The popular idiom “putting your pants on one leg at a time” is supposed to mean you are a down-to-earth, ordinary person. Online retailer Wish must have gotten very confused somehow, because they caught hell this week for trying to sell plus-sized pleather shorts on a model who was literally wearing them, ONE LEG AT A TIME.
Just to clarify, this is how you put on a pair of pants “one leg at a time":
STEP 1: put one leg in one pant leg
STEP 2: put your other leg in the other pant leg.
I’m no Judgey Judgerson, so I’ll level with you: I haven’t always worn clothes the way they were intended to be worn...
I was seven years old, the year was 1992, and I’d just read The Babysitter’s Club Super Special #7 Snowbound where Karen Brewer – Kristy’s little sister – invented “sweater pants” and rocked my little second-grade world. Regardless of how cute my lavender unicorn sweater looked on my legs then, as an adult, I wouldn’t buy a sweater online if the model was wearing the sweater on her legs. That’s ridiculous. Also, I was seven years old! At age seven, I fully believed I would grow up to marry one of the New Kids on the Block (call me, Joey). Point is, I grew up, and I learned that there is a time and a place for proper pants wearing. Unlike some people, ahem Wish ahem.
Needless to say, customers are irate. Christina Ackerman, designer for Bristol-based fashion company Interrobang Art & Fashion fired back at Wish in a way that would make Karen Brewer proud! On her fashion brand’s Facebook page, she posted a photo of herself wearing a skirt on one thigh:
“I don't have any formal qualifications in marketing, but if plus size ladies buy shorts based on how one leg looks on a whole petite woman, then maybe smaller ladies will buy skirts based on how the whole thing looks on one pretty thunderous thigh.”
They just might, Christina, you’re serving the hell out of that skirt! FIERCE! Oh! Ring, ring! Karen Brewer just called and she wants to Kickstarter these “leg skirts.” Never change, Karen. Never change.
If you’re thinking, “shame on Wish for posting that picture on their website” (which has since been taken down), you should probably know that Wish isn’t the only seller having “pants problems.” AliExpress has a hard time “putting their pants on one leg at a time,” too, as evidenced by how they are currently selling plus-sized shorts and leggings on their website:
Face, meet palm:
All jokes aside, it is absurd that these retailers thought these ridiculously unhelpful and blatantly insulting photos would persuade customers to purchase their clothing. Like Christina Ackerman said in her epic takedown Facebook post, I myself “don’t have any formal qualifications in marketing,” but, um, isn’t the point of modeling your clothes on your website to exemplify how the clothes will look on the women who buy them? I would assume that means hiring plus-sized models to model plus-sized clothes.
And BTW, the market for plus-sized clothing deserves to be recognized. In 2014, NPD Group reported that sales of clothing sized 18 & up accounted for $17.5 billion dollars in revenue in the United States, up from $16.7 billion the previous year. If retailers like Wish and AliExpress want to treat these potential customers like a joke and ruin their chance of earning those sales, they’re free to do so. Other companies will step up.
Like my new favorite online shop, SmartGlamour! Yoo hoo, retailers! If you need help figuring out how to dress models in your clothes, SmartGlamour gets it. Light some sage and cleanse your online-shopping palate by perusing their website, which sells customizable, ethically produced clothing in sizes ranging from XXS through 6X and beyond. Just put the clothes on the body they’re made to fit! SmartGlamour recognizes that. Then again, as I said before, “I don’t have any formal qualifications in marketing,” so what do I know?
A word to my fellow fashionistas: if you want to try out sweater pants (like you know you’re gonna do now), DO IT! Fashion is supposed to be fun and creative! Hike your maxi-skirt over your boobs and call it a dress! Stomp around proudly in “Leg Skirts,” patent pending! Hold a beanie over each boob and call it a “beanie bra,” okay, why not? See? That’s creative!
But you know what’s definitely not creative? This boring, body-shaming, bullying BS. You know who I’m talking about. Take your job seriously, be a professional, and put your pants on one leg at a time.
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Meghan Sara is a tour guide for Ghosts, Murders and Mayhem Walking Tours. She is open-minded about everything, but intolerant to gluten. She blogs at meghansara.com, is a regular contributor to Femnasty, and tweets her feelings @MeghanSaraK.