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Why Is Inclusive Sizing So Hard?

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Why Is Inclusive Sizing So Hard?

Initially this was going to be a list, a straightforward database of inclusive brands that would live on Racked. Both a resource for anyone interested, and a reward for the brands that don’t make women who wear over or under a particular size shop in a different department, or click a separate tab; we’d update it as more brands jumped on board. But when I started to assemble the list, I couldn’t find more than three.

In the last couple of months, celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Zendaya have made inclusive sizing a pillar of their fashion labels, Of Mercer and Elizabeth Suzann have extended their sizing, and Racked’s shopping team has made a concentrated effort to discover new inclusive brands, like Phylyda and Floravere. There are other outliers too, notably collaborations like Outlander for Hot Topic & Torrid (the stores themselves split by size) and Who What Wear for Target. But for the most part, women sizes 0 to 14 can shop in one kind of store, those sizes 14 to 28 in another, and those over a size 28 are just shit out of luck.

Woman shopping a sale.

Much has been written about why this might be, from manufacturing problems (it takes more fabric!) to image problems (No one wants to see curvy women) to the belief that plus-size women don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes because they plan to lose the weight.

I haven't really enjoyed clothing shopping in the way I think other women do since I left standard sizes,” says Hillary Dixler, senior reports editor at our sister site Eater, who is currently a size 16. “It sucks to not have anything to try on in basic mall stores like Anthropologie or J.Crew. And have you been to a department plus-size department? I'm not trying to dress like Ina Garten while I'm 30.”

It was Hillary who got me thinking about inclusive sizing in the first place. I have my own problems with it at indie boutiques across New York, where I have to beg for a size 8 or 10 or — and I can’t decide which is worse — have the sales associate assure me, “We have bigger sizes in back!”

Hillary’s disappointment over the brands featured in Racked’s service content is totally vaild. If our answer to where to buy the best work pants is Everlane, Artizia, Cos, and Theory — brands that only go up to size 12 — what was she supposed to do? Even if we only cast models over a size 6, the clothes we put them in aren’t available in a size 18. And if we cast a size 18, the clothes we put her in won’t be available in a size 6!

Racked will never be as inclusive and accessible as we want to be until more brands jump on board. Modcloth made headlines when it opened its first brick and mortar store in Austin earlier this month, because they are selling sizes 00 through 30 on the same racks. After digging deep, I am pretty sure it’s the only store in which women of all sizes can shop off the same rack. That is crazy.

“A size 16 or 18 woman is trained so that if she walks into J.Crew, she’s just going to feel bad about herself,” says Katie Sturino, the blogger behind 12ish Style (and Toast’s mom). “That is the big key — and why women are so loyal to brands like Lane Bryant — because they make them feel welcome to have a shopping experience.” Until mainstream stores offer inclusive sizing, consumers can only shop with like-sized friends, which sucks.

So for now, we’ll keep highlighting brands that are spurring real change and demand it from the rest. Please continue to share your favorites with me —

Britt Aboutaleb, editor-in-chief

How Paris Geller Learned to Power Dress
A still from the new season of Gilmore Girls.

When I tuned in to watch Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life over the weekend, I was excited but hesitant. I was prepared for the second coming of the television show I loved so much in high school to feel distant, surreal. I was prepared for it to be bad.

Here’s what I was not ready for: The triumph that is Paris Geller’s ass-kicking yet distinctly tender wardrobe.

Under costume designer Brenda Maben’s direction, Lorelai has some good moments in Stella McCartney, and Rory breaks up a series of ill-fitting T-shirts (representative of the unmoored state of her career and life) with some Self Portrait. But it’s Paris, Rory’s high-strung academic rival and semi-BFF at Chilton and Yale, who steals the show.

Now in her thirties, running a successful fertility clinic (“I’m the Pablo Escobar of the fertility world”), and undergoing a divorce from her college boyfriend, Doyle, Paris has the money to buy nice things and the calculation to know how to project power through clothing. At the very least, she knows how hire a personal shopper who does.

It’s not that Paris is suddenly a fashion plate — she never was — or even that her clothing is particularly remarkable. It’s that she now dresses with a stylish easiness that many millennial women will identify with and the tactical thinking of a presidential candidate. In late November of 2016, that feels pretty damn on point.

Keep reading this story here >>
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Today's Non-Gift Guide Pick
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Who: Lindsey Weber
What they do: Co-host, Who Weekly | Editor, MEL
What they want: Himalayan Salt Lamp, $39

On the advice of a friend, last year I bought myself a Himalayan salt lamp. I bought it on Amazon because I'm basic and didn't feel like comparison shopping something I assumed I would find two to three hours of joy from and then abandon forever. Apparently, the lamp gives off negative ions that combat positive ions produced by electronics (my laptop, my phone, my television, everything I own), so really, it was a wellness device, not a meaningless purchase at all!

When it arrived, it weighed what felt like about 1,000 pounds and, yes, it was real salt (I licked it to make sure, please don't judge me). But aside from the science and logistics, it produced a lovely, warm orange light that I was immediately obsessed with. From then on, it became my very own night light — the grown-up version of a child's safety blanket — less to combat fear, but rather because the light was just so damn soothing. Were the ions working their magic? No, I discovered after a light Google; the lamp doesn't produce nearly enough heat to change ions in the air and produce any positive (or negative, as it were) effect. Who cares? I love my Himalayan salt lamp and you would love it, too.

Check out the rest of our non-gift guide picks here. Want to make donations your gift of choice instead? We've got you covered on that front too.

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