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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 e-mailed customer service months ago about a dress i bought from you that fell apart before i even had the chance to try it on. i received no response whatsoever from you, which is beyond unacceptable. higher quality, lower prices, oh, and people who actually respond would be great.


I've found that if I want anything done, you have to call them. I've emailed them countless time and nada.

it's not me, it's definitely allllllll you.

Dear Torrid,
You know, I loved you when you first opened...but it just isn't there anymore. You're a one-night stand masquerading as a long-term boyfriend and it just ain't cutting it anymore. Maybe if you could change--make better quality clothes, cut the 100% synthetics, realize that fat girls want classy clothes too--we could work it out.
But, you know, I don't really think it'll ever happen. I'm tired of waiting for you to grow.
So I'm going to be seeing other stores for my clothing needs. I would say we could still be friends, but...I don't think that's gonna happen either.
So have a nice corporate life.


Dear Torrid,

I miss the pre-pink stuff. :( Alot. Also, some sleeves would be nice. 3/4 sleeves or even short sleeves....*something*!! But I will say you do a few things right. The wide calf boots are fab! Thanks tons for those. I only wish all of them were like that. Price wise, youre really overpriced and when you mark things down, its usually not very much. You really need more and better sales.

Dear Torrid,

You need a Raleigh, NC location. Who wants to drive three hours to Greensboro or five hours to Charlotte?

I've been disappointed with the quality of your merchandise. It frequently needs mending after one or two washes, even if I treat it as a delicate or hand wash it!

I'm a fan of your retro/rockabilly styles and miss them. I know you can't please everyone. But please, burn everything 80's related (okay you can keep a few basic leggings but that's it)!


Amen to the Raleigh, NC comment. We are the capital of the state, and one of the most populous counties. I believe we have enough people to buy your clothes.

Basics like camisoles and t-shirts being $16 and up is ridiculous.

I'll ditto the more natural fibers request. I've been shopping at Torrid since I was 16, and I'm 22 now. Quality on lots of items has gone down, and also the kinds of styles I would ever want to be buy have left your store. I wish that the bras were a bit better quality too. I find it much harder to find plunge bras at Lane Bryant now and you sell them in a 46 DDD. But after two days I've got underwires popping out and digging in to my ribcage or underarms. Other than a few of the "fashion" tops seems deciding to disintegrate, I don't have much issue with your clothes falling apart. But I agree that the quality was much better earlier in your inception.

More sizes would be good too. I've been hovering between 24/26 for a good 4 years or so, only recently to start really heading towards being a solid 26 all around and I'm terrified to be sized out of your store. I feel like stores like The Avenue and Lane Bryant don't really appeal to me at my age and my desired personal style, they're too matronly and TOO EXPENSIVE. It's not fair, really, to stop at that size when there are lots of women who wish they too could dress young and contemporary but just don't fit into your size range.

Also, what kind of crack are your buyers smoking? This Ed Hardy stuff is tacky as all hell. Just because Ed Hardy is "designer" doesn't mean that any of this shit will look good or is worth the outrageous price you want to sell it for. Why not work with creating a line with a prominent fashionable plus size celebrity for a line like they do in the UK? Beth Ditto has a line coming out for New Look in the UK that is going to be plus sized. That would be cool. I'd want things that are more rock inspired, more modern and on point with CURRENT fashion that people who wear straight sizes can go out and buy with ease. I'm a young, modern, trendy woman. I want to people to dress like other young, modern, trendy women do and not be three seasons behind.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. STOP WITH THE TWILIGHT SHIT. No I do not want a Team Edward or Team Jacob shirt. No I do not want a perfume that is ripping off Nina Ricci. Twilight is not fashion. Twilight is a terrible book written by a terrible woman as a terrible example of "love" or, rather, how a guy is a stalker possessive pyscho and a girl with no personality of her own being completely codependent being marketed as "true love", that impressionable young girls might read, has no place in a clothing store. Leave that shit in Hot Topic if you must.

Also, one more thing. Why all of a sudden have your shoes gotten so narrow? They used to come manufactured wider, now they're really narrow and rather insufficient in the arch support department. Work on that.

Annnnd I'm out. Peace.

Edited at 2009-05-13 04:34 pm (UTC)

Beth Ditto has a line coming out for New Look in the UK that is going to be plus sized.

I thought she was designing the line for Evans. Wahh, I hope it's not New Look because I don't think they ship to the US.

Dear Torrid:

Please use conventional size numbers instead of your own system. Also, your stuff was much more cool when you offered the "edgy" gothy type stuff like your parent Hot Topic instead of being a slightly edgier version of Old Navy.
Oh, and not everyone who's "plus-size" is tall or starts their shoe size at 8 or 9.

Eh, never mind. I'll just go somewhere else. Thanks anyway.

I agree with all of this!

*speaks the 5'2", size 5 shoe-wearing alternative grrl*

Dear Torrid,

Is it really necessary that every (okay, I'm hyperbolizing a bit) piece of clothing in your store be of a stretchy, clingy material?

Just wonderin'.


Dear Torrid,

When you first opened, I was thrilled. At the time, Lane Bryant was stuck in stodgy old-fat-lady wear and it was great to have clothing options geared towards the younger, more stylish fats.

Nowadays, we seem to have aged in different directions. I am 34 and I don't wear ruffled pink dresses, Flashdance sweatshirts, leggings, "boycrazy" tshirts, spangled sparkly tubetops, short short skirts or "bubble" skirts or in fact most of the kind of stuff that you seem to peddle these days (at ridiculous prices, I might add).

Look, I understand that you're sort of the fat chick's Hot Topic, and that's cool. On the other hand, you market a lot of "work wear" and dress up clothes that are really neither, and at prices that I'm surprised most young(er) people can afford. I'm fortunate that I can - but I rarely shop with you because I can't find anything that doesn't make me feel like I look like I'm desperately trying to relive 1988.

I'd like to see: more round/circle/flounce cut skirts; more grown-up stylish vintage-esque (tailored blouses, pinstripes on more than just micro pencil skirts); better quality construction and non-synthetic fabrics; a better color palette; true honest-to-god sizing, perhaps using the well-known 18/20/22/24/26/etc; clothes that go up to size 28-30 and beyond; and REASONABLE PRICES ($78 for this? Really?)

I love to shop and I have money to spend. Unfortunately for us both, I won't be spending it with you until I see some changes.


Hell yes to a better color palette...I look like ass in the usual parade of sherbet colors I've seen on the website lately.

*reposting my other comment*

It would helpful if there was online reviews like Target does. Since a lot of customers buy clothing online it would help them to know beforehand if, in this particular dress, they should size up or down. It would definitely save a lot of hassle with returning items.

Re: *reposting my other comment*

except they don't want to give us a chance to bitch about the clothes on their website.....

Dear Torrid,

As someone who worked at Hot Topic as a teenager, and has supported Torrid from the moment it opened (I think my first online order was in 1999? That could have just been the plus sized line at Hot Topic, but I digress) I have seen your quality of product diminish, your prices go up, and your design become more and more offbeat with what fat women are seeking. However, I still support your efforts and do refer many of my friends to Torrid when they can't find what they're looking for.

I love shopping in your stores, and think your customer service is actually very good. However, I have to wonder if you ever seek out FAT designers that design for FAT women specifically. I ask this because as someone who still purchases clothing and accessories from your store at least 4 times per year, I occasionally get an item that is so ill-fitting or misshapen, that I can't imagine any type of real thought was put into the design. I myself am a fat designer making clothing for fat women, and spend lots of time dealing with shape and cut.

I have many, many ideas for ways your store and designes can be more successful. I encourage you to contact me via email or phone so we can talk about it.

Rachel Kacenjar, owner, designer, and seamstress of cupcakeandcuddlebunny.com

Thanks for the URL, I'm checking you out ;)

Dear Torrid,

I have been a large fan of your store and I am always looking online and when I get to the mall. I am always drooling over your shoes. They are beautiful and I love that you made them all in wide. Have you thought about making them in half sizes? I have always been a 7 1/2 wide and your 7s are too small and your 8s are too big. I think it would help if you some half sizes.

HALF-SIZES, YES!!! 9.5 wides are impossible to find.

Dear Torrid,

Your store is my favorite place to buy dresses (as I like the styles), yet I find myself not purchasing many because of the quality of fabric. I absolutely loathe that jersey/poly-blend fabric, as it tends to pill and look cheap after washing, particularly in the less casual styles. I would be more inclined to spend 70 dollars on a dress if it were something of quality that would look good to an evening out and wouldn't look worn by the third wash.

Dear Torrid-

1) I agree with most others here that the retro styles desparately need to return. They were quality clothes I felt great in and actually still have. They are still great quality and are versatile enough to wear just about anywhere. Stop Staring needs to be brought back most definitely.

2) I don't buy acid wash, floral patterns, tye-dye, most animal prints, patchwork, feather prints, neon colors, etc. I prefer more solid colors in which I wont feel totally ridiculous and unprofessional. Believe it or not, I actually wear nice non-frumpy clothing to work or to dinners.

3) I do not mind paying $60-80 for a great quality dress. However, I'm not going to purchase an Ed Hardy something-or-other for $100+. If you want to charge something like $125 for a Stop Staring retro dress, I'm all yours...this is because they are usually more versatile and worth the price.

4) While I like divastyle, doing something competitive as suggested above would be outstanding.

5) Could you please make more regular, non-thonged underwear. Lane Bryant's quality has gone extremely downhill and I've appreciated the quality (and designs) of your non-thongy underwear.

6) I am still happy you finally put stores in Austin. The Barton Creek staff are great. I just don't spend as much time in the store because of the lack of useful clothing.

Thank you,

I love that you ship to the UK (though not so much the crappy shipping charges, but there's nothing to be done with that!)

However, some of the stuff recently has been a little... lacking. I love Torrid for it's edgy, alternative, I'm-big-and-dress-well, but some of the stuff I wouldn't be seen with my Mum wearing. Some of the colours/prints are a little bemusing and I kinda wonder who let them in (did someone buy a roll of stuff down the pub one night and need to get rid of it cheap? *lol*)

That's about all I can think of for now - might be back later! :)


me x

(Deleted comment)
agreed on the empire waists. even at torrid, an empire waist hits me at the nipples, which is not a look i would ever buy.