Old Navy's Plus Size Problem

Posted on December 03 2014

You probably heard that Old Navy was petitioned to stop charging more for its plus size clothing than its regular sized clothing. One of their customers, Renee Posey, was shopping Old Navy’s site for a pair of pants when she learned that they charge extra for plus size women’s clothes, but not for big and tall men’s clothes. The plus size women’s pants were priced at $10 or more above the smaller version. Men’s pants, conversely, are all the same price, regardless of size. What made Posey angry wasn’t paying more for plus sizes, but that men didn’t also have to pay increased prices.

Posey quickly started a petition on Change.org and got 100,000 signatures in one week. This earned her a call with a handful of senior executives from Old Navy and their parent company, The Gap. On the call, much was discussed, but the underlying message from the company executives was that women’s plus size clothing costs more because it is designed specifically to fit and flatter those customers using extras like stretch materials and specialized waistbands. Basically, it requires more of an investment. Larger men’s products aren’t designed specifically for them and therefore don’t cost more.

At the end of the day, it seems like Old Navy is sending mixed messages to all customers...Only plus size women get clothing specifically designed to flatter and fit? The regular sized clothing is just that. Regular. No special measures are taken to ensure fit or flattery. The outcome of the call was that plus size clothing will continue to cost more, but that plus size shoppers will have the ability to now return online purchases to the brick and mortar stores which was not an option before. Additionally, Old Navy will form a customer panel, to provide customer insights directly to the designers. What do you think about Old Navy charging more? Do you know of any other brands that do this?

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