Beyond the diversity branding and image makeovers in the fashion world, it remains difficult to find stylish and affordable clothing options for plus-sized, petite, or disabled people.
It isn’t just the big fashion houses that are choosing not to include modified products to cater to consumers with disabilities.
If you go into a department store like J.C. Penney or Macy’s, you may be able to find some good plus-sized versions of the core fashion lines. They look like the same kinds of clothing pieces, just tailored for different-sized bodies. But finding those kinds of items that have discreet alternate closures? Not a chance.
It’s no better in the discount chains like Walmart — even though millions of working class people with disabilities do their clothing shopping there.
“I just need something that’s not tacky, and not infantile,” my mother once told me when we were picking through Walmart racks before an Easter gathering. At one point, she pulled out a tie-dyed tunic and started laughing.
I could see why she was exasperated: the options for easy-to-wear clothing tended to lean either too far in the Peg Bundy direction for my mother’s tastes, or they were “infantilized” items with drawstrings, oversized elastic waistbands, and sassy sayings.
“I need an Easter blouse, not a shirt with tiny Easter eggs on it,” she said. I looked down at my own Walmart-purchased shirt, patterned with oversized pineapples that I bought for a summer barbecue while I was pregnant the year before, and I had to laugh. Preg Bundy rides again.
Not tacky, not infantile: why is that so much to ask of any clothing chain?