accessibility · clothing · fashion · fitness

Online shopping, sizes, and winter. Brrrr! Grrrr!

I’m getting angry about shopping this spring.

And I realize that I’m privileged in terms of my size, my job, and my income.

First, there was my need for a warmer coat for walking to work and walking Cheddar the dog in this winter than never ended. It needs to be above the knee and past the butt. I don’t want black. I have major ethical qualms about Canada Goose brand clothing. Prefer plant sourced down. Oh, needs a good hood and non strangling cuffs. Also, I’m frugal about clothing and I’ve never paid more than $300 for a coat. I also try to be an ethical consumer when it comes to clothes. I’m unsure if I have an ethical commitment to buy from companies that carry the full range of sizes. Those are the challenges.

Then I found one online, size XL, made of milkweed “down.” You can browse the milkweed collection here. Pretty, pricey, ethical. Fine. Two out of three aren’t bad. I ordered.

Photo by Robert Zunikoff, Unsplash. Image description: Milkweed. Black and white close up photo.

It arrived. The XL fit Sarah who is normally a medium and I couldn’t even get my arms in it. Fit tip: Articulated sleeves equals skinny arms. No more bicep curls. Ugh. Part of it was just mislabeling. That was an XL in no one’s books. But the arms were extra bad and I think represented the challenges faced by women who strength train (and who build muscle) when it comes to clothing. See here.

So no more online ordering of coats! I returned it. That part was easy. And now I’m so sick of winter I can’t even stand to try on cold weather coats. See you here next year but in the meantime recommendations welcome.

Second, there’s my ongoing leggings challenge which I’ve written about lots. See my love of leggings post here. But since I need them all of the time for the knee brace I also need different varieties of leggings. I’ve got gym leggings covered and casual weekend leggings under control. But sometimes I need leggings with dressy outfits. If I didn’t need the knee brace then tall boots might be the answer. But a) knee brace and b) cyclist’s calves. I want high waisted size 14. Black. Full length. (The 7/8 ones are in this year and I keep shuddering watching university students with bare ankles and Canada Goose coats. I want to yell in my loudest mom voice, “Put some socks on.” But I don’t.)

Lots of friends recommend Lululemon. I’ve resisted in the past but if they work and last, I’ll pay the big bucks for leggings. So online I go. The ones everyone seems to love–hi Anne!–are “align.” And I know I’m lucky that I’m a size 14 not a size 16 or higher which doesn’t exist in the world of Lululemon.

But it doesn’t matter if I’m a 14 because they don’t have them. It’s a large company. This is one of their most popular items. You’d think they’d keep a size 14 in black in stock. But no.


Spring had better come soon. I’m done.

6 thoughts on “Online shopping, sizes, and winter. Brrrr! Grrrr!

  1. Argh indeed! As a sometimes size XL/14 and sometimes XXL/16, I rage regularly about this. Yes, we both have size privilege that larger folks don’t have, and that’s awful. But really– why don’t the companies do some very basic accounting to see how many of each size they sell in a quarter and then stock inventory accordingly? How hard can this be?

    One place to check out: Betabrand. I haven’t tried their leggings, but I do wear their boot cut dress pant yoga pants. They look good and are comfortable, and come in a bunch of sizes. Although I just checked and they seem to be out of a bunch of their larger sizes… Could it be the season?

  2. I bought a jacket from L.L. Bean. The one I picked out is goose down (good to -45) but they do have some poly-fil. They have sales on a regular basis that are really good. The arm room is great. I live in winterpeg and I was able to easily slip my wool sweater(the Norwegian kind) encased arms into the coat sleeves when it really got cold out with no problems.

  3. I can’t help with the coat as I’m a Minnesotan who lives in North Carolina & I don’t find it cold enough here to own a coat. For leggings, check out SuperFit Hero. They have ethically made leggings (& black & other solids), have pockets, & go up to a 4 or 5x. They’re pricey but amazing

  4. It is astounding to me that companies don’t realize that it’s in their best interest to provide clothing for all body types. There are so many unmet needs! I have almost completely stopped shopping at REI for clothing, because I can literally try on every pair of pants they have and not find one that fits my thighs. Or, it fits my thighs and the waist is four inches too large.

    As an aside, I heard somewhere that the most common sizes in the US for women these days are 12-14, so clearly those are the sizes that aught to be in stock at the most quantities. (I would imagine it’s similar in Canada?) As an aside to the aside, I have also discovered that higher end designer clothing lines are THE WORST at flattering, “aspirational” sizing–I’m like a size 4 in Kate Spade, while I’m often an 8 in “regular” clothes.

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