrid-related opinion, be it props or grievance, please share it in comments below. This will likely be a crazy jumble of contradictory statements from lots of people, and that's okay. Companies still listen, and as frustrated as we often are by limited or undesireable plus-size "options", this is a chance to speak up. We know Torrid's listening, so let's tell them something.

My contribution is dress-related, unsurprisingly:

Dear Torrid,

I hate your tube dresses and halters and your prints occasionally make me retch. Please bring back appropriately-sized Stop Staring! dresses, or another variety of retro-styled, well-made, predictably-fitting dresses.

Also, please learn from past mistakes and don't ever pull this shit again.



Your turn.

ETA: To clarify the series of events here - Torrid emails the mods asking to do promotions in fatshionista. The mods say NO. I, individual mod, think that it might be interesting and useful for everyone involved to make a post inviting members to share their feelings about Torrid, since we now know Torrid is taking notice of goings-on in fatshionista. This big SHARING CIRCLE may even have measureable benefits for us as consumers if Torrid sees fit to take our suggestions to heart. Everybody wins.

This is not about their clothes so I hope it's OK...

Dear Torrid,

There are a lot of customers from Belgium (me included), France, The Netherlands,... who order from your site. So far we can only get the items shipped by Global Express. I know it's the only way to track the package but those packages are also taxed and in Belgium it takes A LOT of times for the customes to process them (for the moment up to 3 weeks). Could you please also offer UPS or FEDEX?



true for Israel as well. $100 order, $250 in taxes!!!

Dear Torrid,

You prices are waaaay to high for the quality of your items. I don't like that I have to mend EVERY SINGLE ITEM I purchase from your store AFTER ONE WASH.


As a seamstress, I agree with this. The quality on some things are atrocious.

Dear Torrid:
I hate your shiny metalic screen prints, stupid "I love boys" and the like t-shirt phrases and over-priced Lane Bryant rip-offs. Please bring back old Torrid styles - I miss the Diesel dress!
Also your website is WCAG non-compliant, violating the ADA 503 compliance.
Also when did Torrid turn into a giant fuzzy pink pillow with which to smother fatties wanting alternative fashion?

No love,

stupid "I love boys"

Oh my God, YES! Make them stop!

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I look forward to member responses to this.

My only contribution would be that shipping to Australia is ridiculously expensive, therefore I won't buy from Torrid. I might have if this wasn't the case.


I left the U.S. the same year Torrid opened its doors, so I never even heard of it until I joined this community last year. Now that I know about it, the shipping to the UK automatically pushes it out of my budget, even on their clearance items. Like spookygal wrote above, if they were to offer UPS and/or FedEx I'd be willing to bet I'd finally be able to afford to shop there, if I ever saw something I wanted bad enough.

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I'd say 170 locations in about 8 years is some pretty serious expanding. They can't just open up a million stores all at once, it's not cost effective, but I imagine they are planning to continue to expand.

ps. I agree about the quality of the clothing being low. I also cannot stand all of the synthetic fibers. Everyone seems to be being pretty negative, but I guess that's expected when you're offering feedback to a company.

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Dear Torrid --

I also would like to see more vintage-inspired dresses, skirts, and tops. I would especially like these if they did not have puffy sleeves. I mean, a puffy sleeve here and there is fine, but there's just so many of them, and I really can't do puffy sleeves any more, as I'm both too old and too busty to feel awesome in puffy sleeves. Further, I would like more things made of cotton or other natural fibers, or at least from cotton blends -- a lot of times, I find pieces I love at your stores, only to realize they're 100% synthetic. I think most of your clothes cost enough that they should be made of something that at least breathes a little. I live in a part of Texas that is both hot and humid most of the year. My capacity for synthetics is limited.

Additionally, I would buy clothes more frequently at Torrid if the clearance policy weren't so harsh. Because Torrid sizing is not 100% consistent, I can't risk ordering clearance items that I can't return, so I often don't buy items I would otherwise buy. Even if there were a limited return policy (clearance items may only be returned for merchandise, or may only be returned within 14 days), I would be much more likely to make purchases. And, I believe that your promotions could be more awesome. The discounts I receive from Lane Bryant and Avenue are much better than the discounts offered by Torrid. Lane Bryant routinely offers $25 off of a $75 purchase, and Avenue offers coupons for 25%-40% off a single item.

I will add, though, the employees at the Barton Creek store in Austin are always incredibly friendly and helpful. Gold stars for all of them.

Thanks for listening,

Further, I would like more things made of cotton or other natural fibers, or at least from cotton blends -- a lot of times, I find pieces I love at your stores, only to realize they're 100% synthetic. I think most of your clothes cost enough that they should be made of something that at least breathes a little.

THIS TIMES A MILLION. Drives me crazy.

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dear Torrid,

Shipping to australia is ridiculously expensive. I'm sure starting the postage at $40 is just your way of selling more merchandise, however the way the postage increases with additions of such things as earrings and socks to the order doesn't add up. I understand O/S postage can be difficult, but I'm happy to wait for my order to be processed and be charged an appropriate shipping price then.

bring back old torrid!!! My favourite items of clothing are pieces pre-pink. A black waitress dress (with pink trim go figure), a bowling shirt. The retro/punk lines you had going under the Torrid label were awesome!!! I pretty much don't ever order from Torrid anymore, shipping and the lack of what I consider to be alternative styling.

Also, please bring back the combat boots you had several years ago - vinyl with lacing and a zip up the side, not platform but still a bit of a chunky sole/heel. Mine have finally bitten the dust and no amount of black gaff will save them. I will make an order if they come back!


Dear Torrid,

Please listen to therasca1queen as she knows what she is talking about. Shipping costs to Australia suck. Bring back pre Pink Torrid. Get more retro inspired gear. Get less of the teeny bopper style crap.


Dear Torrid,

I know it's common enough practice in the plus-size clothing industry, but people don't end at size 24. I'm just about sized out of your clothes, which makes me sad. Please make more sizes.

I like some of the current stuff, and I miss some of the old Torrid stuff, so a combination, perhaps? Alternative clothes that can be used in office-wear-type situations, as well?


I AM sized out of their clothes, and there are some of them I'd love to buy. Larger sizes for the win! Do it!

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Dear Torrid,

I refuse to shop in your stores or on your web site. When you first opened I was thrilled. I went to your store as soon as it opened and dropped a sizable wad of cash on several items for myself and my daughter. We were so excited to find things in our sizes that were cool and fun.

But for a while now all your merchandise has turned to crap. It is poorly made, falls apart after one wash, is WAY over-priced for what you are getting and, as my daughter said, seems to be designed to make us all look like tramps. There used to be a mix of items - things that I could wear out or to work and younger stuff for the younger set. The clothing for us older folks is completely gone and what is left is pretty awful. My 17 year old daughter should be your ideal target demographic but she refuses to wear anything from your store.

How about selling some clothes people actually WANT to wear? I know. What concept.

Dear Torrid,

Would you be interested in increasing your size range up by one or two sizes? Because I would be interested in buying clothes from you, but it's been about 7 years since I fit in a 26, and 2 years since I was able to fit into any of your tops.

Though please keep in mind that even though I would buy things, it would be sparingly because your prices are OUTRAGEOUS.

Also, many women who shop for you are no longer in high school. Please bring a more sophisticated and/or not glittery and childish line.

Dear Torrid,

Please bring back at least SOME of the retro/goth/punk styles you founded the store on. I realize that going more mainstream means you can sell to more consumers, but with going ENTIRELY mainstream, you lost what made you so great in the first place. Torrid was somewhere I could go and get fun, funky, retro styles without having to spend days and days thrifting to find something in my size, or spending hundreds of dollars to have something custom made. I miss the waitress dresses, the bowling shirts, the Tripp, the Morbid Threads. You don't have to shut that aspect off to appeal to a more mainstream customer.

My second complaint is the quality of your stuff vs the price. I am all about paying full price for something I really want, however, when I get it home, and it shrinks (unwearably so) after one dry cleaning, or falls apart, the forty bucks I paid for one top, seems a little excessive. Now, on the other hand, if you want to continue to make it shoddy, then lower the prices. I would be WAY more likely to purchase something I know isn't going to last if it's only 15 bucks.

My last point is - HAVE A SALE OR COUPONE EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. NOt a "clearance sale" where all that's there to pick over is a bunch of crap no one else wanted...but a REAL sale, or a Lane Bryant / Avenue / Fashionbug / everyone else on the planet type coupon where you get say - 25 off 75, or $10 off ANY purchase, or something along those lines.

Since your stores are few and far between, most of us have to drive a ways to get to one...I would be WAY more likely to make the drive if there was a good sale, or coupon, or you just lowered your prices likE EVERY other retailer in the country is doing right now.


A Cute Fat Chick who Loves to Shop!

"Please bring back at least SOME of the retro/goth/punk styles you founded the store on."

this times A MILLION!

more Tripp, more Lipservice (!!!), more Lucky 13, etc.
I can't tell you how many compliments I get on my "pre-pink" Torrid clothes.

I will give you this: you do boots rights. thank you.

Dear Torrid,

I rarely shop in your stores or website any more. Your clothes are ridiculously overpriced for the quality. I refuse to pay $28 for a cotton t-shirt. I might pay $10 to $15, but why pay $28 when I can find cute graphic tees at Old Navy for $10, and sometimes two for $15?

If I do visit your stores or website, it's only to peruse the sales and clearance items. But with your ridiculous 'no returns' policy on clearance items and wonky sizing, I haven't bought anything in over a year. Why would I purchase a clearance item online that I can't return and doesn't fit? Why is it that I can purchase one item in a size 3 and have it fit, yet purchase another similar item in the same size and find that it's either too large or far too small?

This could be remedied by including garment sizes for each item on your website. Or, better yet, getting rid of your ridiculous no returns policy on clearance items. If I'm not mistaken, the whole point of putting items on clearance is to sell them quickly. I'm sure you'd have many more online shoppers if they were guaranteed less buyer's remorse and could return clearance items...thereby creating a larger market for clearance items and selling them more quickly. It really doesn't take a marketing degree to figure that out.

Come on, Torrid people. Use your brains. I know you have them. They're just in hiding.

With extreme dislike,

Dear Torrid -

I completely agree with everyone who has written saying bring back pre-pink more punky/gothy/retro stuff. I wrote to Torrid when they first changed asking why and they said they didn't have many people buying that stuff. I couldn't understand that because when I joined fatshionista there were many people I saw posting OOTDs and probably more who don't post that are into those styles. I'd love to see real plus (not junior) size Stop Staring (or similarly styled) dresses.
Your prices are way too high for the quality of the product and I would like echo some posts above and say please offer more things in cotton or cotton-blend because I too, have seen something I like only to not buy it because its 100% synthetic.
Also, in regards to your pricing, I really only buy from you when you have 50% off clearance sales because to be honest, that's really all I feel your clothing is worth. Even some of the regular clearance prices are way too high for the quality of the item.


Edited at 2009-05-13 02:23 pm (UTC)

If you look at my closet, my whole wardrobe was like allllll Torrid, from my dickie's work shirts to my Skeleton Sailor top. They really really pissed me off when they went all pink and preppy/slutty whatever the hell the style they are pulling off now.

I own a Stop Staring dress from there that is so beautiful I wept almost when I saw it. (or it could have been the booze)

I'm glad it's not just me.

Hi folks! Recently your mods received a missive from Torrid's newish representation on LJ, [info]torrid_inc, asking about promotional opportunities in [info]fatshionista. That's not going to happen, not least because we're trying to be stricter than ever with any kind of promo posting (and any flexibility on the subject historically has only been extended to support small, fat-owned and/or fat-friendly businesses).

Is this all "omg, you didn't support us so we're going to demonize you?" I missing something?

Either you are or I am. What about the quoted passage is demonizing?

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Dear Torrid,
I often feel like I'm too damn old to shop with you. I'm only 26. Quit with the "I LIKE BOYS!" and similarly obnoxious t-shirts already. (And what about your customer base that likes girls? I'm just saying.)
No love,

The only time I've been in a Torrid, I felt too old, and I was 22!

Dear Torrid,
I was excited to visit on a recent trip as you have no stores where I live. You were presented as the "plus size hot topic" so I expected lots of punk and goth clothes. Imagine my surprise when what I found was more like Old Navy or Fashion Bug! I did find a couple things that I loved..... on the clearance rack. Torrid, we fattys have plenty of places to buy basic skirts, capris, jackets, and camisoles. You were supposed to be different. You don't have to sell out to make money.... look back and find your roots.... PLEASE.
Desperately Seeking Subversion,

PS. Just because we're fat doesn't mean we all have huge boobs.

Dear torrid:

Please make your shipping rates abroad reasonable. After that, i am sure I will have more to say.

I second this comment.

I live in a country that does not have Torrid stores, I used to order things on-line but the shipping costs were astronomical.
And really, a freaking HUGE box, like 3 feet by 1 foot for one pair of shoes (not boots, flat shoes)? now I know you guys are just ripping me off.

I call shenanigans on Torrid and shipping rates.

Dear Torrid,

As a lover of avant garde fashions, I would LOVE to see more fashion-forward pieces. While I realize they may not be the big money-makers like many other pieces, there ARE fashionable young women who would love to be able to wear structured and voluminous types of clothing and would be willing to pay a bit more for it, if it was well-made. I see some good things happening such as with this piece and also this dress (which I personally am in love with). It would be great to see these types of pieces more often.


where is that tank/paperbag waist dress??? i WANT it.

I second (or third or fourth) all of the comments above. Especially:
(1) The quality of most of your clothing is atrocious
(2) The price of your products is out of line
(3) The sizing is never right
(4) Please make bigger sizes

Dear Torrid
I live in Australia and think your shipping fees are abhorrent. Also I get really confused about your sizing - what is with all the shifting measurements for the same size?

I like that your shoes are wide fitting, but you have absolutely zero arch support in them. So some of that would be fabulous too.

Pip pip cheerio

Yes! The shoes are wearable and wide, but they are completely lacking in support. And cute flats made of something other than plastic and vinyl would be great, because I don't know about y'all, but bare skin and plastic does not make for a pleasing combination. Even just a fabric in-step of some kind would be helpful. And, where did all of the cute flats go? I don't mean skimmers, and I don't mean sandals. Flats! Where are they?

Dear Torrid,
Your products are often over-priced, poorly made, and sized very strangely from one item to the next. This is unacceptable.

Plus, your website takes forever to load and is horrific to view. Things should appear in more than one place, such as a clearance dress being under the normal dress section as well as clearance.

I'm also tired of your guessing at what is office-wear. Tube tops under a cropped cardigan? No. Not unless your office is a streetcorner.

You've made me want to stop buying there, also because FedEx seems to not understand that when I put a specific note of 'Carrier please leave if no response', I don't want to have to drag my ass halfway across the county to pick up my package. Plus, over-priced items are fail in this day and age. If you're going to make crappy clothes--charge a helluva lot less.

All aboard the failboat,

"Plus, your website takes forever to load and is horrific to view. Things should appear in more than one place, such as a clearance dress being under the normal dress section as well as clearance."

YES. that really, really bothers me.

Dear Torrid:

People over the age of 25 (and gasp, those who actually already lived through the 80s) exist and would like to wear clothes. No, really. It's true! Please chill with the lame leggings, Flash Dance tops and hot neon pink everything. I'm not even saying to stop it-- I'm saying have two perspectives on occasion. I think of all the sad synthetics that had to die to make your current collection and I am saddened, so some natural fiber'd help too.


rather belatedly I am replying to say yes this.

Last month I was in the local Torrid and the girl there asked if she could help me. I replied "Sure! Do you have anything I didn't already wear in 1986?"

i would really like for torrid to go back to what it was like 10 years ago. when stuff was still red labels. when stuff was still MADE well. when you had more lip service and other 3rd party brands and less of your "private label" sure i know your profit margin is larger when you make your own stuff, but when a 3rd party does it better sometimes it is just best to leave well enough alone.

so how about making quality products instead of making bigger markups and shoddy merchandise. i know it is a wacky concept in a capitalistic society but other companies do it AND manage to keep their prices affordable so i know torrid is capable of it...i mean come on, you used to be higher quality AND more affordable and gosh darn it-- you can do it again!


I just have to say I LOVE your icon! Where did you find it? Or did you make it? Genius!

Hey Torrid.

I actually drop a good bit of cash in your store, and I do appreciate the 5% discount I get by being having the frequent-buyer club thing. That being said, I will agree with other posters in that I think your promotions could be more on par with Avenue or Lane Bryant.

I'm also going to go against the grain with everyone saying that they want "old" Torrid back- I'm not into retro or vintage stuff and I can see why you don't sell it. I personally would rather have stuff that is more on trend with current styles, and I would love it even more if you could get trendy pieces out a little sooner, it seems to me that y'all are behind anywhere from 6 months to 2 years with current fashion trends.

That being said, I get that you are trying to appeal to a wide demographic and from a business perspective, I get that. Seriously, the cheesy t-shirts and teenybopper stuff has got to go. And if you are trying to appeal to the teenybopper demographic moreso than those of us in our mid-20s and beyond, I guess that's cool, but your prices need to match the quality of what you are selling. A basic 'Torrid' brand top should not be anywhere near the $35 you often charge for it. I can go to Deb or Rainbow and get the same quality for half the price. The 'Torrid' brand clothes in general are really disappointing, the sizing terribly inconsistent and at this point, I only buy stuff from y'all that are from other designers.

That being said, I do find shopping in your store (Mall of America in MN) totally awesome and everyone there is great. But I will remain picky about what I buy from you and will keep shopping the clearance sales.


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Curious - why does the term "Diva Style" offend you?

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