I'm doing a little online shopping; I've spent the last two days looking at clothes on two websites: Jen Clothing, a distributor that touts its modest styles and gears itself specifically to LDS women, and Victoria's Secret. And I am having the same problem on both websites.
This is the problem — I am not a 5-foot-9, 120-pound woman with B cups and a 26-inch waist. Every single one of their models, however, appears to fit roughly that description.
Ergo, I'm looking at their cute, modest clothes (yes, VS has some — check them out if you dare) and wondering just how cute or modest they would look on me. I mean, we've all seen the girl wearing the supertight shirt. Maybe there's no actual cleavage, but the tightness around the cleavage gets the point across. (That's what she said!) It's not modest, and it sure ain't cute. "I was shoehorned into my clothes this morning" is not really the impression I like to give people.
Now, I understand why these companies advertise the way they do. They're trying to sell clothes, and the best way to do that is to make would-be consumers think the clothes are attractive and want to look like that. And I'll be the first to admit that a slender girl in a tee is easier on the eyes than a well-built chica whose waistline I am not going to share. But unfortunately, until they start selling the Victoria's Secret model with the shirt, me wearing that shirt does not have the same effect as me looking at the model wearing the shirt. And because I don't know what it's actually going to look like, I'm not going to buy it.
The so-obvious-I'm-wondering-what-I'm-missing solution is to find a variety of models wearing the same article of clothing. It doesn't have to be a lot, just two to three women of different heights, weights and body builds wearing a dress or a shirt or a pair of pants so I can get a better idea of what someone who looks more like me looks in that fitted shirt or clingy dress. Or even on different articles of clothing but styles that are similar to each other so we can extrapolate the likely effect. It seems like this would result in more sales, since I'm sure there are other shoppers like me who like the clothing but just aren't willing to spend money on a piece of clothing that has the very real possibility of making us look and feel both fat and oblivious to that fat. (No, I don't think I'm fat. But supertight clothing just accentuates any rolls that may or may not be there.)
Now, the fact that they're not doing this must mean that marketing analyses have shown that showing a variety of normal and healthy-looking consumers kills sales. I can come up with no other explanation for the lack of it on these websites.
The funny thing is, I'm more judgmental of the modest place than I am of the place that embraces its skintasticness. I can kind of see VS's argument, since it is overtly trying to be sexy and generally, less clothing looks better on smaller women. I get that. I think it's lame, and I think sexiness has very little to do with pant, waist or cup size, but I get it. However, LDS women come in all shapes and sizes, and I feel like the company that markets itself toward this crowd should be more inclusive of all of this crowd, and that includes showing cute dresses on attractive women who could never shop at 2-4-6 because, I don't know, God gave them hips.
Anyway, it's now almost 9 p.m., I have a 20 percent off code at Jen that expires today, and I found a dress that is so cute I'm willing to spend more on it than I've ever spent on a dress that I didn't wear to a formal event — but only if I have a pretty good guarantee that it's going to look cute on me too. And I don't. Which I suspect is going to result in a lost sale for Jen.