While one of the chain’s regional competitors, Meijer, took the unusual step of abolishing the plus-size department and sorting clothes by style rather than by size, Kmart is trying something different: The retailer is renaming the section “Fabulously Sized,” while expanding how many of its clothing items are available in, um, fabulous sizes.
Full range of fab
The idea, Kmart’s chief marketing officer explained to Forbes, is to make more of its items available in a full range of sizes, up through 5X, which usually converts to a size 30 or 32.
This includes wide-width shoes, larger-sized lingerie, and making its whole store-brand Jaclyn Smith and Basic Editions lines available in extended sizes.
“When we reached out to our members on social media, they told us we needed to have a better assortment and that we should we call [the plus-size section] something different,” head marketer Kelly Cook told the magazine.
While a nice publicity stunt, the change does raise questions: Are women who wear smaller sizes less fabulous? Does fabulousness rise exponentially with one’s dress size?
Twitter users, when not making jokes about rebranding adult-onset diabetes as “fabulous,” found this to be kind of a nice move at best, and condescending at worst.
If Kmart wants to be “size-positive” and inclusive, they could just call it all “clothes” without having separate racks or sections. As the number of physicial Kmart stores across the country decreases, customers will be checking out these lines online more often than they’ll be browsing a Kmart store in person.
What the chain should be careful to avoid is churning out clothes that are just items in misses’ sizes scaled up, and make sure to bring in fit models who are actually larger women. Otherwise, it will just end up with racks of larger clothes that don’t flatter anyone.