It all started with Tim Gunn.
The "Project Runway" star recently spilled the tea on designers and brands who intentionally ignore and overlook women who wear a size 14 or larger. One such brand he called out was Lord & Taylor and its pitiful "Woman" section.
The upscale department store is across the street from my office so I decided to go and check it out. To my surprise, the plus-size section at Lord & Taylor (no longer called "Woman") was pretty nice, plentiful, and organized.
When I came back and talked with some curvy coworkers, they said that the real crime against plus-size fashion is at H&M.
"It's the size of a shoebox and it looks like it's been ravaged by a herd of animals at all times," one person told me. "The earring racks take up more space than plus-size at H&M."
They only knew of one H&M in New York that even carried plus sizes. So there I went...
But when I got there, I discovered something even worse than what I'd been told.
Upon arriving to H&M's Seventh Ave. store, I noticed this sign.
"We stopped selling plus-size in stores a few months ago," the salesperson said. "There might be a few pieces left in the clearance section, though!"
All I was able to find was a single size 14 blouse.
The salesperson suggested I try a different H&M location. She said there was another store just one avenue away that she believed still had a plus-size section.
So off I went.
I walked to the H&M at Herald Square, the biggest H&M in the world, to see what I could find.
Again, I noticed right away that the directory didn't list a plus-size section.
Maybe the plus-size pieces are just grouped in with the straight sizes, I thought to myself.
After wandering around the first two levels, I located a salesperson and inquired about the plus-size section. The salesperson hesitated.
She said she wasn't sure where they kept their plus-size clothing; then she ran off to ask another coworker on the floor.
A second salesperson was able to confirm that the Herald Square location had also eliminated its plus-size section. I asked the two workers if any H&M location in the city sold plus-size clothing in stores. Nope.
One salesperson explained that they used to have a decent size section for sizes 12 and up, but the clothing "wasn't selling well." The section kept getting smaller... and smaller... and smaller.
Then one day they just stopped selling plus sizes altogether.
But because the Herald Square location only recently stopped selling its plus-sizes, the salesperson told me they still accept plus-size returns. She said I might be able to find some returned plus-size pieces hanging back on the racks.
Without a plus-size section, H&M has designated the area reserved for its L.O.G.G. line as the home for any remaining plus-size rejects until they're sold.
The salesperson said they're placing the returned plus-size pieces in the L.O.G.G. section because it's the "closest thing they have to plus-size" — meaning the clothes go up to a size 14 and XL instead of stopping at H&M's typical cutoff of a size 12 and L.
Even in the L.O.G.G. section, a size 14 (the largest size available) was difficult to find.
But finding anything under a size 12 in the store was a piece of cake.
I was swimming in a sea of 4s, 6s, 8s and 10s.
If you're under a size 12, you literally have four floors worth of options.
But seeing just how much space H&M sets aside for accessories was what *really* felt like a slap in the face.
H&M will easily dedicate half a floor to earrings, but thinks it's a poor investment to sell clothing in sizes that actually fit the majority of American women?
It was disheartening to learn that not a single H&M in New York City is carrying plus sizes.
You'd think this wouldn't be a problem in a store that just put out an huge fall ad campaign featuring a size 16 model, Ashley Graham.
Come on, guys. Do better.
H&M gave the following statement about pulling the plug on plus in NYC:
"H&M’s product range has grown in the past few years, with e.g. an extended sports offering, a new beauty assortment and our interior concept H&M Home. This means not all stores have room for all our fashion concepts. The assortment in the stores is evolving as we continuously assess the product mix, which is decided by each store’s specific pre-requisites when it comes to e.g. its size and the customers’ requests. We refer customers to our online store hm.com, which includes all our fashion concepts, and a broader assortment."