I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

The Narrow Avenue


I have mentioned before how I have 4-5 pair of the exact same jeans because when you find good ones you just have to!  Well, sadly, my beloved jeans are wearing out slowly but surely and the worst part is that they are also discontinued. They no longer make them. I am wearing them still and most likely will until the thighs are transparent (or close to it). They are/were Avenue’s Denim Lite jeans, Straight leg in a dark wash. They are thin and have stretch. They hug my ass and hips, but don’t grab at my thighs. They are the right jeans for me. It took years to find them.

Saturday after brunch with the loveliest of rad fatties I know, we headed over to Avenue to peruse their wares and wonders and I had an open mind to trying whatever their jeans du jour might be in the hopes of finding some good ones to amass once again. Avenue had been my denim savior serendipitously many years ago, so certainly the possibility was there. I saw “skinny” jeans, “Hollywood Skinny” and all manner of flared and boot cut. They had denim capris and what appeared to be a true classic cut and even a straight leg!

I was attempting to locate my size on the racks but was coming up short. In my current jeans I wear a 30 average, but to be honest, I never unbutton them, I simply slide them over my hips with ease. I like it. I’m weird. I was open to trying on several pair in different sizes to see what works best. But the sudden realization that this wasn’t at all possible left me in denial. I asked the salesperson for assistance, “Am I missing something or do your jeans only go up to a size 26?” she smiled and said they went higher but that their stock is very limited.

Limited is putting it mildly. She grabbed a hook and started to sort through the upper rack where no one could ever possibly see the sizing so high up there. Then I asked about the cut and fabric of these jeans we were going through. She said they had some stretch but not quite as soft/thin as the Denim Lite line had. Bummer. But I was willing to try some just the same. I ended up trying a 26 average. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. I wasn’t devastated, but more irritated. The jeans went on my body fine and all. I could zip the zipper and button the button. But when I turned around to look in the mirror? Horror!

These jeans were made as a fucking joke! They grabbed at my thighs like they were homicidal! They strangled my knees as though being held hostage not for money but for play! These denim demons made me feel badly about my own body! These jeans had to GO! I got them off and back into my own with a huge sigh (I’m sort of known for those, btw). I proceeded to try on the two bras I’d brought in with me, but let’s just say that only went a smidgen better than the fucking jeans did. Ugh!

When I came out of the fitting room Marilyn asked how they worked out. I gave her a grave look and simply said, “they didn’t.” She asked what size I tried and if I could go up or down to better fit my needs. I explained the situation and she being the radical fat activist that she is (yes, that Marilyn) she asked me to find the original price of the jeans as she headed up to the cash register. They were originally $40, but that day 40% off (I would have bought a few pair, actually, at that price).

She had already tried on her stuff and had quite a selection of goods ready to be purchased. She placed them on the counter and asked the cashier if she could just add them up before ringing them up. She did. And then Marilyn said, “This is what I would have purchased, and then some, had your store carried the sizes it claims to. Had my friend been able to find jeans in her size she would have bought more, too.” The cashier was confused.

This particular Avenue location is not exactly known for its great customer service (I once walked in on the employees calling a customer a bitch to her face, it got ugly!). She explained that claiming to carry a full range of sizes for a full range of people and then simply not carrying them is unacceptable and downright discriminatory. The cashier just sort of stood there dead-eyed. Marilyn simply asked that she relay this feedback to her higher ups.The cashier then said that they weren’t allowed to do that. The only way to get heard, she said, was to go on Avenue’s Facebook page. Wow!

Not only is that surprising, it’s ridiculous and stupid. But you don’t offer up a meaty challenge like that to the likes of Marilyn, or me for that matter, without some sort of follow up! And so she took to Facebook and explained what had taken place. Of course Avenue gave the same old BS PR Schpeel:

“Hi Marilyn – We apologize that you and your friends were unable to find all the items you needed in your size. We do carry size 32, but we have had a busier season than expected due to the warmer winter we have had. Customers have been purchasing spring items earlier than usual. We have more stock coming daily, and a large assortment online. I will be forwarding your feedback to our design department for future planning, as customer service is a priority for us. Thank you for your feedback.”

I can personally attest to the fact that MOST Avenue locations do not even get the larger sizes. If they do, they will get one! That is like one pair of pants or one top! This has been a trickling of a sort over the last 5 years I would say. I used to just walk in, grab what I needed, pay and leave. I didn’t need to try things on back then, because they actually had some consistency for a minute. Now? Now it’s a fucking joke! Now I have to set aside some time and often put off even going because I have to try everything on, in two or three different sizes, if they even have them.

The worst is their “deals” tops and such. Those almost always only go to a size 26 and even then it could be a huge or miniscule version of that size. The real doozy for me was this past winter’s tights claiming to come in a EE when none of their stores OR web site actually ever had the EE’s. I even had salespeople say, “No, I’m sure we must have gotten them in. They just sold so fast!” Shenanigans! Bullshit! There is no way in hell! I have scoured the racks and web and I can tell you for a fact that that is a lie!

So here’s what is up now, Avenue. I will be calling district and regional managers this week. I will take to the Facebook page and share my story. I will then say a big FUCK YOU to you and Lane Bryant and any other retailer that claims to carry my size yet seems to go out of their way not to ever actually physically have them and I am going to have some awesome rad seamstress custom make me some damned jeans! I will not give you my money! I will not enter your stores. I will no longer be in one of your fitting rooms feeling badly about my awesome fat body that I normally love because of your seriously poorly made/designed jeans!

I am sick of being lied to. I am sick of these retailers biting the hands that literally fucking feed them! I worked in retail for over ten years, this new “only on Facebook” tactic is utter crap! But hey, they wanna play that game, so can we. I hope that you will share your grievances as well. Together we make an awesome, radical fatty team! <3

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21 Comments to

“The Narrow Avenue”

  1. On March 20th, 2012 at 10:07 am JM Says:

    Sad but true…I talked to one of the associates not long after Marilyn did her thing about shipments. When I worked at the Avenue, we got shipments every Tuesday Night, Wednesday was Mark Down Day, and all new items had to be on the racks no later than Thursday when the doors opened. I asked her if Tuesdays were still their shipment day and she said that they actually hadn’t been getting regular shipments and that mostly they were coming randomly every two weeks. So the BS about “stock coming in daily” is just that, BS!!! It’s not even coming in weekly and with irregular shipping days, how can a shopper get to the store to sweep up those larger sizes they say are there in lower #s? Call the store every day? Like I have nothing better to do than shop (um, well lets not go there)!!


  2. On March 20th, 2012 at 6:56 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    JM: Wow, good point! I must have missed that part.

  3. On March 20th, 2012 at 11:21 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    Good for you & good luck finding jeans that fit that you really like. I have some Avenue jeans & on me they seem to run a bit bigger than some styles. I think it is safe to say that I won’t be having any more Avenue jeans. I order everything online, do not have many plus size stores in my small Maine city anyway, & I really prefer to order online & get packages in the mail. I have had very good like with jeans from Simply Bee, which is British & European clothing, fairly expensive, but I usually manage to get a coupon fo 25% or so when I buy. I have some jeans from Torrid I like & a couple of pairs of Baby Phat, who seems to be cutting back on plus sizes & makes nothing over a size 24 or 26. I just got a Ulla Popken catalog today & they have a few styles of neat-looking jeans which are available up to size 38 & they finally got the message that jeans should be sold in single sizes, not the 20-22 or whatever that they like to do with their tops & some of their pull-on pants.

    I wear 20-22, used to be pear-shaped, &, post-menopause, my body has kind of evolved into an apple (aging is like that, believe me, it is not the same body I had at 22, but then, contrary to what our culture & media like to tell us, we are not SUPPOSED to have exactly the same body at 62 that we had at 22.) My issue is getting jeans which are comfortable through the waist & belly, without being baggy on my not particularly round butt or my legs/thighs, which are proportionately thin for my body size. I always buy skinny/slim leg jeans, at least until the fashion mavens decide that we are not allowed to have them again for awhile. I like jeggings, too, except for the fact that I do not carry a purse &, once the weather warms up well enough (currently 73 degrees in Bangor, ME) so that I don’t need my trusty jacket with the zipped pockets or my raincoat with zipper pockets, I need pants with good pockets.

    Anyway, good luck. I hope you end up with the jeans you need & deserve to wear. There is nothing wrong with your beautiful body, but there is plenty wrong with a lot of people who supposedly make clothes for us.

  4. On March 20th, 2012 at 6:58 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Patsy Nevins: Aw, thank you!

  5. On March 20th, 2012 at 11:23 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    That was ‘good luck’, not ‘good like.’ I can shop for jeans better than I can type.

  6. On March 20th, 2012 at 4:09 pm lucy Says:

    I’ve never had a problem finding larger sizes in Avenue stores (I’m near Sacramento), but THE TIGHTS. I have to size up for tights anyway so EE would likely be too small anyway, but I can’t tell because NO STORE HAS EE. I have checked 3 separate stores out here and in the bay area, and nothing. Ridiculous. I don’t shop at Lane Bryant usually because their clothes are way too expensive for something that is so far off my style, but the one time I went recently to see an awesome belt that I had seen on Nicole- their belts were ALL 18/20s. There was a SINGLE 26/28 belt.

    I’ve pretty much given up on brick-and-mortar stores, except for one, and it surprises me that I like it so much- CATHERINE’S! Their stuff is pretty old lady-y and expensive, but they have the BEST hose and it goes up to 7x, they carry Liz & Me tights which are amazing and also go to 7x, their bra bands go up to at least 50 (same as Avenue; Lane Bryant only carries anything with shape up to a ridiculous 44), and they have an amazing clearance section. I bought the best bra I’ve ever owned for EIGHT DOLLARS.

    Anyway, the point of that whole rant was to say I support you! Most plus size stores have ridiculous policies when people are just attempting to hand over their money.

  7. On March 20th, 2012 at 7:00 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Lucy: The pricing is nuts sometimes, but when the quality goes down AND the price goes up? I mean? Wow! And yeah, I checked a ton of store for those EE tights this past winter and no dice. It is interesting to me what the do choose to carry in the larger end of the sizing spectrum versus what they don’t. It really seems like they are saying, “Here, this is all you get! You don’t deserve much else anyway!” Of course we know it’s bullshit, but not all fats do. And woot! Cali-babe! <3

  8. On March 20th, 2012 at 4:20 pm maggiemunkee Says:

    i worked at an avenue about a decade ago (holy fuck, how has it been that long?!), and anything over a 26 was rare to get in. well, in anything cute that people want to buy. tapered leg pocketless ponte knit pants that look awful and just about everyone? boxy pocketless denim leggings in terrible washes? TONS of those in 28-32.

    i will also take a minute to complain about how ridiculous the packaging was for shipments. each item was wrapped in its own sealed plastic bag, usually with the tiniest, thinnest piece of stinky tissue paper you’ve ever seen, and then packed within another plastic bag with a few other items, and those were each placed in a larger plastic bag, tossed into a cardboard box and sealed with a ridiculous amount of tape. WASTEFUL. hopefully they have streamlined that garbage since i’ve been separated from the company.

    now i’m tempted to go to avenue soon just to see what sizes they have in stock.

  9. On March 21st, 2012 at 3:08 am Kirsten Says:

    Straight up lie that girl told you about reporting customer feedback. I should know……I worked for Avene for enough years as a store manager.

    And yeah, the godawful Ponte pants and leggings. Ugh. I never want to hear the word Ponte again. Horrid creations that nobody looked good in.

    And the shipment packaging……a recycling haven. More packaging than product. The plastic always smelled like dirty butt to me.

    Last but not least, sooo glad I don’t have to work display configurations out within inches, and on a template for a completely different shaped/sized store–ours was TINY, but they wanted mega-store sized displays. God it used to piss me off how my regional manager used to come visit and break out the GD tape measure, and then id get blasted because it didnt work. Not my fault; i didnt pick the shop to lease! Or act like she was doing me a massive favor by giving me an extra hour on the overall roster budget yet limit the number of hours each person could work. I hated doing the roster because all my people were part timers and it never worked right.

    When our location closed, I was devastated. When they offered me crappy locations in places I wouldn’t go on a dare, I was devastated. Then I found a new job with another chain, and realize the best thing Avenue ever did for me was to cut me losose.

  10. On March 21st, 2012 at 9:15 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Kristen: Ahhh, retail nightmares! I did my ten years. Don’t think I could handle it now, honestly. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences here.

  11. On March 21st, 2012 at 6:22 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    Your last point is an especially good one, that they believe that fat customers, & most especially the larger fat customers, don’t deserve good clothes & figure that they are sure to sell whatever they DO carry because the larger fat women don’t deserve good clothes, & will buy what is available while hanging their heads in shame & hating themselves too much to stand up, complain, & demand good clothes. Unfortunately, with many women, that is true.

    I get Making It Big catalogs. They of course cater exclusively to fat women & do sell good quality clothing in very large sizes. I have a few items I got there, but I always think that their clothing looks a bit “old lady” ish & also a bit ‘fat lady’ish, as in, ‘these are the styles that fat women should wear. Also, & most important, MIB is so expensive that, even when they have something I do like, I usually can’t afford it. They had a striped henley shirt this past winter season that I really liked, but I am 62, my husband & I live on a fixed income, & there is no way that I can justify $95 for ONE shirt. Also, their jeans are all pull-on styles, & while I know many of us, myself included, want comfortable jeans & like stretch jeans & want enough room around our bellies, a lot of us also want actual jeans with buttons & zippers.

  12. On March 21st, 2012 at 9:17 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Patsy: Yes! Why so expensive?! MIB reminds me of Junonia a bit, also expensive, but perhaps better quality? I will never know as I doubt I could ever afford such things. I will let everyone know how my jeans cloning experiment goes. I’m hopeful, but not holding my breath. Ha!

  13. On March 21st, 2012 at 6:34 am Veronica Says:

    Good for you! Fight the power! =)
    I shop mainly online, and it was smooth sailing for a while. Recently though, I have had such bad luck with packages going astray, and with really bad customer service left and right, that it feels like I keep giving these companies my money but I never get anything back.

  14. On March 21st, 2012 at 9:18 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Veronica: That is the bitch of it. I mean, I love online shopping. I don’t have to waste gas or go to several locations to find what I want, but shipping prices are going up all of the time. Unless it’s on sale AND has free shipping, I’m usually stuck, ya know? And it does seem that customer service in general, but especially with online retailers, had gotten drastically worse over the last three years.

  15. On March 21st, 2012 at 1:26 pm Lissa Says:

    This may be terrible, but it’s the Facebook part that really steams me. Wait, so I have to have an account on a service that has nothing to do with your store or you don’t want to hear from me and my complaints aren’t valid? Say what? That seriously shouldn’t be policy nor allowed. I’m your customer, not Facebook’s. Only now, I guess I’ll be sure not to be either, because not only is not carrying sizes you claim to BS and horrible customer service, I expect to be able to complain if service is lacking.

    I mean, if we can’t complain, then they can just go on thinking the current situation is fine when it isn’t.

  16. On March 21st, 2012 at 1:52 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Lissa: Agreed!

  17. On March 22nd, 2012 at 2:12 am Vanessa Joy Says:

    We don’t have an Avenue around here. What a horrible experience! Plus–I don’t get the feedback train of thought. Very strange.

  18. On June 10th, 2012 at 5:40 pm Heather Says:

    I just had to share my angst with someone who recognized the loss of the Denim Lite line. I just went to order a replacement pair and wanted to cry when their website didn’t have them. There is no other type of jeans I’ve ever found comfortable enough to enjoy wearing, and now they’re gone. 🙁

  19. On September 13th, 2013 at 4:14 pm NotBlueAtAll » Blog Archive » Damn you denim! Says:

    […] previously mentioned my love and sadness over my old jeans and the endless searching for new ones. I had no idea before […]

  20. On November 11th, 2015 at 7:10 am Wendi Says:


    Just wondering if you have found any jeans that are comparable to Denim Lite jeans. I miss them so much, I can’t stand all the jeans I have tried and unfortunately, wear that hug my thighs, knees, and calves! I too like the nice fit on my hips and butt, however, knees need to move and bend, it’s crazy. I wonder who the people are making these jeans they sell today! Thanks for sharing if you have found anything close! Wendi

  21. On November 13th, 2015 at 1:26 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Wendi: I feel for ya! Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything comparable to those denim lite jeans from Avenue long ago. I now wear Torrid’s “Curvy Skinny” jeans which I know aren’t for everyone but I’m finding myself wearing more and more dresses these days. 🙁 <3

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