May 16

A Changing Economy and the Impact on Retail

I love to talk about fashion but what and where you buy your clothes is being effected by a changing economy and its impact on the retail sector.  In case you haven’t noticed, the number of retail store closings is growing along with the increasing number of empty and boarded up malls, Here is a brief summary according to Fox Business (not all inclusive):

Store closings effecting the retail sector

  • Abercrombie & Fitch: 60 more stores are charted to close
  • Aerosoles: Only 4 of their 88 stores are definitely remaining open
  • American Apparel: They’ve filed for bankruptcy and all their stores have closed (or will soon)
  • BCBG: 118 stores have closed
  • Bebe: Bebe is history and all 168 stores have closed
  • Foot Locker: They’re closing 110 underperforming stores shortly.
  • Guess: 60 stores will bite the dust this year.
  • Gymboree: A whopping 350 stores will close their doors for good this year
  • HHGregg: All 220 stores will be closed this year after the company filed for bankruptcy.
  • J. Crew: They’ll be closing 50 stores instead of the original 20 they had announced.
  • J.C. Penney: They’ve closed 138 stores and plan to turn all the remaining ones into toy stores.
  • The Limited: All 250 retail locations have been closed and they’ve gone digital in an effort to remain in business.
  • Macy’s: 7 more stores will soon close and more than 5000 employees will be laid off.
  • Michael Kors: They’ll close 125 stores this year.
  • Payless: They’ll be closing a whopping 800 stores this year after recently filing for bankruptcy.
  • Rue 21: They’ll be closing 400 stores this year.
  • Sears/Kmart: They’ve closed over 300 locations.
  • Wet Seal: This place is history – all 171 stores will soon be closed.

And just announced, the Bon-Ton stores which include Bon-Ton, Carson’s, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Yonkers, is going out-of-business. Those highlighted in red are stores on Sister House too.

A deep recession might explain an extinction-level event for large retailers, but that is not what is happening.  So, what the heck is going on? The reality is that overall retail spending continues to grow steadily, if a little meagerly. But several trends—including the rise of e-commerce, the over-supply of malls, and the surprising effects of a restaurant renaissance—have conspired to change the face of American shopping.

E-commerce (online shopping) is changing the face of retail

People are simply buying more stuff online than they used to. The simplest explanation for the demise of brick-and-mortar shops is that Amazon is eating retail. Between 2010 and last year, Amazon’s sales in North America quintupled from $16 billion to $80 billion. Sears’ revenue last year was about $22 billion, so you could say Amazon has grown by three Sears in six years. Even more remarkable, according to several reports, half of all U.S. households are now Amazon Prime subscribers.

Share of online sales in the retail sector

But the full story is bigger than Amazon. Online shopping has done well for a long time in media and entertainment categories, like books and music. But easy return policies have made online shopping cheap, easy, and risk-free for consumers in apparel, which is now the largest e-commerce category. The success of start-ups like Casper, Bonobos, and Warby Parker (in beds, clothes, and glasses, respectively) has forced physical-store retailers to offer similar deals and convenience online.

What’s more, mobile shopping, once an agonizing experience of typing private credit-card digits in between pop-up ads, is getting easier thanks to apps and mobile wallets. Since 2010, mobile commerce has grown from 2 percent of digital spending to 20 percent. I read one statistic that said 19,000 retail jobs were lost for every 1% growth in online shopping with the potential loss of over 800,000 retail jobs in the next decade,

People used to make several trips to a store before buying an expensive item like a couch. They would go once to browse options, again to narrow down their favorites, and again to finally pull the trigger on a blue velvet love seat. On each trip, they were likely to make lots of other small purchases as they wandered around. But today many consumers can do all their prep online, which means less ambling through shopping centers and less making incidental purchases at adjacent stores (“I’m tired, let’s go home … oh wait, there’s a DSW right there, I need new sneakers”).

There will always be a place for stores. People like surveying glitzy showrooms and running their fingers over soft fabrics. But the rise of e-commerce not only moves individual sales online, but also builds new shopping habits, so that consumers gradually see the living room couch as a good-enough replacement for their local mall.

Interestingly, here in Merida, there are five major malls within 15 minutes driving distance of my house. Two more malls are opening, one now and one by end of the year, that are touted as the largest shopping malls in the Yucatan. However all is not rosy because Altabrisa, branded as a luxury mall, lost (closed) several apparel retailers in the last quarter and they have not being replaced.

Four people and a skeleton in grocery store lineup or why self checkout is a negative influence in retail

And don’t underestimate this change in buying habits. When shopping at Myers, a big box store like Target, I noticed long lines at self checkout counters with much smaller lines at counters with checkers. I was a bit surprised but thought no more of it until a family member commented on Facebox. A lengthy discussion ensued and I was blown away by repeated comments that people didn’t want to talk to the checkers…whataaaaaaa?? What is happening in America that we decline social interaction with others or is it part of the phenomena that social interaction is all on our cell phones today. This is really sad!! And not a good indicator for cashier type jobs in any industry.

America built way too many malls.

There are about 1,200 malls in America today. In a decade, there might be about 900 or less. That’s not quite the “the death of malls.” But it is decline, and it is inevitable. Of those that remain, it’s predicted that about 250 will thrive and the rest will continue to struggle.

The number of malls in the U.S. grew more than twice as fast as the population between 1970 and 2015, according to Cowen and Company’s research analysts. By one measure of consumerist plentitude—shopping center “gross leasable area”—the U.S. has 40 percent more shopping space per capita than Canada, five times more the the U.K., and 10 times more than Germany. So it’s no surprise that the Great Recession provided such a devastating blow: Mall visits declined 50 percent between 2010 and 2013, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman and Wakefield, and they’ve kept falling every year since.

Closed mall - the negative impact on our retail sector

In a long and detailed paper this week on the demise of stores, Cowen and Company research analysts offered several reasons for the “structural decay” of malls following the Great Recession. First, they said that stagnating wages and rising health-care costs squeezed consumer spending on fun stuff, like clothes. Second, the recession permanently hurt logo-driven brands, like Hollister and Abercrombie, that thrived during the 1990s and 2000s, when coolness in high-school hallways was defined by the size of the logo emblazoned on a polo shirt. Third, as consumers became bargain-hunters, discounters, fast-fashion outlets, and club stores took market share from department stores, like Macy’s and Sears.

Finally, malls are retail bundles, and when bundles unravel, the collateral damage is massive. In retail, when anchor tenants like Macy’s fail, that means there are fewer Macy’s stragglers to amble over to American Eagle. Some stores have “co-tenancy” clauses in malls that give them the right to break the lease and leave if an anchor tenant closes its doors. The failure of one or more department stores can ultimately shutter an entire mall. Note Sears and Macy’s in the stats above.

Americans are shifting their spending from materialism to meals out with friends.

Even if e-commerce and overbuilt shopping space conspired to force thousands of retail store closings, why is this meltdown happening while wages for low-income workers are rising faster than any time since the 1990s?

First, although rising wages are obviously great for workers and the overall economy, they can be difficult for low-margin companies that rely on cheap labor—like retail stores. Cashiers and retail salespeople are the two largest job categories in the country, with more than 8 million workers between them, and the median income for both occupations is less than $25,000 a year. But recently, new minimum-wage laws and a tight labor market have pushed up wages for the poorest workers, squeezing retailers who are already under pressure from Amazon.

Second, clothing stores have declined as consumers shifted their spending away from clothes toward traveling and dining out. Before the Great Recession, people bought a lot of stuff, like homes, furniture, cars, and clothes, as retail grew dramatically in the 1990s. But something big has changed. Spending on clothes is down—its share of total consumer spending has declined by 20 percent this century.

What’s up? Travel is booming. Hotel occupancy is booming. Domestic airlines have flown more passengers each year since 2010, and last year U.S. airlines set a record, with 823 million passengers. The rise of restaurants is even more dramatic. Since 2005, sales at “food services and drinking places” have grown twice as fast as all other retail spending. In 2016, for the first time ever, Americans spent more money in restaurants and bars than at grocery stores.

retail is being effected by social habitsThere is a social element to this, too. Many young people are driven by the experiences that will make the best social media content—whether it’s a conventional beach pic or a well-lit plate of glistening avocado toast. Laugh if you want, but these sorts of questions—“what experience will reliably deliver the most popular Instagram post?”—really drive the behavior of people ages 13 and up. This is a big deal for malls, says Barbara Byrne Denham, a senior economist at Reis, a real-estate analytics firm. Department stores have failed as anchors, but better food, entertainment, and even fitness options might bring teens and families back to struggling malls, where they might wander into brick-and-mortar stores that are currently at risk of closing.

Another aspect of this changing social environment is social shopping. Brands are treating social media as a sales platform now more than ever. Nearly 25% of business owners are selling through Facebook and 40% are using social media as a whole to generate sales. Not only does social media influence what people buy through recommendations (23%), a fully 30% of consumers say they would make purchases through Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Actually Pinterest is becoming the media of choice because it is not controlled by advertisers, but by the repinners and you get to see 100% of the repined content. More details here.

The political factor

The most substantial policy idea that will affect retailing will probably not become law. That’s just as well. Congressional Republicans’ tax plans include a border-adjustment tax, which retailers say would raise the price of imports, thereby crunching margins or forcing price increases. Any other intervention seems unlikely. Americans, so used to visiting shops packed with enticing goods, may have to get used to many more empty ones. Least you be too surprised, you need only read about the pending trade war with China, a major supplier of apparel to America, by the Trump Administration.

What’s to come for retail

There is no question that the most significant trend affecting brick-and-mortar stores in our retail sector is the relentless march of Amazon and other online retail companies. But the recent meltdown for retail brands is equally about the legacy of the Great Recession, which punished logo-driven brands, put a premium on experiences (particularly those that translate into social media moments), and unleashed a surprising golden age for restaurants.

There’s another element that was not discussed in our source articles but mentioned in a similar discussion on Linked-In. One commenter said this:” If the quality of the clothing was better!, if there were staff to serve one, If you could find someone in Myers to serve you, just maybe people would go back in droves to shop fronts. It is technology that has not helped most industries. To quote Stephen Hawkins, “One day there will be no need for humans”. I did find that service in some boutiques was exceptional, but the quality and selection of clothing often leaves a lot to be desired

Supply Chain Dive said this:”To survive the apocalypse, retailers must think of retail as a service“. This means that both back end services and the customer experience must exceed customer expectations. We have a long way to go.

Finally, a brief prediction. One of the mistakes people make when thinking about the future is to think that they are watching the final act of the play. Mobile shopping might be the most transformative force in retail—today. But self-driving cars could change retail as much as smartphones.

the new face of retail - the self-driving car

Once autonomous vehicles are cheap, safe, and plentiful, retail and logistics companies could buy up millions, seeing that cars can be stores and streets are the ultimate real estate. In fact, self-driving cars could make shopping space nearly obsolete in some areas. CVS could have hundreds of self-driving minivans stocked with merchandise roving the suburbs all day and night, ready to be summoned to somebody’s home by smartphone. A new luxury-watch brand in 2025 might not spring for an Upper East Side storefront, but maybe its autonomous showroom vehicle could circle the neighborhood, waiting to be summoned to the doorstep of a tony apartment building. Autonomous retail will create new conveniences and traffic headaches, require new regulations, and inspire new business strategies that could take even more businesses out of commercial real estate. The future of retail could be even weirder yet.

Resources:  The Atlantic Monthly     The Economist

Oct 05

Consignment Versus Thrifting: Knowing Your Options

Crossdressers often begin their shopping experiences at secondhand stores so knowing your options: Consignment versus thrifting is important. I tend to list anything that’s been bought secondhand as “thrifted,” which isn’t quite fair. Yes, items purchased at consignment shops are used and yes, I had to do some digging to find them. But thrift stores and consignment stores are really quite different.

HOW THRIFT STORES WORK

thrift storeWeeellll, some will work differently than others. But here in the U.S., the vast majority of thrift shops are donation-based and center on a charity or non-profit organization. Community members donate used goods – including clothing, shoes, and accessories – to the organization in question. Although donating truly ruined items is discouraged, damaged, heavily worn, and flawed items are relatively common. Items are sorted and priced by volunteers, then sent to the sales floor where they are bought by shoppers.

HOW CONSIGNMENT SHOPS WORK

consignment shopAgain, there are several models. But in most cases, consignment stores keep buyers on staff. Community members bring in gently used items for evaluation, and the buyers look them over to determine if they are likely to sell well from that particular shop. If the items are deemed a good risk, the shop sells them on behalf of the original owner, takes a percentage of the sale price, and gives the remainder to the original owner. Some consignment shops will take the items, price them, sell them, and THEN pay out the consignee’s portion. Some will pay up front.

consignment versus thrifting - knowing-the-difference-between-thrift-and-consignment

THRIFTING IS YOUR BEST BET WHEN …

Thrifting is a crap-shoot. You never know what you’ll get because stock is constantly rotating and donations may range from high-end designer goods to wacky vintage duds to fast-fashion castoffs. But here are a handful of instances in which thrifting may be the better secondhand option:

You’re broke: Thrift shops are almost universally cheaper than consignment shops. This is not to say that you can’t get bargains at consignment shops or that some thrift stores aren’t grossly overpriced. But thrift stores are utilizing donations and trying to sell as many items as possible, while consignment stores are choosy about what they accept and must split profits with garment owners. Consignment shops will charge more. If you’re truly broke, you’ll likely do better shopping thrift.

You’re looking for casual items: Again, plenty of great office-appropriate and formal duds can be found at most thrift shops. But since thrift shops accept flawed items and since some folks might choose to keep or consign fancy garments that are still in good shape, thrift stores are a better bet for casual wear.

You’re shopping for accessories: Scarves and belts can be nabbed for pennies on the dollar at thrift stores, and they’re small enough that you’re likely to spot any damage or wear. Jewelry and shoes are catch as catch can here in Minneapolis, but hats and gloves are abundant and cheap. You’ll get better deals on perfectly good stuff if you thrift for accessories.

You love the thrill of the hunt: Thrifting takes time and patience. If you love searching for amazing finds or breathtaking bargains, you will adore this type of shopping. If the process is as much fun as the finds you take home in the end, you’re a born thrifter.

You’re a secondhand shopping expert: I’ve been thrifting since I was 13. I know how to find what I want, and what my deal-breakers are. I can tell from feel if a fiber is something I’d want to wear and know how to spot good construction from 30 paces. If you’re new to secondhand shopping, consignment shops might feel less overwhelming. If you’re an old hand, you can hit the thrift racks with confidence.

CONSIGNMENT SHOPS ARE YOUR BEST BET WHEN …

Since consignment operations sift wheat from chaff at the outset, you’ll find higher end labels and garments with less wear and tear. And like department stores, they often have mannequins in the window. I’ve bought more than one outfit off a mannequin.

You’re looking for work clothing: Lots of fun casual items on the racks, too, but consignment shops are generally stocked to the brim with work-appropriate garments in good shape. You’ll spend more, but you’ll get newer items for your investment.

You’re looking for something specific: Consignment shops tend to have smaller inventories and are better organized than thrift stores, plus they stock classics pretty consistently. Now, if you’re on the hunt for a red leather jacket with fringe and rhinestones, thrift stores or even eBay might be better bets. But if you’re looking for button-front shirts, skinny jeans, colorful cardigans, or simple sandals and you aren’t willing to hunt through multiple shops to find them, try consignment.

You want updated versions: Some of you may be saying, “Hang on. What about the whole ‘thrifting for classics‘ thing?” Good point! And here’s why I’m sending you to consignment: Thrift stores will have classic items in abundance, and some will be exactly what you want. But they’ll also have skirts from the 80s and blazers from the 90s, which may look just ever so slightly “off” to your eye. Most consignment shops only accept items that were made in the past 3-4 years, so you’ll have an easier time finding current iterations of classic items.

You prefer mid-market and high-end clothes overall: If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Banana Republic girl, you will occasionally luck out at the thrift stores but you’ll find BALES of great stuff at consignment shops. If you love Eileen Fisher clothes but hate the prices, consignment shops can help you out. Naturally, mid-market and high-end brands turn up at thrift stores, too … but not quite as often.

You’re easing into secondhand: I want everyone I meet to unlock the joys of thrift shopping … but I also understand that it can be overwhelming. (If you’re local, you can always set up a personal shopping session at Value Village to get you started!) If you get overwhelmed easily, are working on a tight timeline, or just don’t enjoy the shopping process all that much, starting with consignment shops can make the transition to secondhand shopping a bit smoother.

Some common problems with my thrift store purchases

  • They often don’t fit that great. In the moment I love the piece so much that I figure it’s no big deal that it’s a large size, but then I never end up wearing it.
  • They often don’t go with the rest of my wardrobe. A cool skirt doesn’t do me much good if I don’t have any tops that match.
  • They aren’t a great fit for my lifestyle. For example, as a stay-at-home mom I need very few dressy items. And hoodies don’t work for me since I’m always running from one thing to the next — I need easy-to-remove layers.

So they just hang in my closet for years at a time.

When I shop at thrift stores, I end up with way too many items in my wardrobe that never get worn. This contributes to clutter and is a waste of space and money. Sure, I only spent $3 on that top; but $3 is too much money to spend on something that will just take up room in my closet.

I’ve discovered that I’m much better off when I’m very intentional about my purchases — if I decided ahead of time exactly what I want, and then go out and find it in my exact size. That is a very unlikely scenario heading into a thrift store.

So my new approach to clothes shopping? I strive for a minimalist wardrobe made up of intentional, quality pieces.

 

Related posts to consignment versus thrifting:

Do you tend to do more of your secondhand shopping at thrift stores or consignment stores? A bit of both? Do you go to one source for certain needs, the other for different needs? What do you see as the advantages of one over the other?

You might also enjoy Mannequin Madness (Pt1), Mannequin Madness (Pt2)and Shopping Secrets

Originally posted on Already Pretty 

Nov 04

How To Dress To Go Shopping

girl-shopping

Image via Girl With Curves

Shopping as a woman or “en femme” is pretty exhilarating. It’s an affirmation of my feminine gender. I blend in and become just another woman shopper. Other shoppers may be aware of my physical presence, but will assume that I am just another girl hunting for a bargain.  They may look up momentarily to see  who the other bargain hunter is and when they don’t recognize me, they return to the hunt. Sometimes they may offer a friendly smile or a pleasant “hello.” Countless shopping adventures have affirmed this experience. It’s no wonder that trans girls prefer brick  and mortar stores

But it can be frustrating too after trying on countless dresses and none quite fit right or look right in that wrap-aroiund mirror.. You gert tired of trying things on? The zippers, the straps, the buttons and buckles, it can get pretty messy. Not only do you have to have a plan for where you’re going and what you want, but you also need to be prepared with what you’ve got on. Follow our simple hints below and you’ll be a shopping professional in no time.

Know What You Want

It’s easy to just window shop, but if you’re setting an afternoon to look for a specific item (or items), the day becomes focused, and the probability of you purchasing by impulse becomes much slimmer.

Underneath Counts

Depending on what you are scouring the racks for, plan on wearing the right undergarments for that particular item. If you’re buying a pencil skirt for work, the perfect boyfriend jeans, or even a formal backless gown, you’ll want to know exactly how it’s going to look and fit before you actually bring it home.

Feel Good When Trying On Clothes

Now this may just be me, but I feel differently when I am wearing an outfit I like. I feel more confident, more outgoing and more willing to try on new things. So even though you are going shopping for clothes, wear something that still looks put together. Comfortable, casual, but still smart:

  • Stick with neutral colors to be able to envision the ideal look that you are trying to achieve. For instance, buying pants? Wear your favorite white top that you’ll most likely be pairing with those pants.
  • Also like your favorite top, make sure the items you wear are easy to throw on and off. Pull-over tops, simple cotton-stretch dresses and skirts (short or maxi length) that slip on work well too.
  • Also, if you are shopping for a dress that needs heels, bring the heels you will be wearing, so you can see the full effect right in the dressing room.

No Fitting Room, No Problem

If you happen to be browsing in a place that does not have a fitting room (consignment, thrift stores, vintage stores), then prepare by configuring a “base” outfit. A base outfit means an ensemble that allows you to try on clothes efficiently without getting fully undressed.

  • A slip dress (or any thin fabric dress) permits you to try anything on over it without the bulk, and also under it with bottoms.
  • Black leggings and a black camisole/tank work wonders as well.

Ship It

If you are shopping while on vacation or even just out of town, wondering how you will fit your new purchases back into your suitcase can be an issue. If this is the case (let’s say with buying outerwear), consider asking the retailer if they ship items. Most likely they do, and occasionally it’s tax free.

As Always, Some Extras

  • Keep your handbag small and hands-free
  • Leave your difficult shoes at home; stick with slip-ons, sandals or no-fuss ankle boots
  • Remember to bring your receipts if you have clothing to return
  • Bring quarters for parking meters; you never know where you’ll have to park

Nothing feels better than accomplishing a productive day, but stay positive and don’t be so hard on yourself when you don’t find that perfect garment. Tell yourself a hundred times how lovely you are in that mirror, because after all, it’s true. You are unique, creative and prepared! So go get some practice in before Black Friday sneaks up on all of us. The holidays are coming!

Here are some more highly practical and useful shopping tips

Republished from Darling Magazine

Jan 11

How To Determine Your Size

One of the most frustrating things with shopping for women’s clothes has been trying to determine what size I am. Even with blue jeans it has been super frustrating for me. When I choose to buy male jeans, it is super easy. I wear a 30 x 32. 30 inch waist and a 32 inch inseam. Pretty simple huh? But while buying women’s jeans it is not nearly as simple. Even just fitting the waist. I can fit into a 30, a 29, a 28, a 27, or even a 26! And forget about the lengths. My female jeans do not even have a length marked on them!

Nadine in size 28 blue jeans_

This process can be especially hard on transgender individuals as too frequently we do not feel comfortable shopping in store or if we are, trying things on while we are at the store. Which is exactly how I used to feel. I would shop for items I was interested in, purchase them, and take them home excitedly, only to discover that they were nowhere near my correct size. Then I would need to take them back to the store for a return or exchange.

Nadine 2 COMB

At some point, I figured out that it would be much less difficult to just try on the things I wanted while I was at the store. Initially this began with me going dressed as a guy and taking some female items into the male dressing rooms. Sometimes I would mix in some male items and sometimes it was solely female items. Once while in JCPenny’s I wanted to try on a women’s shapeware item while dressed as a male. I simply walked up to the closest sales rep and asked where I could try it on. She didn’t flinch at all and simply pointed me to the nearest male dressing room. There was another time while at Guess I took some male and female items to the dressing room and while being checked in, the young girl counting the items I brought in, said “these obviously are not for you,” regarding some female clothing I had with me. I just smiled and said “yes they are.” She gave me an odd look, but counted the items and opened a dressing room for me.

Eventually I finally figured out that it is far easier to just go into the stores dressed as a woman. That way there is no confusion about what gender’s clothing I am shopping for. Though one time at Guess I did highly confuse a sales associate who saw me trying on male jeans while dressed as a woman. She came up to me and said “oh honey those are not the right jeans for such a cute figure as yours!” I smiled and explained to her that I am transgender and I buy clothing from both sides of the store. She took it all in, smiled, and said she would have never known!

sizing Nadeens clothes

The best thing about dressing as a woman and trying on clothes at the store is frequently, in many of the nicer stores, a sales associate will come by your dressing room, politely knock on your door, and ask if they need to get you any other sizes. And do you know why they do that? Because there is absolutely no consistency with the sizing of women’s clothing!

Nadines clothing sizes

Do not fret about whether you are a size 6 or 10 or 20 or size whatever. As soon as you determine which size you are, when you go into a different store, or try on a different manufacturer’s clothes, or even stick with a store year after year, in all likelihood the size that actually fits you will be different. There is no standard measurements for what constitutes any of the sizes marked on the labels. Each manufacturer sets its own measurements to those numbers.

Which is often why I feel it is a ridiculous question when someone asks me what size I am. What size with which store, with which product, and with which year of manufacturing are they asking about?

Even with something as simple as the blue jeans I was mentioning at the start of this article. How could it be that I fit into a 30 inch waist in male jeans and a 26 inch waist in female jeans if those pants were actually set to something, like oh, I don’t know, an actual measuring tape! Which you need to know that they are not. Even lately with male clothing this has been the case.

Nadines clothing sizes

So…. in the end, I wish I could tell you some super simple easy way to always know what size you are. Like using something as simple as a measuring tape. And that when you determine your size, you could use that to always figure out what size you should buy. But honestly, that would be extremely useless. The only real way to know which clothes are actually going to fit you is to try them on. One way or the other, you will need to try them on before you can tell if they are going to work.

Nadines clothing sizes

Do not get discouraged. Do not think your body is weird. Do not think that female clothes just do not fit your body. This is how clothing works. You need to try it on. If that means ordering online, and getting used to returning, then so be it. If it means screwing up the courage to get into a store and try them on before purchasing, then go for it.

Nadines clothing sizesAnd maybe through this process you will discover which stores have inspired the phrase “vanity sizing.” Yes Loft, I am talking of you and those size 4 skirts I easily slip into!

Note from Tasi: Nadeen aptly describes the problems in shopping for women’s clothing which we also talk about in our post in Sizing in Women’s Clothing. It makes little sense at all. You need to know your own measurements whether buying in the store or online and if they are not there, then ask. Also check our posts on sizing by store and by brand in the right sidebar.

Mar 31

Shopping Experiences

crossdressers shopping at the mall

This is an ongoing series of videos and articles about shopping experiences. Most videos are from the “Inside the Dressing Room” or “Dressing Room Confidential” series, but include others of interest and stores known to be trans-friendly. Hopefully you will add your own comments, observations, and recommendations. Most shoppers are plus-size, even so there is much to be learned by listening to the shopper’s comments. Most styles come in sizes 14-28.

Each store is linked to their website to facilitate your current shopping desires. There are usually more shopping videos from these stores on You Tube so check them out. If you have a favorite store not here, let me know in the comments. Also visit our many articles in Putting It Together in the Dressing Room for finding other great places to shop.

Shopping Articles

I Love That Dress But It’s From China

Shopping Videos

Dress Barn

Lane Bryant

Torrid

Nordstrom

Ashley-Stewart

H&M

Kohls

Target

Forever 21

Avenue

J C Penney

Catherines