Mama Madison: One size does not fit all

Combatting the small-size message from clothing retailers

The last couple of weeks have been ripe with excellent take downs of the recently uncovered insensitive (and frankly, pretty stupid from a business development perspective, if you ask me) remarks by Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO, Mike Jeffries, regarding why the retailer doesn't manufacture their teen-targeted clothing in women's sizes larger than a 10.

I cracked up at Ellen DeGeneres' awesome response exposing the insanity of marketing a size "double zero. And I admire blogger The Militant Baker's genius post that parodies the brand's ubiquitous shirtless guy ad campaign while simultaneously re-imagining the A&F initials as "Attractive and Fat."

But I think my very favorite comeback to the CEO's misguided comments came from a piece my college friend posted to "The Chicago Moms" blogging community. In her open letter, Christina Tavares Hallagan schools Jeffries on the error of his ways by threatening to recruit an army of size 10-and-under mothers, especially those with saggy stomachs stretched by childbirth and pregnancy-induced varicose veins, to pour themselves into Abercrombie and Fitch low riders and parade down main street, or better yet through the darkened and cologne-obscured doors of their retail outlets, to show the company that self-worth does not come in a size.

As Tavares writes in the post, "You may think that I have too much dignity to do this (wear Abercrombie clothes). You are wrong. You are telling 15-year-old girls who are already insecure about their bodies that just because they wear a larger size they are so uncool and unsexy that you will not even deign to sell them overpriced pants. You are afraid your bottom line will be hurt because the cool kids might move on to another brand. You want to know what will make the cool kids abandon a brand faster than anything? Seeing their mom's friends in it. Trust me, everything we do is embarrassing. How long do you think the mean girl is going to dress like a middle-aged Trekkie accountant?"

Now, I am not much of a Trekkie. And I doubt I'd fit into A&F jeans. But since they do make a stretchy yoga pant (how odd the store would sell clothes for a practice built upon spiritual enlightenment), I'm going to let Hallagan know I'm in. Because one sight of me in those leggings topped by an "I Will Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow" t-shirt (and they call themselves an "aspirational" brand), and I can single handedly guarantee that the initials A&F will never cross my kids' butts or chests. And it will have been their choice.

Because there is no way this mom could ever be deemed hip teenagers, especially her own, no matter how slim hipped she may (or may not) be.

So Mr. Jeffries, if it's your company's bottom line that you are worried about, you do need to be cognizant of whose middle aged bottoms can be squeezed into a pair of your logo sweatpants.

Because they do, after all, have some give. Which might not be a bad idea for you to consider with regards to your company's sizing policy.

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