What’s Wrong with This ‘Woman Within’ Cover?

Dear Woman Within,

You showed up in my mailbox yesterday. As a professional catalog writer, I have some thoughts to share with you.

First of all, the good: I love that you make clothing for plus-sized women. After all, why should style be the exclusive domain of the size 2s, right? And I love that your cover model genuinely looks like she’s plus-sized … not just a size 12 because she’s six feet tall.

Also on the plus side (no pun intended), your tagline is totally working: “Love what you wear” really resonates. After all, who doesn’t want to feel happy in their clothes, plus-sized or not?

Now, let’s move on to areas of improvement because I really do want you to succeed.

Let’s start with your name: “Woman Within.” I could see people taking this the wrong way; for example: “Are you suggesting I don’t look like a woman on the OUTSIDE because of my size?!” I wanted to see if it was just me who thought this way, so I asked around a little.

This first woman I asked saw it just as I did: “I like the model a lot, but I feel like the name says, ‘Ignore the large packaging because there is a real woman in there.'” The second two women saw things … differently.

“It makes me think of my vagina!” whispered one, embarrassed. “I immediately thought of tampons,” said another. This hadn’t occurred to me, but I see it now.

Moving on … Let’s talk about the cover photo.

We both know how much first impressions matter, so what is up with that baggy red turtleneck and mom jeans? I know from personal experience that this is how moms dress when they have five minutes to get to Kindergarten dropoff … not when they want to “love what they wear.”

You have some beautiful clothes you could’ve featured on the cover. Why not the A-line raincoat on page 39 or the notch neck knit tunic on page 68? Your excellent use of call-out space with the FREE Striper Bag deal is going to be lost if people don’t open the catalog.

Anyway, just some things to think about. And yes, I feel like kind of a jerk for writing this. But you’re doing so much so well that I hope you’ll take this as thoughtful feedback to consider for your next issue.

Best of luck,

Anna Goldsmith

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2 replies
  1. Diana Moody says:

    I disagree with you. Don’t like the woman on page 39 as she is not a plus size. Her legs are too skinny. Nor do I agree with the model on page 68. Her posture is terrible. I love the front page as this is not a glamour magazine. It suits me perfect and I love that the turtle neck does not cling and the jeans look like they fit unlike the low wasted jeans that make your belly bulge. Unless you are a plus size you don’t have a clue. We are fed up with stereotypes you are suggesting for the front cover. I want to see me on the front cover. Got it?

  2. Anna Goldsmith says:

    Hi Diana,

    First of all, it’s hard for me to contain my excitement that someone actually bothered to not only read our blog, but craft such a thoughtful response.

    I am actually very interested in your viewpoint since I write a lot of catalog copy, but have never written for a plus-sized audience. I have heard from several plus-sized friends that they are really frustrated that the fashion options available to them are so limited and not, in their opinion, very stylish. So I think I was approaching the cover from that perspective. For what it’s worth: I definitely agree that many of the models are “fake” plus sized, which is part of what I did like about the cover.

    So just so I understand your POV: Is your reaction sort of a, “Finally! Someone who gets that I just really want to be comfortable, not crammed into a larger version of skinny girl clothes?” What else do you wish plus-sized clothing manufacturers knew about you? I’d be interested if you feel like sharing.

    Thank you again for reading!

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