I ended a long standing relationship today. I walked into and out of a Lane Bryant today for the last time.
I was in junior high the first time I went into Lane Bryant, over 30 years ago (yes, I am old). Back in the day when everything was made of polyester and uglier than heck, clothes made for old women who gave up on fashion and life in general. This was not a good environment for a young girl who was already self-conscious and wanted to look like the other self-conscious young girls. I remember those sad looking pants they called jeans, ugly print tops and dresses that made me look matronly and how I cried when I tried on these horrible hideous clothes knowing I would have to wear them to school and face ridicule. Which I did, in the cruel world of adolescence, through junior high and into high school. The jeans did improve by high school but even then Lane Bryant was about my only choice for clothes since there were few large size or plus size departments. When I did my back-to-school shopping I headed for Lane’s while my classmates headed for Casual Corner, the 5,7 and 9 Shop and any other store they wanted, I didn’t have that choice. So Lane Bryant had a very significant place in my world.
I shopped at Lane’s and later when other stores began to carry large sizes I went there as well. I started going to the thrifts with my friend Dawn and while she found clothes easily I had less than stellar luck. I did better in the men’s department and scored a few sweaters over time but women’s clothing was pretty sparse, what was there was most of the same crap I saw at Lane’s or Women’s World or Catherine’s, none of whom were known for fashionable clothing for young women or anything I’d want to be caught dead wearing.
Lane’s and I were on good terms most of my life, I even had my own Lane’s card and I used that thing so much I was usually near my credit limit. This went on until a year before my gastric bypass, I finally paid them off and felt a strange sense of emptiness. When I had the gastric bypass I said a mental goodbye to Lane’s, figuring I’d never darken their doors again and that they might face financial ruin as a result. I had my operation, lost weight and had the exhilarating and wonderful foreign experience of shopping in “regular” stores and the departments besides the plus sizes at Dillard’s, Penney’s and other stores. I ignored Lane’s. Until I needed new bras.
I lost weight everywhere, including my chest, which I didn’t have a lot to lose. However I learned that I was too big for “regular” stores like Victoria’s Secret. That was a trip in itself but I found they carried bras up size 38C. I tried on a couple, squished myself into one and it was not a pretty sight or comfortable. I was still too big. However being too big at Victoria’s Secret is not the same experience as being too big at the Gap. It’s a funny and screwed up thing but there’s a sense of pride in being too well endowed for Victoria’s Secret. The euphoria ended but I still needed new bras. So I did something I never expected to do, ever. I went back to Lane’s. They carry bras up to EEE, something I’ve never needed but it’s nice to know they have them, just in case.
I tried on several bras in different sizes and styles before finding something that worked. I was a 40C and bought 2 new bras. I later bought a couple more online from Lane’s because they were on sale and I didn’t want to deal with the mall. My new bras and I got along well but even under the circumstances they will wear out, as these began to do. So I went back to Lane’s and bought 2 more. That was at the first of the month. I wore one bra and washed it, hung it up to dry on the shower curtain rod then noticed it was beginning to fray along the seams. I wore it again anyway, washed it and saw the seams were fraying in other places. I looked for the receipt but I threw it out earlier, same with the tags, since I figured I didn’t need ’em. I called the store and was told I could bring it in and exchange it, even though it wasn’t the usual store policy. I did that today, tossed the bra into a grocery bag and took it back. The manager said it was too far gone to take back and without the tag or receipt he couldn’t accept it. I was bummed since I made the trip thinking I was getting a new unfrayed bra and did not. So I left it there and walked out of Lane’s for the final time. I may go through their doors again someday, accompanying someone else but as for being a customer I am done. I’ll be buying my bras somewhere else, Target maybe, Dillard’s, anywhere but Lane’s. After all these years and all the money I’ve spent there I felt let down and perturbed, because I’m short one bra and that this ended so abruptly. .