Sunday, September 03, 2000

Selection miniscule in plus-size clothing

        Peggy and Meg Roudebush flip through a fashion magazine like so many women who dream about filling their closets with the gorgeous styles on its pages.

[photo] Peggy and Meg Roudebush have a hard time finding stylish clothes in their sizes in Cincinnati's stores.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
        But the problem for this mother and daughter isn't money, it's merchants. They can't find attractive, even trendy clothes for their plus-size figures in Cincinnati.

        “I think the department store chains don't think women want a waist,” daughter Meg Roudebush said. “Everything is boxy. They think plus size women are trying to hide what they have rather than accentuate it.”

        Adding to the Roudebushes' conundrum is that they shop together but seek different styles.

        Peggy Roudebush likes to wear classic-looking professional clothes for business — pant suits and dresses often purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue's Salon Z. Meg, a 20-year-old college student, wants trendy and less expensive clothes — animal prints, slip dresses and boots.

        Both agree that finding affordable, attractive evening wear, or anything cut above the knee, is a challenge.

        “To find the basic little black dress in this city is impossible,” Peggy Roudebush said.

        They suspect that most Cincinnatians won't pay for or don't want the styles that the Roudebushes prefer. After all, shopping sojourns to other cities turn up department stores with expansive plus-size collections, including the brands Ralph Lauren, BCBG and Vikki Vi. National chains seem to carry more progressive styles in other markets than in Cincinnati, they said.

        “I think that they feel here they have to stay within a conservative trend,” Peggy Roudebush said. “I think it has to do with what is acceptable.”

        There are several stores in Cincinnati that specialize in plus-size clothing, and the Roudebushes wonder whether they are missing stores that don't market.

        “To me, everything seems geared toward the older woman,” Meg Roudebush said. “More conservative, more professional.”


— Lisa Biank Fasig

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