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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.

I guess I'm going to be the only way to say that I don't particular care about or want to wear baggy goth pants with straps, most things with TRIPP on the tag, hoodies with cat ears, etc. because I am no longer 12 and all of those things remind me of middle school in the 90s. I would definitely believe that they had trouble selling these items and think that this community might be skewed because while I see people wear these things in OOTDs, I don't really see a lot of people wear them from day to day. However, these seem to be enough people asking for it that they should not have done away with it entirely. I would like to see edgier clothing, maybe rock and roll/punk INSPIRED things that are both fashion-forward and interesting. I would like to see some trends come out before they're already 3 seasons old. And please, COTTON.

Dear Torrid-

About 90% of the stuff you sell looks tacky; not everyone who shops in your stores are Paramore fans. And your house brand sucks. It always falls apart. And everything costs way too much for what it is. And you're really about six months behind on trends - sometimes up to a year.

I only buy jeans from you anymore, if that, just because the skinny jeans you sell are usually actually skinny and don't go up three inches over my belly button. But really, you could do better.

Hell, just try to do something that doesn't suck.

Dear Torrid,
I loved you when you were new and catering to more of the "punk" crowd.
I was thrilled. I have been a plus sized "punk" girl my whole life.

Finally a store made just for me. I could walk in and buy bondage pants, a red plaid skirt, a cute cardigan with skulls on it and some crazy paltform boots. All my life I wanted a place like that.
And for a couple of bright, shiny years, you were THE place!

Then you left me but you gave me a small section called "Edge" occasionally I can find something there but my goodness your prices have gone high and is it just me or did your quality go way down?

You hurt my feeling, Torrid. You betrayed me with your Apple Bottoms, Baby Phat and other lables that are popular with the hip-hop crowd.

I would like to echo what some others have said about brining in retro pin-up styles. I would love that.
So bring back the tripp, the lip service, the morbid treads, bring on the Stop Staring! The lucky 13 and Rock Steady.

There are so so so many of us plus sized rockabilly, punk, goth, emo, alternative types out there that would support you.


This x 1000.

Bring back the brands, raise the quality, and lower international shipping.

Dear Torrid,

Please bring back all the fabulous skull & crossbones sundresses, lovely Illig items, MAC girl, Serious & all the other fabulous alternative items you used to make me so happy with.

We miss you pre-pink torrid.

Thank you


I have never purchased anything from one of your stores, for many of the reasons detailed above--cheap synthetics, overpriced, not on-trend, crap shipping and return policies, etc. I don't personally care if you have punk or goth styles, but would like to see fashion forward stuff, like rebelyusoul mentioned, and lots and lots of cotton, silk and wool! Why not go crazy and experiment with some eco fibers like organic cotton and bamboo (which is cheap and much more durable than many of the fibers you are currently employing).If I never see another acrylic sweater, polyester "charmeuse," or poly-blend woven shirt, it will be too fucking soon. Some retro stuff would be nice, too, but can we break out of the retro=50s mold for once, and try, say, 40s or 20s styles? Just a thought. Maybe taking your design cues from H&M, Forever 21 (but not the fabrications, eww), Limited, Ann Taylor Loft, and even the Gap would be a step in the right direction.

Another reason I haven't bought from you is that I cannot stand your physical stores. In the mall I frequent most often, Bloomington, MN's Mall of America, I have the option of shopping at four major department stores, Lane Bryant, and a few other plus retailers (and some straight-size retailers that stock the higher end of those sizes, like Old Navy), in addition to Torrid. Almost all of these stores feature wider aisles, racks that are not overstuffed with merchandise, and less obnoxious loud music (seriously, when did retailers decide we all want music blaring in our ears as we shop? at least you don't pump cologne into the atmosphere, so there is that). There is nothing that enrages me more than walking into a store that "caters" to plus sizes and find that I can barely squeeze between the racks with my chosen items. It just screams corporate cluelessness. So yeah, bigger stores, more room for the people who shop there.

I do appreciate that you want the feedback of fashionable fats. Since you have cornered the market on under 30 fats, and this is hardly a time when companies are starting up to zero in on that audience, you can pretty much do what you like and people will grudgingly buy your (overpriced, tacky--sorry my right brain took over for a minute!) clothes. So thanks for wanting to improve regardless of that fact.

You are very expensive. I second theoryofgravity's qualm about your dresses but would also like to add that I would enjoy your products more if they went up to a size 30 or 32. In store.



Your quality is abysmally poor, especially given the price. I have had a 30+ dollar blouse rip as I was putting it on the first time. Unacceptable! Given that the store closet to me is an hour away, trying to return shoddy merchandise is a royal pain.

There are quite a few things you need to do in order to satisfy this consumer, but since my fellow fats have articulated some of my needs I will only briefly reiterate my points. You absolutely need to make larger sizes, improve the quality and construction of your pieces (how about lining your dresses?) or lower your prices, and hand in hand with quality and construction goes re-thinking some of your fashion and making a wider variety of "collections" instead of collections that simply recycle tired tube dresses and short sleeve cardigans in old and boring colors and patterns. Whatever crack team you have designing for you isn't cutting it. Maybe these things that are so obvious to us are not obvious to you because your work isn't a labor of love anymore. I'm tired of you Torrid but if you want this relationship to work you need to listen to me and act.

PS: Enough with your terrible cultural appropriations. It's inexcusable and fucked.

Dear Torrid,
All those to comment before me have made some excellent statements, so I won't beat a dead horse. These are the things most important to me.

First and foremost, NATURAL FIBERS. In recent years, I've grown weary of sweating profusely in almost every environment due to non-breathable clothes, and have made the commitment to keep my fat out of, namely, polyester. It really annoys me to love the look of a piece only to have to poo-poo it due to fiber content. You've lost many, many sales from me as well as others, I'm sure.

ENOUGH with the halter tops and tube tops, especially in dresses! At a size 22 with 44D's, strapless bras are viciously uncomfortable for more than a few hours. Anybody looks like crap when they're writhing in discomfort. I just don't do it. Either start putting some sort of built-in support in these garments (shelf bra rather than underwire, thanx. It's nigh impossible to make underwires that will work for the majority of your customers.) or just cut it out.

Also, can we please have more Bermuda shorts options? Many of us feel that shorter inseams are both unflattering and uncomfortable (due to the dreaded Chub Rub.) Capris are good too, but most of what I've seen on your site recently has been of the butt-ugly, do-not-want variety.

I'm also a fan of bringing back the pre-pink styles. Also...most of the "edge" stuff these days looks goofy as hell. C'mon, now. I want black and/or red clothes with simple punk-y details, not some goofy-ass allover print tee with MOAR AND MOAR embellishments on top of that! And can the lame leggings and neon pink shit die in a fire, already?

Also, how about opening a store in Valdosta, GA or Tallahassee, FL? There's a pretty large underserved market in these parts. I have to drive to Jacksonville or Gainesville (2 hours, either way) to try anything on in person, which is a nice luxury, given your inconsistent sizing!

I'd really like to remain a customer.

P.S. PLEASE STOP ATTACKING THE CLOTHES WITH A BEDAZZLER. They did nothing to you. That's the quickest way to keep me from buying something because it's tacky as hell and will make the piece look dated long before I've gotten my money's worth out of wearing it.

Dear Torrid,

I actually like the majority of what you sell and would no longer shop there if you return to more alternative clothing. That being said, I think your prices are ridiculous for what you offer, as Forever 21's new Faith21 sells items of similar quality for far less than you do... and now that it exists, I am less and less inclined to shop at Torrid unless it's the 50% off clearance sales as I have found a cheaper alternative unless you lower your prices to a more appropriate level.

Just my .02.

Dear Torrid,

While I understand having some selection of halter style/tube dresses and bathing suits, I just can't understand why MOST of your items are this style. As a plus size woman, I have large breasts that require a serious bra. Halter does not work for me. Tube tops do not work for me. In fact, spaghetti straps do not work for me. I need well-made sturdy dresses to feed my addiction and I almost never find good options at your store.

Your quality of items needs to be SERIOUSLY increased. I am not ridiculously rough on my clothing. I don't wear things everyday until they die. I have encounter several items that simply fall apart after some normal wear. One shirt was sent to me, I wore it once, washed it and it literally was filled with big holes after I washed it. It was a t-shirt and was supposed to be fine in a washing machine.

One of my biggest angers with you is my beloved Hannah boots. They are a perfect staple in my wardrobe and were the first boots I found that fit my calves. I appreciate that SO much. That being said, they are completely ripped in the back after one winter with them.

I recently bought about 6 belts from you and I must say, I am very pleased. Your faux leather looking belts are crap and the black - whatever that material is - wore off as soon as I cinched the belt. The stretchy belts I bought I absolutely adore. The styles are cute and they have held up thus far. I wish your quality was more consistent.

I would really appreciate if you extended your sizes up slightly. I am a size 24 at Lane Bryant and I don't always fit in your clothes. Oh and please bring a store to NYC. Given that your quality is so terribly inconsistent, I hate to order from you online.

Finally, I want you to succeed. I appreciate greatly that you offer stylish plus size clothing. I have spent too long seeing older and more masculine styles in stores and I am happy to have an option like Torrid. Just do better.


"As a plus size woman, I have large breasts that require a serious bra. Halter does not work for me. Tube tops do not work for me. In fact, spaghetti straps do not work for me. I need well-made sturdy dresses to feed my addiction and I almost never find good options at your store."

Yes! I agree.

Dear Torrid,

I'm going to have to agree with what a lot of other folks have already said. Either bring up the quality of the clothing that you sell to match the price, in which case I will gladly consider buying more, or lower the prices accordingly to match quality. Also, and I'm not saying that you have to go back to offering only goth/punk/retro-styled stuff, but more different styles than you currently offer would be a godsend. I can't wear corset tops to work, nor can I wear really short skirts, cute as they are. More options, please! Some of my very favorite clothing has come from Torrid, but it's all Tripp stuff, so that's probably why. Bigger sizes would be very much appreciated as well.



P.S.--Also, more color options in bras would be nice.

While I agree that the quality needs to improve, honestly nothing that I own from Torrid has fallen apart so I don't know. Maybe its because I only certain things like Tripp skinny jeans and a few dresses. I agree that the sizing is super wonky though. Sometimes I'm a size 2 (which is supposed to be my real size) other times I'm in a 3 or 4 so consistency with that would be great.

Dear Torrid,

I first found out about you as a lonely, Hot-Topic-loving teen and was so excited that there was a way for me to wear my Gothy clothes and have them fit. I was already in size 12's by the time I was twelve and being both tall, curvy and young was a hard fit back then. You guys made me feel cute.

What happened?

I love it when you guys sell pencil skirts and other retro-esque attire, things I can crack out for a job interview and go straight to the club or LARP or a date with. Also, I'd love to see more Gothic styles available. Poet blouses, strappy jeans, pinstripes! Hell, if you could throw in a collection of retro pin-up swimsuits, I'd be thrilled. The ones I've found only go up to a 16 and that's not big enough for girls like me (I'm an 18 on a good day)

Yours Hopefully,

PS: The 1980's is retro, now, I guess. Just balance out the pink lace and black stripes with something that flatters us old-school dames? I love the '80's but I can't wear neon green to the office.

PPS: Don't get rid of all the '80's stuff. I like bright and high contrast stripes and polka dots and capri leggings, it all looks good on me. But I beg you, stop it with the slut wear masquerading as work wear. It's not cute and it's not flattering.

I recently went to Torrid with a $10 gift certificate. I shopped for over an hour and couldn't find anything to buy. Nada. Everything was ugly and/or didn't fit. A couple of years ago I would spend $200+ per pilgrimage. Some of my favorite pieces from Torrid are my boho cotton cropped jackets, my collection of short jackets and cardigans that nip in at the underbust or waist, and some dresses w/ sleeves that a)have a waist and b) are long enough to hit just below the knee. One thing I LOVE about Torrid is the number of tops that hit above the hip. I don't like long tops and they create more fitting problems for pear shapes. Please keep making shorter and cropped shirts, caridigans and jackets. If I want to buy a tunic, there are plenty of other places to do so. I'm usually happy with the lingerie, but I wish you had longer gowns and more creative designs.

I would like less garish colors and slutty "work wear" and more bohemian, romantic and retro-feeling pieces (1930s - 1970s). As others have mentioned, the 80s stuff drives me crazy. And the tube dresses. Please make it stop. I suppose the 80s are technically retro now, but that was just a bad decade for fashion. More skirts and dresses that hit at or below the knee would be great. And work clothes one might actually be willing to wear to work.

Totally down with this. I couldn't even find anything to spend my $10 b-day coupon on but a pair of earrings, and those were a stretch.