Women looking for plus-size clothing from Old Navy are going to have to search for it online, and they’ll have to pay more for it than they would for items that are not plus-size. This discrepancy has many angry shoppers claiming sizeism and sexism. Why sexism? The cost mark-up doesn’t appear in men’s clothing.
The Old Navy Pixie Pants at $27.97 in the Women’s Section
Not only are customers angry, they’re taking action. A Change.org petition calling out Old Navy has more than 80,000 signatures.
In it, Renee Posey, author of the petition, writes, “Selling jeans to larger-sized men at the same cost as they sell to smaller men not only negates the cost of manufacture argument, but indicates that Old Navy is participating in both sexism and sizeism, directed only at women.
“For example: Old Navy’s Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans cost $27 in a size 6. The same jeans in a size 26 cost $40. Alternatively, the men’s Slim-Fit Jean costs $25 – no matter the size.”
Pixie Pants in the Women’s Plus Section for $34.97
In the petition, Posey also questions the decision to make Women’s Plus a separate section on the website, while all the men’s clothes are together, writing “I don’t understand why me and women like me are being singled out and forced to pay more by Old Navy, when our male counterparts are not.” The Old Navy website is the only place shoppers can find their women’s plus-size clothes; these items aren’t available in stores.
In response to the petition and the concerns of the petitioners, Old Navy shared this statement with Time.
“Old Navy is proud to offer styles and apparel designed specifically for the plus size customer. For women, styles are not just larger sizes of other women’s items, they are created by a team of designers who are experts in creating the most flattering and on-trend plus styles, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include. This higher price point reflects the selection of unique fabrics and design elements.”
Cardigan in the Women’s Section for $18.00
A glance at the website reveals not only the major price difference in Women’s and Women’s Plus clothing, but other differences as well. When searching for sweaters, the Women’s section offers a selection labeled “New and Trendy.” The Women’s Plus section has no such category. Also, the Women’s Plus clothes are not modeled by actual people. Instead they are displayed on a mannequin (shirts) or filled by invisible legs (pants).
Old Navy is certainly not the first clothing retailer to be accused of sizeism and/or sexism (Abercrombie & Fitch and Lululemon in recent news), but it is one that many once regarded as a place where women could purchase plus-size clothing without stigma. The clothing was the same as the other women’s clothing options, instead of the non-fashion that many stores offer.
Same Cardigan in Women’s Plus for $30.00
Though Old Navy has already released a statement on the issue, it will be interesting to see if they do anything more regarding their Women’s Plus line.
Images are screenshots from OldNavy.com