Watch where you place that plus sign!

Recently, I came across a disturbing article explaining why the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch does not cater to plus size women. I think for this it is best to let him say it in his own words: ““In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.” (Courtesy of

Now I need to say that although this bothers me on so many levels, this is not what the blog post is about. This quote brought up a firestorm of comments from celebrities and others about how off color the comment was and how cruel it was. But, the thing I think people are missing is society has made this sort of thinking okay, this is the problem. Granted, what he said was cruel. But do you think he got to this way of thinking all on his own? First of all, look at him:

Abercrombie CEO


This man was never part of the “cool” kids crowd. I think he has found a way to take control of a situation he was once a victim of. He is a disturbed man but I think the larger fish to fry in this debate is society. Lately, clothing companies have become more accessible to all body types by adding a “plus” size section. But, wait…has anyone take a second to look at the so- called “plus” size models. Lets take H + M for example, see below the model for their “plus” size section on-line:

H + M +

Does anyone else think it is wrong for a plus size to be anywhere near this girl? She is absolutely gorgeous and is not at all “plus” size. But somehow this seems to make society feel better because clothing is offered for this type of girl in a rather high end clothing line.

I think in order to stop this type of thinking people need to stop basing beauty on weight. Whether a girl is super skinny, average or plus size if she has a beautiful heart she is a beautiful girl. That is where the judgment should lie, not on a body which will change with the years.

What do you think? Do you think the Abercrombie CEO should take all the heat? Do you think society should take some blame? And how do you feel about H + M’s version of a “plus” size model?


21 thoughts on “Watch where you place that plus sign!

  1. Bravo! I am completely with you on this. Let me start my saying that when I first went to one of the H & M stores I couldn’t fit into any jackets… I probably need the plus size According to them. I don’t personally don’t feel I fit in that category. But society has deemed it to be that way with all their advertising and media influence. Society needs to stop feeding into these concepts. This man is obviously way to far down that rabbit hole.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Yes I think that society has made it so even the “average” girl can feel plus size in some of these “designer” stores. I don’t think this helps the self esteem of anyone and really only leads to bigger problems. This man is a product of a diseased society.

  2. Faaaaaaaaaabulous post, Shae! And I TOTALLY agree with you!

    I heard about his comment last week and was FLOORED. And what I think is so stupid of clothing companies who excluded plus sizes is that they are missing out on a WHOLE other category size that they could offer and benefit from.

    Also, I’m someone who prefers plus size men and women. I actually think they’re attractive and beautiful.

    “I think in order to stop this type of thinking people need to stop basing beauty on weight. Whether a girl is super skinny, average or plus size if she has a beautiful heart she is a beautiful girl. That is where the judgment should lie, not on a body which will change with the years.”


    ” Do you think society should take some blame? ”

    I think it’s a vicious cycle of the beauty industry and media telling society what they should look like and then society believing it. And then society starts inflicting these ridiculous standards on everyone else.

    Have a great weekend, girl!


    • Hey Ronnie! Love reading your comments! And you are completely right it is a very vicious cycle! The ridiculous standards need to stop and we need to find a way to be happy with our bodies as they are and focus on things that really matter, like being good people. I think that may be too far fetched of a hope though!

  3. What he’s saying about there target customer base is only a step or two from saying we only want Blonde haired blue eyed people wearing cloths…..he’s defiantly tapped but with that being said yes society has a big portion of the “heat” between the so called “standard of beauty” that is completely unrealistic, the pressures it puts on people and the way our society blindly follows what they’re told.

    Looks may make a girl pretty or even sexy but the real measure of beauty can be found in her eyes and her heart.

    and if Marilyn Monroe work for H+M she’d would be placed in the “plus size” category….its really said whats happened to the standard of beauty in this country seriously

    • Hey Nate! You are absolutely correct with the Marilyn Munroe comment and I think that has been a huge topic of debate. She would be considered “plus size” in this day and age. I don’t think she would have been the sex symbol today that she was then. Shes a gorgeous girl but that standard of beauty has changed. Thats the problem. The standard of beauty is always changing so no one can actually meet the standards and stay “beautiful” in societies eyes.

  4. He is one ugly guy too, scare the rats away for sure. And then he goes and says that pfffft. But yeah society is the one that brings it on. He just didn’t hide behind some lingo an came out with it, while the others hie behind words when really they think the same thing using such models.

    • I totally agree with you Pat! He came out and said what most others in the industries are thinking and displaying with their products and models. He said it so he gets the heat but it doesn’t mean others aren’t guilty of the same thoughts.

  5. Coming under this kind of heat creates a lot of free advertising and I guess he’s got this now. What an incredibly stupid thing for him to say. The plus size model for H + M is actually smaller than Marilyn Munro. It’s amazing how advertising has changed our idea of ‘beauty’ since her day.

  6. Yup–I’d agree that his statement is just a symptom of the bigger disease, and we’re all infected with it. (some are more advanced in the disease than others)
    I’ll play devils advocate for a second–if you want to ‘specialize’ in something you’ll go under fire for not serving everyone? (Oh, he’s missing tact–but it got a lot of free advertising.) Are the ‘plus size’ specialty stores under the same scrutiny, they don’t cater to the size 1’s of the world. Just because someone says it out loud and doesn’t pretend that’s NOT the agenda–does that make them better/worse than the companies who simply don’t say it?
    (Howszat for devil’s advocate?) LOL

    The agenda in the BUSINESS world is money. And they’ll feed off of any neurosis we, as consumers have, to continue their business. We pretty much drive that with our neuroses–as we run around and try to BE what we’re spoon fed about what we ‘oughta be’/’oughta have’……and whoever said it’s a perpetual cycle would appear to be right!
    Sadly, we’re all infected with this.
    I’m not sure what the ‘cure’ is. I wish I did. I’ve been a plus size and I’ve been a size 1. I gotta say that NO BODY’S clothing line fixed the hole in me that was waiting to be ‘okay’ with ME. Ain’t the size of the dress I’m thinkin’…I’m thinkin’ it’s the inner peace that comes with knowing SOMEthing….and finding rest in the knowing.
    (Wild guess…..cuz I’ve had periods of time that I truly have found ‘peace’ with me…)
    Now THAT’S something folks oughta bother to bottle and put on the shelves!

    • I love that you played devils advocate here. I actually agree with your point. I am a very tiny girl myself and I find it disheartening when I like an outfit but can’t but it because it is “plus size” only. I dont starve myself to be tiny I actually eat and eat but just cant put on the weight. Sounds like a silly problem but when you are called “anorexic” a good portion of your life it becomes an issue. I think any type of “speciality” when it comes to sizes is discriminating but you are right it is a way to make money. I guess on a business angle this guy is on to something as long as he doesnt mind pissing off everyone along the way.

  7. Amazing, as I was reading the first part and seeing the CEO’s photo below, I was thinking exactly what you then wrote later, about him definitely not having been part of the “cool kids” group. I couldn’t agree with you more and, as for the plus size model, my word, if that is regarded as plus size, then they’ve definitely got something wrong. She looks stunning and healthy. I fear that societies need for skinny is creating a real problem in terms of health.

  8. I agree, his comment lacked tact and was completely cold. But I would also like to know the context of the statement. Was he addressing the board of directors. I don’t see anything wrong with knowing your target market and being able to describe it, no matter how brash the description might be. He is right to not try to be all things to all people. Let’s face it, some color patterns just should not be in all clothing sizes (Horizontal Stripes, anyone?). If they are doing smaller sizes well, they are best to leave larger sizes to the designers who know what they are doing in that department. I think his comment was more of a corporate direction statement, than a social slight to a certain body type.

    • From my understanding the quote came from an interview with a magazine. However, you are right there is nothing wrong with being a good business man. I just hope he didn’t want any brownie points with the PR department 😉

  9. This is my second attempt at a post on this so hopefully this time it takes.

    Apparently I find myself in the minority on this topic. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen this guys face all over the internet attached to various versions of quotes attributed to him. Now I havent done a ton of research on the man because quite frankly I dont buy his clothes. Not because they’re elitist but because I am. I find more to object to in the concept of buying pre worn out jeans than whether they think im ugly. I always kinda thought well Abercrombie is for douchebags who pay too much to look alike.

    But my objection to the current crusade against this man and his brand is twofold. First ive seen some less often shared reports alleging these “quotes” were edited and taken out of context by a writer who has a book coming out on callous ceo’s including the aforementioned. Not exactly someone who doesn’t stand to gain from a little bit of controversy. Though this counterpoint has been less often shared I cant say whether its from it not being accurate or because people just prefer controversy.

    Secondly all anybody is accusing this guy of is having a successful business strategy. He targets popular kids. He doesnt sell xl sizes. Those are business decisions and they work. Its not his company’s job to make people feel good about themselves, thats what their parents are for. Nobody calls Lane Bryant exclusive for not selling petite sizes.

    As anybody that knows me can attest I’m a very large man. I have to go to the factory to get my shoes, Lense crafters can’t even special order my size glasses, I havent fit in a fitted hat since I was 12. But getting mad at sears because they don’t sell xl gloves and watches is like getting mad at home depot for not selling wallpaper. If it made them money theyd sell it but they dont so go somewhere else.

    With regard to the second point you’re making about whether society should be blamed for this insensitivity I would counter that society should be blamed for this over sensitivity. These are stores who’s targst demographic is children, teenagers who haven’t grown into their final body type so of course average adult bodies dont fit into them, the average adult would be a giant 15 year old. (No offense Shae) So I guess I’d ask if the question we should be asking is if its appropriate for teens to be dressing as adults or should it be if its appropriate for adults to be dressing like teens?

    I realize now that my response is probably longer than the original blog so ill try to wrap up.

    I can’t say whether the model you posted here should be called plus size because I don’t actually think that word has a definitive range. I think its completely arbitrary. Similar to fhe way that mens sizes are skewed to make them seem larger. Has anyone ever actually seen a grown man wearing a small t shirt? Or does the guy wearing a medium strike you as average sized?

    As I said I can’t tell you if that model is a plus size or not but I dont have to tell you she’s beautiful, and it has absolutely zero to do with who she is on the inside. You could writ e an encyclopedia’s worth of blogs to try to quantify beauty and never get there. But in the end its all superficial. Not everyone is beautiful is what we have to accept just like not everyone is smart, or creative or funny. The things inside us that make us who we don’t make a person beautiful its what makes them special. Which is a lot more important than whether you can buy the same capris they make for the beautiful people.

    • That said this guy kooks like a melted wax Gary Busey.

      Or maybe Richard Branson’s inbred cousin.

      He looks like a cross dressed Hatchetface from crybaby.

      I’m pretty sure this guy used to be a dick tracy villain.

      A prime example of why cavemen shouldn’t have stylists.

    • Its funny it seems you basically said what my dad said below. You are right that this is a good business strategy, albeit a tasteless one. I think you bring up a lot of good points and although I still get a sick taste in my mouth thinking about what he said I really do appreciate your input.

      As for you, my own personal Fezzick, I suppose you are the exact person to take up the debate on who should be considered “plus size”. Anyone who looked at you cannot argue you are large, but I wouldnt classify you as plus size. Plus size insinuates over weight which you are not. You are just large in every meaning of the word. But, clothing sizes dont allow for that possibility. There seems to be a issue larger than all of us looming over the clothing industry I think we are only hitting the tip of the iceberg.

  10. Its split. Being a man who once weighed almost 340 lbs I found the person to blame wasn’t any fast food place I ate at, or the clothing store I wanted to shop at but couldn’t for being so big. It was all on me. Every person will get a wake up call when it comes to personal health whether its for being overweight or smoking too many cigarettes the sudden confrontation of reality will soon present itself. I was approached by my doctor who gave me 8 months to live if I did not change and pursue a healthier lifestyle. Now I am 230 and still dropping because the reality of leaving the people I love with the memory of a fat guy who didn’t give a shit was not what I wanted for my family. Especially when I want to interrogate my little sisters first boyfriend with my shotty in hand. hahaha. To the opposite side of this, it is in a business owners place to deny service to any person they want for any reason. Sadly that’s the country we still live in where we teach to keep away from prejudice and profiling, but it takes place every day in every corner. To my final point, to limit sales to one section of the American population is not just morally wrong, but ethically. Discouragement is not only being placed on kids and teenagers but the parents of those who are denied purchase. To me this is a statement to parents that it is there fault their children cannot fit into the clothing. Should the CEO be held accountable for his statement, absolutely, but we as American should also be held accountable for letting a crisis such as obesity affect the youth of our nation. Very interesting topic Shae, I look forward to your next post.

    • Its inspiring to hear about someone turning their life around the way you did. You are right though the responsibility is on the individual to make a change. The sad fact is though it is not easy for many. People should not be discriminated because they are not the ideal form of beauty. Interesting comment thanks for reading!

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