I recently came across an article about J. Crew introducing size 000 pants. As a petite woman, my first thought was, “Hooray!” As I continued reading I saw the backlash, with many accusing the retailer of encouraging unhealthy eating behaviors. Here is what I have to say on the topic. I’ll caveat this that I’m not a controversial person, but I would like people to hear from the perspective of someone in their target audience.
I am 4’ 11” tall with a small frame. I am a healthy eater and always have been. And by healthy I mean that I eat normally. I could not live in this world without chocolate. I’m just naturally a petite person and finding pants that fit has always proved a challenge for me. Tops are okay, but pants are another story. Most pairs I own are circa 1999 because when I find a pair that I can wear, I hang on to them for as long as I can. One of these days they will walk off on their own. I have never been able to purchase pants off the rack without requiring alterations. The expense alone is frustrating, but the pants never seem to fit right either, always puckering in the wrong places. So what’s wrong with introducing a size intended to fit an unmet need for smaller women?
If J. Crew introduced a size 18 pants I don’t think there would be an uproar. What’s wrong with going the other end of the spectrum?
And they clearly stated the size was intended for the Asian market, where women are often petite, and not a crop of supermodels.
I think people’s anger is misdirected. Rather than accusing J. Crew of promoting unhealthy standards, what about the industry as a whole that practices vanity sizing? Perhaps if this weren’t the case J. Crew wouldn’t need to introduce this size in the first place. I could play devil’s advocate and say that plus sizes send the wrong message given the epidemic of obesity. I don’t view it that way, just as I don’t view smaller sizes as promoting unhealthy eating habits. It’s an unfair double standard. Women come in all shapes and sizes. I think we should celebrate what makes us unique, rather than pointing a finger at those of us who happen to fall on the smaller end of the spectrum. I don’t believe J. Crew is trying to make women feel self-conscious about their body image. I think they are trying to please a group of customers by introducing more choices for them. So while they may have lost some customers with this decision, they have gained one more. To J. Crew, I say, “thank you.”