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Breaking up with Lane Bryant

I made my final purchase at Lane Bryant on the last day of 2006, a great way to close out the year. Lane Bryant is the flagship fat girl clothing store in America, stocking sizes 14-28. While I owe them a debt of gratitude for preventing me from wearing the latest in garbage bag couture during my largest days, I always had a love-hate relationship with the store. Their clothes are overpriced and in lieu of day care I suspect they allow employee’s children to run around the store with a bedazzler, applying sequins and plastic beads to every tank top or blouse in sight.

But, they were having a sale on Venezia jeans for only $19.99. I haven’t bought dress pants or skirts from them in a while, but their bootcut jeans have always fit my particular shape well. I stopped by and was happy to find I now fit into their size 16. Funny, since a week earlier I’d tried on size 16’s at their sister store, Fashion Bug, which I could button, but were so tight I would have walked around like C-3PO. If I’m going to dress up like a Star Wars character, he’s not the one I’d choose. Though thankfully Jabba the Hutt isn’t the one I most closly resemble anymore. I bought the jeans, but the next day I realized that they would never have them for a lower price, so I may as well buy the size 14’s as well and make if my official last purchase. Then we could declare 2007 a year free of shopping at the fat girl store.

So I returned to the mall, fighting through crowds like a salmon swimming up stream. I found the jeans and made my purchase. The cashier thanked me and I walked out back into the throngs of humanity. It was all rather anti-climatic actually, just a typical retail transaction, one of thousands that day. But as God is my witness, I shall never shop at Lane Bryant again.

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32 Comments

Kristi • January 3, 2007 at 10:07 am

What a feeling, to know from here on out you can shop ANY place you want to. It’s so inspiring to read your story especially when one realizes you are so young. You have so much of life figured out that still makes many women much older than you say, “huh?” Thank you for sharing.

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Jen • January 3, 2007 at 10:07 am

I know what you mean — I go there with a friend sometimes, and because I wear a 12/14 I could theoretically try some stuff on. But because there was a time where that was one of the few stores I could really shop, now I never want to buy anything there again.

I did break down and buy a pair of sunglasses there last year, but nothing else, not even earrings. I still have a fondness for the store, in one sense, because it was there for me when no one else was.

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jester • January 3, 2007 at 10:50 am

I was so excited when I moved back into the “normal” sizes this last summer, after years of shopping in the Women’s department. Oh, the joy! Finally, greater selection! And no more sequins and beads!

But guess what? This year’s summers styles were all sequins and beads, and there wasn’t a lot of selection because every rack held clothes that looked exactly the same as every other rack.

Shopping this fall has been a little more satisfying, thank God. Although now that I have to completely replentish my wardrobe, I’m realizing that every year, there are only a handful of colors that manufacuters use – how many sweaters do I need in the exact same shade of rasberry?

See, I guess I can always find SOMETHING to complain about when it comes to shopping for clothes. I wonder why I still enjoy it so much? ;-)

Jester

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Gloria • January 3, 2007 at 11:17 am

There were alot of mixed feeling involved when I finally fit into “normal” sizes. On the one hand I was excited at the much larger selection of clothing now available to me, but I wasn’t prepared from the ill fit of clothing designed for the lower range of “normal” women. For the most part Lane Bryant clothing is designed to flatter curves and cover the less desirable areas. Also, I had become so familar with Lane Bryant that I knew which jeans fit and what tops would flatter. At the “normal” stores I have to spend much more time trying to find something that fits properly, even now at a size 10/8. It can get both frustrating and depressing..

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Rachel • January 3, 2007 at 11:24 am

I cannot WAIT until I can give Lane Giant the kiss off! I really do feel that they exploit fat women–just check out their return policy. It’s terrible! Their sizing bothers me to no end as well. I bought two pair of jeans from them right after Thanksgiving. Both were the exact same size. I tried on the first pair in the changing room and they fit GREAT! I liked the first pair so much I went out and grabbed a second pair, not bothering to try them on. I got them home and tried them on–the were PAINTED ON! I hung on to them, though… They’ll fit nicely in another 20 pounds.

By the way, you seriously are my inspiration… I have to tell myself “Just because Pasta Queen is losing weight doesn’t mean you are. Get off your butt!” You are AWESOME!

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Hilly • January 3, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Yay for dumping the zero and getting with the hero ;).

I am so happy for you not having to shop at LB anymore; that places bugs me to no end.

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jester • January 3, 2007 at 1:08 pm

As I was losing weight, I kept pulling old clothes out of the back of my closet, until finally the clothes were so out of date or worn, I had to go shopping. Then I was in for a surprise . . .

I’m now a size 10 – something I wasn’t even in high school!! And I still weigh about 30 pounds more than I did then. Hmmm – I’ve now entered the “vanity sizing” zone (related to the Twilight Zone, but more flattering).

The comic strip Cathy even has fun with this issue today: http://news.yahoo.com/comics/uclickcomics/20070103/cx_ca_uc/ca20070103.

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scone • January 3, 2007 at 1:15 pm

Tell it, sister(left fist in air)! So, for extra points on your karma score, try sweatshop-free, sustainably produced, fair trade clothing, in “missy” sizes. Happy shopping! :D

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Susie • January 3, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Cackling here at the bedazzler comment – I’ve noticed that about Lane Bryant. WTG on your last Big Girl Store purchase…what a milestone!

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Kala • January 3, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Good for you! I look forward to quitting them too one day. I don’t go much anyway. I find them overpriced and the quality questionable on most items. I think they do employ bedazzlers, and someone who cuts off the sleeves of most everything in the summer!

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Laura • January 3, 2007 at 2:03 pm

I’m with those who can’t wait to leave LB for good. What a wonderful dream that would be and I could just imagine being inside your head as you walked out of that door for the last time with a more then deserved smug grin on your face. Well done!

Maybe by this time next year I’ll be doing the same. At least for the first time I lost 16 lbs. over the holidays instead of gaining more for an even bigger all time high. I hope and pray this is my last time losing.

Go PQ!!

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Lori • January 3, 2007 at 3:17 pm

I love that bedazzlers line; and they must let these little kids go around and make asymmetrical hems. That’s really cool that you’re leaving LB behind.

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bitchwhoblogs • January 3, 2007 at 3:41 pm

I have bid farewell to LB as well… I am keeping a few pairs of jeans just as reminder… Its a lot easier to find clothes without spangles these days… Its like, hmmm, if I wear enough sequins and cheap beading no one will ever notice that extra 80 pounds I am carrying… I know, I need some beading on my thighs (where I carry a lot of weight) to accent that overpriced top…. Phew, bye-bye LB.

Oddly enough, I just bought a few pairs of new jeans (Ross Dress for Less, Nordstroms Rack – so nice to save money!) an they were size eights… its odd because this time last year, I was barely squeezing into LB 16s…I still feel like a 16W … the mind part of this is going to take some adjusting to… its only 45 pounds gone, but its huge in the clothes arena.. lately I feel like I still look the same as I did when I was busting out of my 16Ws… I should probably just go try them on and see the difference in the mirror…. sorry to ramble on and on… congrats on the awesomeness of LB nevermore..

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kristi • January 3, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Shopping at LB is seriously the worst! I hate having to walk around the mall with the LB bag, I’m always afraid I’m going to run into someone I know or someone will see me! It’s always like a stealth mission going into LB, I casually fall into the store as I’m walking by and then quickly look left and right before I walk out. The best is when you see a size 6 woman walk in, look at the sizes and then make a face and walk out. You mean to tell me that she didn’t know that LB was a plus size store? Come on!!! I can’t wait for the day when I can just shop at any store I want instead of having to settle for whatever style LB feels like offering this season.

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Tricia • January 3, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Way to go, you are doing amazing!!! I am trying to lose my baby weight have already lost 72lbs 25 more to go!!! You are very inspiring-keep up the good work

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Lana • January 3, 2007 at 4:26 pm

I didnt discover LB until half way through college. It was my savior throughout the past few years for work clothes. I would wait until I got a coupon in the mail and then hit up the save $25 on a $75 purchase deal.

I bought my first pair of jeans from Old Navy the other day. Granted they were size 20 and a bit tighter than I’m used to but they fit!

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Kristi Smith • January 3, 2007 at 5:22 pm

Love your blog, very inspirational and your turn around pics are way cool. Congrats to you. I saw a link to here from Teresa Collins blog. You are very entertaining as well.

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Monica May • January 3, 2007 at 5:33 pm

The part about the kids bedazzling everything is still making me laugh, even as I type this. I gave Lane Bryant the kiss off years ago, even during my fat phase, because their customer service was so horrible. I took my purchases to Fashion Bug.

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Bloomie • January 3, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Oh I find this funny. I loved LB and while I still fit into their bottoms, I sized out of their tops years ago – I’m quite the pear. I used to love getting compliments on my outfit and people asking where it was from and going – oh, you can’t buy it, it’s from LB, the fat girl store, you’re too skinny. Ha! But I’m a proud fattie, who thinks you can be hot and sexy and healthy at any size.

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v'ron • January 3, 2007 at 6:26 pm

Ah yes — just a few weeks ago I posted about the fear of going to Victoria’s Secret and having to leave dejectedly and go back to LB (and their lingerie store, Cacique) and I didn’t have to! I was through with Lane Bryant, even though it was lingerie. But if you don’t need them for “foundations” you don’t need them anymore.

What a day! I’m so happy for you!

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Erin • January 3, 2007 at 7:51 pm

Oh, sweet Lord, yes! I remember how it felt when I was finally, finally ready to get out of Lane Bryant (the first time in my adult life) and I snuck across to The GAP, feeling completely guilty for betraying The Motherstore. But oh…the absolute rapture of fitting in real jeans! I still have them in my closet and hold them up to my size 22 legs all the time. It’s what keeps me motivated now.

What an exciting development in your life. When the size 14s are slipping off your hips, I will be so excited to see what you’ve written about it!

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Patty • January 3, 2007 at 11:56 pm

I can’t wait to say I never will shop at Lane Bryant ever again too! I actually haven’t bought anything in there in a long time but prob. would have bought jeans for that price. I go to Macy’s lately. Actually have been trying to not buy any clothes as I’m losing this weight but I will have to soon.

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K • January 4, 2007 at 7:26 am

What Kristi said about the shopping bags… we don’t have Lane Bryant in the UK, but the equivalent shop, Evans, doesn’t put its name on its carrier bags. Which I think is kind of sad, even if probably a good move for customer relations.

Last winter, I bought some boots there, having discovered that my calves are still too chunky to go in knee-high boots at ordinary shoe shops. And even at Evans there was only one pair that would fit me. That was depressing, and a little baffling… the rest of me is too small for their clothes, so I must just have mutant huge calves!

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psychsarah • January 4, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Hip Hip Hooray! I related so strongly to your post, it was amazing. I’m from Canada, and found Lane Bryant a few years ago, when I was a size 20. At that time, they were my saviour, as Canada has even less selection for plus sizes, and they were quite stylish and affordable compared to our equivalent (Addition-Elle). That said, about a year ago, I was in a “normal” store with a friend, and liked a pair of jeans. I was sure they wouldn’t fit, but my friend convinced me to try them on-and she was right! On that day, it was like an epiphany. For one, I actually was smaller than I thought (as many of you have commented, it takes the brain a while to get used to a new size) and two, I didn’t have to shop in the specialty stores anymore! What a day! Strangely, it messed me up for a while, because I honestly didn’t know which stores to even look in to find stuff I liked, because for so long, I had no choice, so I just went into the fat girl store and found what I liked best from the limited selection. Now that I have more choice, I really have to think about it! Odd isn’t it? Anyway, I’m blathering on now, but I just wanted to say congrats, and thanks for writing such honest, entertaining and relatable entries on your blog!

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hopefulloser • January 4, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Oh my goodness! Sometimes we’re like two peas in a pod. Here’s what I wrote over a year ago. Coincedentally I weighed just a little over what I do now but was on my way down rather than up.

http://www.hopefulloser.com/archives/2005/05/size_16_c3po.html

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Connie • January 4, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Oh, rapture. The best break-up story I ever heard! I am envious. I can’t wait for the day when I go to a ‘normal’ sized store, try on something and it FITS. I can’t wait! I’m glad that LB has been there, but I’ll be even happier when I have more options to choose from. Enjoy your hard-earned freedom, girl – happy shopping!

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christie • January 5, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Amazing! I can’t wait for that day to come. I have the same love-hate thing for LB.

I will be glad when it’s not one of… one choice… that i have for buying nice looking stuff. Bah.

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blest • January 5, 2007 at 7:25 pm

Ohhh yes… There was a magical day last month when I got out the measuring tape and discovered that I had gotten back into “normal” bra sizes and could truly declare myself truly and completely liberated from Lane Bryant. Happy Happy Day! (and happy chest since I bought the right size bras! Man! Have and nurse four babies and be obese and you end up with a chest like one of those viking looking opera singers with the blond braids and the horned helmet!) My husband gave me some seriously funny looks when I cackled with glee and ceremoniously ripped up the latest LB coupons over the trash can….

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La Girlie • January 6, 2007 at 6:45 pm

I made the same declaration! lol I just put up a crapload of my Lane Bryant clothes for sale on Ebay. I wrote about this on my blog. That company made so much money off of me..I presume they will make more since they also own Express and The Limited and Lerner. I used to shop there when I was a size 12. Different store..same company..they all get the money lol

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nancy • January 13, 2007 at 4:17 pm

I remember my last shopping trip (after a weight loss of about 70 pounds after several years.)

The clerk took one look at me and said “honey, these clothes will be too big for you!”

A surprising, but pleasant moment…

If you haven’t tried it, go to thrift stores and consignment stores as you get smaller. You will be pleasantly surprised!

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Karen • July 12, 2008 at 9:23 am

I’m a size 12-14 now (down from 24-26) and LB clothes are WAY big for me, but… I still like their jeans a lot. I *HATE* the fruitless search for pants a regular-sized stores (though I do own one pair of Gap size 16 jeans). For tops, I like JCPenney (Miss section, not plus size), Ann Taylor Loft, Macy’s, The Gap sometimes. For dress pants, I like JCPenney or Macy’s. But for jeans… Lane Bryant is still the best for me. And for bras too… I do have a few Victoria Secret bras, but I find them to be skimpy and flimsy in comparison.

It was nice to go into LB recently with my mom and try on a top I thought was cute and have it BILLOW on me — absolutely too too too big.

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Mrs C. • October 28, 2010 at 12:52 am

LayneBryant, FashionBUG and Catherines are all owened by the charming shoppes LLC. I’ve been plus sized all my life and in the late 80’s I remember as a kid the thought of back to school shopping would just make me sobb. Nothing fit because I was fat. Then long about somewhere in the early part of the 90’s my mom discovered thru her sister the fashion bug. That year I actually went to school looking not so fat. The cost of the clothes where shocking back then $30 for a pair of zanadi jeans. My mom would allow me one complete new outfit that I really liked to start school with then she’d take me and my sisters thru the school season as they had their sales.

That store turned me into a fashion plate, I loved shopping there, as the years wore on and the cost of the jeans increased as did my size it was like a catch 22 it did not bother me so much that i’d gained another 10 pounds I knew I’d find jeans there to fit me. Then the day came when I was at the end of the rack so to speak and no jeans looked or felt good. I now shake my head at the cost of LB clothes and fashion bug is actually somewhat cheaper but I’ve heard the quality of their product has gone down as well. True I don’t like the fact that i can’t shop at a normal store and it’s the “fat gal” shoppe, but there is nothing wrong with looking good while attempting to loose weight.

My spouse now has a LB card for my use and I’m still attempting to loose weight, he buys me a few new things as my size seriously declines and he hopes that one day I too will be to small for LB. But he says I look lovely in everything I’ve had him purchase for me.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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