In an effort to practice inclusivity, ModCloth made the decision to drop the “plus”, they announced on Tuesday. It seemed like a progressive move that deserved Veuve Clicquot and a ten-tier vanilla cake. Finally, a company that was down with the no boundaries, no dividing lines get down. Except, while ModCloth might not be referring to their larger clothing sizes as “plus size” clothes, they are filing them away under a new term: Extended sizes.
I know this move came with the best of intentions. In a press release, ModCloth cited that they found from their latest inclusivity report that “nearly two-thirds of women are embarrassed by having to go to a separate section of the store to find ‘Plus’ sized clothing and over half no longer want to be labeled ‘Plus’.” Clearly, ModCloth was genuinely trying to do women a solid and make shopping a little less isolating, more enjoyable experience. I’m totally balls to the wall on that one and love that they even took the initiative to make this a real, tangible conversation that people are having right now.
But why, for the love of god, replace the “plus” with a new word to make women’s palms sweat? While “plus” might stir up ideas about being larger in size, “extended” gives shoppers the notion that their larger sizes are still separate from the “straight” sizes that have been there all along. What size are you attempting to extend beyond, ModCloth? Where does “normal” end and the add-on section begin? These are questions that could have been dodged had they just done what women really wanted when they begged for the fashion industry to “drop the plus”: let clothes be clothes. I click on the “sweaters” section, find a daisy print ModCloth cardigan that really tickles my pickle, and look at that! It’s offered in sizes 0 – 27 with no unnecessary labels. No one gets hurt and no one gets mad. We can all hold hands and twirl in circles and look cute in our matching daisy cardigans.
By attempting to knock down one hurdle curvy women consistently have to jump over, ModCloth has only replaced it with another. Unfortunately, “Extended sizes” is just another term to outcast women who are just trying to get their hands on some denim flares. I appreciate the attempt, ModCloth, but if you really want to give the two-thirds some love, you’re going to have to drop the “extended,” now, too.