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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.

There are so many great points being made here. My hope is that Torrid reads through all this with an open mind and with the understanding that if we didn't think they had the potential to be a GREAT store, we wouldn't all share our thoughts!

I posted my open letter on my blog, since it got quite long and wordy.

Edited at 2009-05-14 02:50 pm (UTC)

OH! And as one more suggestion.
We have Penningtons/Addition Elle yes, but their style selection is quite different.
You'd do well here I'm sure.
I'll keep dreaming though.


You closed the only store in my end of the state. I haven't bought anything since, because gambling on sizing and quality when I would have to deal with your insane returns policy is not worth my time or money.

I don't particularly care about pre-pink coming back. I do care about a consistent product and reasonable prices.

dear torrid

i agree with what a lot of people are saying. i got into torrid because i liked the rockabilly dresses, the fact it was a plus size hot topic, i could get decent capri pants, platform shoes, off the shoulder tops, etc and they would fit.


uk buyer, annoyed by custom charges also

p.s i also emailed you 6 years about opening a shop in the uk. i was told that there was no market for torrid over here. you've got to be kidding! when i do an order, people fight over the stuff i get on ebay!!

Yeah that's just like they told me there was no market for their "pre-pink" stuff. They need to get a clue, really, do some research or something.

If I could fit into the stuff at Hot Topic, I would buy there, but c'mon Torrid, obviously there are A LOT of people missing your rockabilly/punk/goth stuff.

In 2003, I bought a cute checked rockabilly-style purse on clearance for $14. I carried that thing everywhere, and it held way more crap that it looked capable of containing. I had to retire it after nearly two years because the already thin straps were ready to break, but NOT YET THERE.

Two months ago I bought a cute star-print purse on clearance for $15. Less than a month later, the lame on the straps had peeled off, the (thick) handles were falling apart, the lining was shitty, and it only had two small pockets on the inside of a bag big enough to put a baby in. I cursed Torrid and immediately wished I'd spent my money on a Chloe knockoff, which would have costed the same, but actually been a better quality.

i am with you here...i bought a huge pink bag with a bow on it (umm yeah haha) on half-off clearance for...maybe about this same price, and already the magnetic snap clasp has pulled ITSELF out (the strength of the magnet was too much for the thin pleather?), the straps are stretching and tearing, one half of the bow has broken away from the bag, the stitching was actually loose when i bought it...
i would have been pretty mad if i had been foolish enough to buy this full price.

Dear Torrid,

I understand you had to change or you wouldnt survive,so I'm not going to hate on you too much. When torrid first opened my teenage self was so happy to have a cool alternative to lane bryant,but you have turned into lane bryant younger sister who is ONLY SLIGHTLY more fashionable.I'm not saying go back to goth or whatever but remember why you started - to be different from what everyone else was offering and now I can find clothes like what you sell ,same fabric,everywhere.
My Issues
Sorry to break it to you BB but Wal Mart has better quality, I wanted to cry when my David Bowie shirt started to tear after 5 wears.

Merchandise, the first time in forever recently I had a good amount of money to drop at Torrid ,but you guys had nothing for me not even basics and I left the store. I love it their was a plus size equivalent to Anthropologie ,Fred Flare ,Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel because I dont along with many other people dont want another lane braynt or avenue.

and most importantly more petite sizes not all plus size girls are tall. I would kill for petite dresses and skirts

*I would LOVE to have a knockoff of something I saw on the Paris runway

Bottom line:


I say this because I WANT to have a place to shop for clothes that are cute and that fit me. I suppose goth/punk fashions might be ok in moderation, but don't encourage that shit. I'm not 14 anymore, and the 14 year-olds now can't afford you!

Right now the only piece of Torrid clothing that I wear regularly is a black and white polka-dot skirt from about 2004...that I bought at a thrift store for $5.

Ya dig?

1. Please establish a store in Philly! It is inconvenient to borrow a car drive half an hour to the suburbs to shop when one lives within the 5th-largest city in America... I'd shop far more often if you had a city store.

2. Your clothes are incredibly expensive considering the low quality. With more plus size shops opening up (Faith 21, increasing online options) you will no longer hold a monopoly on youthful plus-sized clothes. Especially in this economy, you need to either raise the quality or drop the prices!

3. Your tops are almost all incredibly low-necked or sleeveless. While I appreciate these options, it would be nice to have clothes I could wear to work this summer without a tank-top underneath or a cardigan over.

4. A few actual cotton and leather items would be great. Synthetic materials don't cut it all the time!

PLEASE expand your repertoire to include Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie-type clothes. There are those of us who are no longer cutesy glitter-teens but who don't fit in the staid Lane Bryant demographic either.

1) The quality is horrible. Read above.
2) The prices are outrageous. Read above.
3) I'm really glad I don't live overseas after reading about the shipping costs. In the internet age, the whole world are your customers.
4) The website needs to meet disability standards set by experts. And whoever said to list the clearance in the product categories as well hit the nail on the head. Make shopping easy!
5) Your core audience has been marginalized by the fashion world and the community at large. So don't insult us- no products glorifying people and products that perpetuate fat discrimination (i.e. Twiggy, Playboy), and no weight loss promos!
6) If I want a shapeless sack with holes for my arms and head in a hideous abstract print, I'd go to Lane Bryant. Do your own thing.
7) Better sales and rewards. See previous posts.
8) Stop trying to be a fat tween mecca with token gestures to adults and goths. I know you're filling a large role in plus size fashion, but trying to be everything to everyone who buys contemporary fashion isn't going to get you anywhere. Get an overarching style going and stick to it. Draw inspiration from H&M, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, J. Crew, and other successful and tasteful contemporary outlets, as well as styles from your earlier years. Don't just copy the fashions put out by mainstream stores and designers- find and do your own thing.
9) Stop selling cheap plastic accessories next to $100 designer tees. Find a price range and stick to it.
10) Standardize your sizing and switch over to the scales used by the industry at large.
11) Go bigger. The only brick-and-mortar other than maybe department stores I can think of off the bat that carries size 30 is Catherine's. And their stuff is mostly ugly. Big market you're missing there.
12) Rethink your research on new store sites. Consider where are there lots of young large women with few shopping options? State universities, midsized cities, small towns...
13) Fewer empire waists, banded hems, bubble hems, cap sleeves, fake jewels, sequins, other "embellishments", halter and tube tops, faux office wear, animal prints, tunics, and asymmetrical hems please!
14) Stop trying to make office wear- it's not your demographic. Yes, more plus sized office options are needed, but you can't do everything and do it well.
15) If you can convince Betsy Johnson to do a plus-sized apparel line, I'll buy at least half of it. And possibly create a Torrid altar in my living room. Okay, not so much the last part, but I'll be reallyreallyreally happy and grateful. The same goes for Stop Staring.

On a more personal note, I am in a somewhat unique position in evaluating Torrid. In four years ago, I was a small size 10. Because of meds, I am now a size 18, down recently from a 20. I used to shop pretty much 24/7- I loved designer fashion. Anything funky, whimsical, or rock-inspired would be mine. Now shopping is still fun, but it's a lot more work, and there's always a voice in my mind saying "why doesn't that come in my size?!?" I love the concept of Torrid, and that I have something- anything- to choose from other than fashions targeting suburban women over 40. Still I always feel like I'm settling when I walk into Torrid. Nowadays I get giddy over items I would have never touched as a thinner woman because there was so much better stuff to spend my money on, both in quality and design. My style has suffered greatly, and I never get excited about wearing unique clothes anymore.
I challenge you to make me love clothes again. Make fashion something I don't have to admire from afar.

I love this thread. Let's do the same thing for Lane Bryant.

I love this thread. Let's do the same thing for Lane Bryant.

Absolutely! The response has been amazing enough that I'm planning on doing just that.

Yes, we want lower prices. And please PLEASE put a store in Richmond or Colonial Heights, VA. Esp Colonial Heights. I am tired of having to travel 100 miles to shop in a Torrid. And now that hubby is passed on March 3 of this yr, I have no one to go with me the 100 miles to shop in one....

A Lot Of This Has Been Said Already, But...

I definitely agree about lowering their prices. If I'm paying $80 for a dress, I expect it to be a nice quality dress that doesn't fall apart after the first wash and isn't made from paper thin material.

Stop with the sequins and message tees. I'm 20, but even I feel too old to wear a "Boyz R Hot!1!1" t-shirt. I think you can come up with more creative clothing than that.

Lower your shipping prices for people not living in the U.S. It turns people away from shopping with you, and you're alienating an entire market by doing this.

Organize your website by size. It's really disappointing to click on something you like and then see that it's not available in your size.

Please give Pittsburgh, PA our Torrid back. I believe Torrid got replaced by some lingerie store that nobody ever goes into. Most of my friends and I loved shopping at this Torrid, and I know so many people who are disappointed that it's no longer there. Since I also go to school in Philly, I think a Torrid within the city (not in the suburbs) would also be very cool. Maybe even put the store in the Gallery?

(Deleted comment)
Dear Torrid,

Please stop purchasing/selling clothing with a defined breast area solely for women with breasts smaller than a C. Branch out. Some of us have bigger boobs, and would love the chance to wear some of those dresses/shirts without having bisected breasts. :||

oh, torrid? i don't know if you're reading this any more, or if you ever read it in the first place, but i'd like to request longer belts. not under-boob belts, but actual hold-your-pants-up belts. i think your belts are pretty cute, but i'm on the last hole on a size 4. it's one of your only products that holds up well for me, so i'm disappointed that i can't size up.