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DEAR TORRID: A love/hate letter.
Fats: TWO WHOLE CAKES
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.

Cheers,
theoryofgravity

PS: Your cardigans are RIDICULOUSLY OVERPRICED.

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 pretty much a piggyback on some of the comments I've read, but I wanted to add my 2 cents.

Dear Torrid,

When I first heard of your existence, I had to drive to Portland to shop in your store, but I was thrilled -- and even more thrilled when a store opened near me a year later. But I only ever found a few tops that fit me (and my style), and none of your bottoms ever fit. Since then I have outgrown even your tops and hoodies, though I still hold onto them in hopes one day I will fit into them again -- I liked them that much. In fact two of the hoodies I still have were my favorites for so long, I have considered finding a way to have them altered to fit me now, even though they are visibly worn.

I love your styles for the most part, but I agree that the prices are a bit much. Plus size is no longer a small market (pun totally not intended) that can be exploited for exorbitant prices. There are fats all over the place, and we will shop at other places to A) get better prices, B) get better quality, and C) get bigger sizes. If you want more business, you should expand your business to fit us bigger women, both our tops and our bottoms. It is so hard to find alternative clothes in bigger sizes, so if you extended your sizes a bit I'm sure you'd get a TON more business. You would get my business for sure. I am even *willing* to pay a little more for items that would fit my style, if only they were available in my size. In fact, all of the places that carry 3x or above have those sizes sell out first because they are so popular, either in bigger folks or folks who enjoy looser fitting clothing. Just for added clarification, I wear up to 38/40 or 5x, depending on who you talk to, and I would love to see these sizes available in your clothes. Shirts/tunics that are 30" or longer are also fabulous.

I would also love to see more Torrid items in the Hot Topic style -- when I first saw the Torrid store, it was way too pink for me. Some of us aren't as "girly" as others, and personally I like a wide range of styles and colors, but the "goth/punk/etc" didn't shine through as much in Torrid as it did at Hot Topic, and I'd like to see more of that again. I would especially love to see some of the band t-shirts that Hot Topic offers in bigger sizes, with different cuts (baby doll, etc.) that would actually fit us.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to your customers, if you've had a chance to make it this far through our comments. We appreciate what you provide, but we also appreciate when you listen to what we want/need from you as a provider, and hope that you will make some changes that will be mutually beneficial.

Dear Torrid,

I think we need to talk about our relationship.

I'm worried that we're going in different directions, as if we're two ships passing in the night. You're not the same store you were 5 years ago when I met you, but I'm not the same person that shopped there either. We've both gotten older, a little wiser, and a little bigger. The old you was fun and exciting and everything I wanted in a store, but the new you has almost completely alienated me.

You see, I have needs, and you're ignoring them.

I need interesting pieces that can be worn in an office setting without looking boring. Call it...office goth or corporate goth-lite. Think of it as a compromise between the pre-pink Torrid and the current offerings.

I need fewer low-rise pants and more petites.

I need less Ed Hardy(seriously, I didn't like it in the beginning, but VH1 has pretty much killed any chance of redemption), less House of Dereon, less Baby Phat, and less Apple Bottoms. The last two were fairly ubiquitous before you started carrying them, so they'll be fine without you. Also, none of them even cover your full size range.

I need more Betsey Johnson, at least she designs her own line, unlike the above brands. Try talking her into a full line and not just handbags.

I need more fat positivity from you in general. Your years of fat-neutrality have been appreciated, but I think we need to take things to the next level. Bring back the fat-friendly literature. It doesn't have to be all non-fiction. There's a new batch of fat-neutral and fat-positive fiction out there, too.

Can we also get a better shoe selection? I'm so sick of ballet flats because they aren't meant for the walking I do. I don't want 3 or 4 inch heels either because I don't have the arches for it.

Of course, all of this is pointless if you don't expand your size range. I can't fit into any of your pants or fitted skirts at all, even with the spandex. Your dresses and tops accommodate a small 28, but your pants don't even come in that size.



Dear Torrid,
Please pay attention to the oft repeated in this thread idea of quality vs price. If your quality is below say Kmart but you're charging Macy's prices there is a problem.

Also, your shoes. Again with the quality vs price issue. Also, if your shoes are noted that they fit wider food and calf, it would probably be a good idea to have them fit a wider foot and calf in a more consistent way.

Please and thank you.



Torrid,

First of all, I constantly receive wonderful service at your West County Center, Missouri location. The staff there is always helpful. Lately I've been noticing upper management and district managers being in the store and I've noticed that unlike a lot of sales associates, the upper staff thus far has not been plus sized. I say this only because I wonder about your marketing department.

You have two types of customer bases: those younger with lower incomes who want to be hip, stylish and fashion-forward and then those a little older, with more to spend, maybe looking for a vintage look or a career look while still being fashion-forward. You should adjust your price points and quality to reflect this. Feel free to make Forever 21 copycats in a larger size but make the price reflect the quality. No item should really be over $25 for that set. For more career-oriented women, try actually stitching clothing together and even adding lining. Fat girls like their clothes lined too. You can lower your costs for one price point and sell more and make up for the slight increase in costs for your upper price point and still be profitable.

Also, just because I'm fat and have some breasts doesn't mean I want to show them off all the time. Some shirts that don't over-expose my cleavage would be nice. I also would like my arms hidden as well as my business casual policy does not allow exposed arms.

I must also question why you continue to put your stores in locations that tend to be more upscale locations with a generally slimmer population. St. Louis is more than just West County where all the people with money hang out.

Dear Torrid-

I feel that we could possibly have a relationship, but so far it has only been a mild flirtation. This is because 1) your pricing is too high for non-natural fibers and super trendy styles that won't go the distance 2) your return policy and 3) lack of stores in my area. I would love to shop in your stores, but the nearest one is a 3 hour round-trip. A store in Raleigh, NC would be much appreciated. And when I have a plethora of stores in my area, I see no need to spend the time and gas to go to yours. I recently made an order with you, and found the sizing to be...interesting. I wish you would standardize your sizing.

Dear Torrid,

WHY DO 50% OF YOUR KNIT DRESSES HAVE A BANDED BOTTOM? I have come to hate looking at dresses on torrid.com because time and time again I find dresses that I think are adorable...until I get to the bottom. I'm not saying stop making banded bottom dresses entirely. But what's so wrong with different silhouettes?

PS: THIS GOES FOR BUBBLE DRESSES TOO.

Dear Torrid,

I'd rather buy from eShakti. Yeah, buying from them is kinda iffy, but at least most of their fabrics are natural fibers instead of unbreathing synthetics and their shipping and exchange policies are WAY better than yours.

Much unlove,

leoparda

I agree with so much of what has been said above. I have a compulsive need to buy cardigans, boleros, and crop sweaters in every color on earth, but I just can't afford to buy many things from Torrid, especially when there are so few discounts and sales. And egad, if I buy something on clearance and it doesn't fit (this has happened), I should at least be allowed to trade it in for the same item in a size that fits, if it's still available.

That said, I have a couple of other comments that I haven't seen anyone else make yet.

1) I love your belts. I have three or four from this season alone, and I want more, in more colors. ALL THE COLORS THERE ARE. Red belts, yellow belts, green belts, orange belts. Not with skulls on them. (Feel free to make belts with skulls on them. But that's not what I have in mind). Wide belts. Narrow belts. Maybe more that aren't elastic in the back, though I like the combination leather/elastic ones, too. I love my black belt with the enameled, feather-motif buckle so much that I wanted to buy a second one, but you were out of my size. I love my brown woven one with the interesting ring-shaped clasp. BELTS, BELTS, BELTS.

2) If you bring back more retro styles - like me-size versions of all those Stop Staring dresses that make me weep because I can't fit into them - I will beg, borrow, or steal to be able to buy them. But it would please me greatly if your retro items were available in more than just red and black. I appreciate the punk and goth vibe, but I personally love variety. This goes for your skirts, too. I just don't need any more black skirts. But I can't keep my hands off of anything plaid, striped, orange, green, etc. The more variety you carry, the more I'm likely to buy.

Dear Torrid, Why are all of your jeans low-rise? At a plus-size store, really? Can we at least get a mid-rise that's actually a mid-rise? Can we get better fabrics and materials that don't fall apart. The price isn't that great of an issue when the quality supports it. Also, I agree with the no refunds on clearance. How the hell will we know if it fits? By looking at a picture? I haven't shopped at your store since I picked up the wrong type of Spanx and was told I couldn't exchange it because it was an undergarment. I was exchanging for a different pair of Spanx. People who have options don't choose Torrid.

Dear Torrid,

My dream would be that someday your stores have plethoras of feathers and cream lace and crochet hats and awesome shoes and leather belts and simple, all-cotton dresses, ala a plus-size Urban Outfitters. I don't think you'll ever be that, but thanks for getting out of your goth/"punk" phase. That was a good, holy thing you did.

ALSO - open a store in Columbia, MO. You are seriously missing out on thousands of plus-size fatshionista college students. I also hated having to drive two hours to use my divacard birthday present. :(

I would also like to add: Hello from KANSAS! Have you ever heard of us? We're in the middle. Wichita is the largest city in the state, and our current plus size stores are Lane Bryant, Catherines, and Fashion Bug. There are fat people in Wichita, I swear to God, I have seen them!

I don't think people from outside the midwest how long and boring it is to drive across the vast swatches of land around here. So while I only live 40 minutes from one, in the past I totally felt your pain.

What everyone has said, especially about quality vs price, and also:

Please implement a way to sort by size on your website. Please. I go to your clearance section, and think maybe I want to buy some pants. But I click on pant after pant and see that all that's left is a size 12. I don't mind that--it's the nature of clearance. No big deal. But eventually I get tired of clicking and give up. I wouldn't have to do all that clicking if I could sort by size. Every other shopping website has it. Surely the coding wouldn't be that hard. I honestly would buy a lot more if I didn't have to search so hard for my size. Do it for us lazy people. It will be so easy, and make you so much money.

Holy crap, you listened! You just made my bargain shopping so much easier.

Hi there.
So it's been a good while since I spent real money there huh? Remember the days when I'd drop around 600 a month? Yea, those were good times. Remember how you had a awesome variety of punk/goth/rockabilly clothing then too? Guess what? They say hi. I'm still wearing them now.

Thin denim sucks. thin tee shirts suck. no sleeves suck. Glittery crap sucks. Fix this. it's not too hard. However I'm so glad to have the current manager at the torrid in Montgomery mall Maryland. she was there for a while and left, and the time between her being employed there was a horrid time that I don't care to think about. She's a delight.

Dear Torrid,

How about manufacturing some of your clothes in the US again to help bring some jobs here, and making some of your products green/sustainably? Human rights and environmentalism are sexy, and generally, well-paid workers do a better job at making clothes. The "alternative" demographics you serve are particularly well-suited to hearing about sustainable/ethical business practices.

I get most of my clothes made by individual designers and through small businesses on Etsy these days, because they fit me perfectly, are made out of natural fabrics, and are made ethically. I'm almost always disappointed when I walk into Torrid.

Also, how about opening a new store for adults? Fat girls don't stop being fashionable after age 29.

I echo the quality sentiments of the other Fatshionistas and, as theoryofgravity says, you'd have my cash if you made plus versions of Stop Staring's and other curve-friendly designers' clothing.

You might also want to consider designing for different body types, like Lane Bryant's "Right Fit" line. I have a tiny waist and a huge ass, and this is a common fat girl body type, but the sizing at Torrid is mostly suited to people who are less curvaceous. Maybe do a study of your customers and see what their body types are like instead of just grading up your patterns? That would rule.

Also, philanthropy? Hot Topic has it's music foundation, but what do you do? Fat girls are interested in many things, but our civil rights is a big one, and also food sustainability would be a natural tie-in. We like music, too, incidentally.

I'd also be happy to work in your marketing department if you paid me $100K per year and I could work out of my home in the San Francisco Bay Area at least half time. Maybe hire some other of these fine people from Fatshionista, too, if you're really looking for informed help.

Yours,
amarama


Dear Torrid,
Everything has pretty much been said already but I'm going to restate and possibly? add a couple of things.
First off I completely and totally agree with everyone about the prices being a tad ridiculous for the quality of your clothing.
Pretty much EVERY time I've ordered from you I've only ever ordered clothing from the clearance section and the occasional item at regular price if I REALLY love it and I'm worried it'll sell out.
I've been reading a lot of complaints to revert to your old stylings. I do agree to an extent that I'd like to see some edgier items in your stores, however I've grown out of my tacky "punk" phase.
I fully support retro themed classy looking clothing.
Take some tips from Hot Topic in fact! The last few times I've been in there I've noticed a complete turn around from band shirts baggy pants and studded crap to retro inspired pin up classy clothes. I WANT THOSE OPTIONS! I'm always sad when I'm in a Hot Topic and can't buy these kind of things. If I could fit into their clothing I'd spend a lot in there.
I'd also love to see some (correct me if I'm wrong here) European? inspired fashions ie: things you can find in H&M. I myself am not an "inbetweenie" and can not fit into anything from there.
That said. I ADORE their clothing! I shop there with my boyfriend and everything in there is to die for. (In my personal opinion).
You can put together SO many different looks from the clothing they offer. AND at amazing prices (also in my opinion).
If you aimed to be more like H&M I think you'd be set. They offer so much versatility. You can put together classy looks, daytime & evening wear, club attire, office appropriate/conservative looks, "edgier" looks, street wear, scene, indie, etc. The possibilities are endless.
And the only other thing I can think of that really bothers me are the following.
I am a skirt wearer. I LOVE skirts.
I haven't worn a pair of pants out of my house since I was in grade 10 (NO JOKE). So that was probably about..15 or 16. And I'm now 21.
I love skirts because I feel they hide my belly well and don't outline my shape (which I'm a bit insecure about).
Along with so many other reasons. Bottom lines skirts are just plain awesome.
Now the thing is. For the past few years I find I don't come across many skirts that I LIKE from your store. Your skirt collection is GRIM!
Another thing that's GRIM. Your hoodie collection!
WHAT IS THAT?
I'm a hoodie kind of girl. And the ones you get in are generally hideous OR the ones I've liked within the past year or so I've noticed this ongoing trend of making them 3 quarter sleeve/elbow length. NO SIR! Not appreciated.
So I'd really like a bigger hoodie/skirt selection. I'm good on my shirts.
And one last thing. I agree with one comment I came across that said your cardigans are over priced.
WAYYY OVER PRICED! I have 2 that I may have paid full price for (we're talking about $32-38) and the quality? HA! I can find that quality at Wal Mart for $12-20. (Not in my sizing however).
Point is when I received them I was VERY disappointed in how cheap they were for upwards of 30 dollars.
I believe this is all.
Take Care!

-Longing For More Style Options @ Better Prices

PS: When I send your customer service 2 e-mails with a question I expect some sort of answer. DO REAL PEOPLE WORK THERE?