My two favorite pairs of jeans gave up the good fight at the end of last spring, and my remaining jeans, purchased in desperation, were making feel frumpy, ugly, old, and ridiculous. That is quite an accomplishment for a single item of clothing. I changed into pedal pushers it was too chilly for, got rid of the bad jeans in a bold "I don't even have replacements yet, but I will wear pedal pushers in snowdrifts rather than ever wear those jeans again" move, and went shopping.
Here are the things I don't like about Lane Bryant:
1. They are the kind of store that has the kind of sales that mean you can never buy anything at regular price. If something consistently goes on 50%-off sales, that means the regular price is not a reasonable price to pay.
2. They are the kind of store that covers a table in piles of jeans, and puts "$29.99 jeans!!" on a big sign with an asterisk leading to "select styles." And it turns out that 1/5th of the jeans on the table qualify, plus one style on another rack covered mostly in non-qualifying styles. And there's no way to find out which jeans qualify without having a clerk take each pair over to the register and check.
3. I'm between two sizes there AND between two inseams there. So my choices are "too tight and too long," "too tight and too short," "too loose and too long," or "too loose and too short." I go with "too tight and too long," because (1) their jeans tend to stretch out quite a bit, and (2) I'd rather step on or roll my cuffs than have them floating over my shoes. (Accept my assurances that "You could get them hemmed" is an idea I am able to come up with independently.)
4. They have signs up all over that if the store doesn't have your size in stock, you can get free shipping from the site. That's an awesome idea, and compensates me for the frustration of coming all the way here and not being able to buy something they should have had in stock! ...But it turns out it's free shipping TO THE STORE. That is not "free shipping," that is "the store ordering something they needed more of, and I'll need to come back another day to buy them."
But here is why I shop there with happiness in my heart, despite the damning case I seem to have constructed against them:
1. They make me feel like I'm a normal person who falls into the normal range of human anatomy.
It's hard to beat that kind of service.
I can go into the store, and there are things on every single rack that fit me. Sometimes I try something on and it's too big, and I need to get a smaller size; sometimes it's too small, and a larger size is available. I can come out of the dressing room and stand in front of the big mirror and lift up my shirt to see how the waistband of the jeans looks, and I don't feel self-conscious about it: I feel like this is just the size and shape I am. I can try things on and reject them because I don't like the style or color, rather than because "Why is this an XXL and I can't even get it over my knees?? How big does this store think an 'extra, EXTRA large' person IS??"
Furthermore, the items I'm trying on will conform to current trends.
Maybe they do a little more with sequins than the average store, but
there's a "Hey, I am someone who has some flash and glamor and isn't
trying to hide in dumpy baggy monochrome clothes!" feeling to it, rather than
an "I'm hoping to distract your eye from my plumpness" feeling. If everyone is wearing skinny jeans and I'm starting to feel flappy-pantsed in my flare cuffs, I can go to Lane Bryant and know that they will have skinny jeans. Maybe I will not BUY any skinny jeans (I did not buy any skinny jeans), but I know I CAN if I WANT to. And if they don't have them in my size, they will order them, and I can come back another day and get them.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...