I just got a direct mail promotional piece from the retail store Talbots. On the cover is a picture of Ashley Falcon, who Talbots identifies as its “NEW PLUS-SIZE STYLE ADVISOR”.
Inside, we see the plus size Ashley modeling Talbots clothes, along with some other models…to my eye a fair representation of Talbots size 12W to 24W offerings. Good for Talbots!
But, then, why does the sub headline under Ashley’s name on the cover of this promotional piece have to say,
“The skinny on style, fit, and not being a size 4.”
Am I really asking for too much? Couldn’t Talbots just commit totally to a plus-size campaign? Do they have research that says we’re more likely to buy plus-size clothes if we see the words “skinny” and “size 4” in an advertisement for size 1X to 3X clothes?
Trust me. I’m grateful to see a mainstream women’s clothing chain invest in the marketing of plus size clothes! If the average size in this country is Size 14 (plus some), then it’s a smart business move! To me, it is progress. But it still feels like they have one foot in the plus size market…and one foot still in size-ism.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from Talbots!
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org