Monday, August 6, 2007

Buxom Reader Review: The Avenue

The Avenue in Towson a review by Mel

This afternoon I was shopping outside my usual range - over near Towson. I happened to see "The Avenue" - offering plus sizes 14 & up, and giant signs advertising 70% sales. It's always fun, as a big curvy girl, to find another store that caters to my shape. The sales ladies were over-the-top welcoming and happy. This particular store - off Guilford Ave - was impressively large and well stocked. They have a lot of trendy things - bright oranges, reds, turquoise and deep blues, and many patterns. You can find the more classic pieces, but you'll have to browse through.

Inside the store, I didn't actually find anything 70% off except busy dangly earrings, busy necklaces, and socks. But end-of-summer clothing at 50 to 60% off, yes!

After browsing through the sale racks, and considering what I need in my closet, I selected 3 pair of capri pants, a basic white tee shirt, a little black short sweater with cap sleeves, made to be open over a blouse, with little ties at the waist...
a green blouse, and a plain white sleeveless top. Capris at the end of summer? Why, yes! Unlike my lovely statuesque tall friends, I have quite short legs. Capri pants hit my just a couple inches above the ankles, rather than sexily below the knee. Maybe I'd hem them, maybe I'll just deal - we'll see.

Now, back in reality land, I'm solidly a size 18. Into the dressing room, I took 18s and 20s. WOAH. The 20 zipped, buttoned, and had I not held the waist band, would have been around my ankles. The 18s were also ridiculous on me - back to the racks for 16s in pants, and 14s in shirts.

The sales ladies tried to throw me the pitch that I'm a size smaller than I thought. No no - no no.

I have not changed - The Avenue is changing the numbers to appeal to women who want to believe they're smaller than they are. To me, it's a serious irritant to spend my time digging through racks of clothing to try on things that I expect to have fit me - only to find that they're labeled in a way that has nothing to do with reality.

That's rant point #1. If you go to the Avenue, expect to try on things in a size or two smaller than you normally wear.

Rant point #2: The pricing system. Pants were mainly in the $24, $39 dollar range, with various end of summer discounts down to $14.95 or $19.99, according to signs on racks. However, this wasn't indicated on tags in any way, and it's hard to rely on things being racked correctly when you're gauging how much you want to spend. And, once you get into the dressing room, tracking what came from which rack - challenging!

Now, like Lane Bryant, The Avenue would like you to open a credit line with them. As a lure, they offer an instant coupon of 30% off on your most expensive item, and an additional little pack of coupons. $5 off a bra, $10 off a pair of jeans, a free pair of pantyhose, free body lotion or perfume - various "perks." How about simply offering me some straightforward prices?

In the end, I spent almost exactly $40 and got 2 pair of pants, the white tee, and the black sweater. I had absolutely no way of anticipating what my total would be. The sales ladies were exceedling chummy - how the Avenue will be my favorite store from now on, they'll be seeing me often they hope, how their store caters to very plus-size women with curves - it was just too much for me.

I'm curious to know what other shoppers have thought of The Avenue.