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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.

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.

(Deleted comment)
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.


(Deleted comment)
Curious - why does the term "Diva Style" offend you?

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Dear Torrid

1. Sleeves. Not all girls wanna show off their bingo wings. SLEEVES
2. Stop making your clothes so fucking short. I'm 5-9, I want a skirt that hits my knees and a shirt that hits my hips.
3. Bring back the BLACK. I used to live to go shopping there, my favorite skirt I have had to resurrect and voo doo back to life was from you and it's black and lacy and the best. That skirt sailed a thousand ships and got me the cutest damn boyfriend ever.
4. Someone needs to seriously take a sizing seminar, I've bought 2 things from you in five years that have been handed down to a friend because they don't even remotely fit me. 2x for who????? exactly.

No wonder I wear men's clothes half the time.


Dear Torrid:

If i wanted to shop at DEB or Rainbow or Dots, I'd shop there. I don't understand why your store chose to compromise quality once the stores expanded. I used to drive almost 3 hours to my closest Torrid. Now, I won't drive 30 minutes to the closest one, even for big clearance sales.

Not only is your clothing poorly made, most of it is ugly now and made from synthetic fabric.

ditto. even if i'm actually 12 minutes away, i still usually skip it.

Dear Torrid,

Please lower your prices, or make your clothes better quality. 5 years ago, I bought a shirt from you. It is still one of my favorite shirts, and I still wear it a lot. Nothing I have bought from you recently has lasted nearly as long. Also: $24 for a tank top? Who are you kidding?!

Please stop making everything look like it is for clubbing. I am 22 years old, probably part of your target demographic, and I hate "club" clothes. I do not want to wear a fancy halter top every day. In fact, I never want to wear a fancy halter top.

There are some pluses: I love your sweaters. I like wearing a thin sweater, basic jeans, and a heels most days. Most of your sweaters fit the bill well. I also love your shoes, handbags, and hair goods.

I wish your lingerie came with cup sizes, instead of your standard 1-4 sizes. I have a couple of pieces, and both have very small cups, and so they do not look very good on. Although, I do appreciate that you have sexy lingerie and that it is relatively fairly priced.

Thank you for asking for our opinions. It shows a commitment to customer service.

I agree about the handbags and accessories. I have gotten some of my most favorite, cutest purses at Torrid.

Dear Torrid:

When you first opened, I dropped at least a couple hundred dollars a week in your store consistently. Your clothing was fun, funky, and the quality matched the price. I had no problem spending $50-$80 for a dress that felt like it would last. And your Tripp and Morbid Thread items did last.

I was working at Torrid part time when you switched from the black flame heart to the pink...and it broke mine. Most of your items nowadays are trashy, not trendy. And the quality compared to the price is not in line.

If you want to style yourself as a boutique, take a look at the changes Lane Bryant has made recently, and model yourself after them. They now offer higher quality, less mass produced items, and I've started shopping there again after a hiatus of 5 years or so.

I'd be happy to drop cash at your door if you made similar changes and brought back your original designs: punk dresses with flattering silhouettes and colors/patterns, bowling shirts fitted for womens' bodies, capris with goth detailing, knee-length circle skirts with bad ass designs embroidered on them, and just generally more darksider options. Add to that vintage pin-up girl dresses, shirts and capris in larger sizes, and I'm telling you, it would be a gold mine!

Hoping you take my and others' suggestions to heart,


Most of your items nowadays are trashy, not trendy.


Hi Torrid,

Please please pleeeease make international shipping less evil. I would have bought items from your store if that were the case. Often I've seen something I adored, only to find that the shipping would cost more than the item itself. That being said I'm kind of glad I haven't bothered, given everyone's bitching about quality.

Full-figured clothing options are expanding every day, and the only way you're going to keep being successful in this business is to outperform your competitors in one (or ideally all) arenas. So improve your quality and/or cut your prices, as well as introducing clothing that applies to a wider (hah) demographic. Then take a look at your customer service policies, because I know quite a number of people who have had issues with yours. Keep in mind that people will become brand loyal, but you've got to give them a reason in the first place.

Also: I think it'd be a neat idea to start up a men's section. Guys come in larger sizes too, and I imagine the big and tall sections don't always cater to the younger men's market. Jus' sayin'.


Also: I think it'd be a neat idea to start up a men's section. Guys come in larger sizes too, and I imagine the big and tall sections don't always cater to the younger men's market. Jus' sayin'.

This. I know that I would buy guy's stuff if they had it, and some of my handsome and fat male friends would, too!