Old Navy's Plus-Sized Clothing Policy

Old Navey Plus-SizedResponding to criticism, Old Navy has changed its policy for returning plus-sized clothing but not its pricing. Renee Posey posted a complaint and started a Change.org petition because the company is upcharging for larger women's clothes but not men's.

Gap, Old Navy's parent company, issued this statement:

To Renee Posey and our valued Old Navy customers: 

Recently, important questions were raised about Old Navy's women's plus size line, which has given us an opportunity to hear invaluable feedback from our customers. What we've heard from you has inspired us. We'd like to keep the conversation going. 

There's a lot of room for improvement in the way plus-size clothes are designed and marketed throughout the industry-at-large. At Old Navy, a significant amount of work is invested in making sure plus-size women feel beautiful and on-trend at a price they can afford when they wear our label. Not many apparel brands can say that they've had a dedicated plus size line for as long as we have (since 1994). But, we always want to learn and see how we can improve. 

Today, it starts with doing more. We will do a better job communicating the value we provide to plus-size customers and begin forging a stronger relationship with customers. As a result of customer feedback, we are updating our policy to allow in-store returns of women's plus size clothes, starting December 5. We also hear loud and clear that Old Navy needs to be better about engaging with our plus size customers. 

To that end, Old Navy will be forming a new customer panel to gather insights that will further enhance our plus size collections. This group, which will kick off in January, will focus on discussion, fashion brainstorming and product feedback directly to the Old Navy design and marketing teams. Meeting four times a year, they will test drive new Old Navy women's plus designs and serve as a sounding board for the Plus Design team. We are excited about the ways in which their input will enhance the Old Navy customer experience. 

Some of our customers have pointed out that our women's plus line is priced differently than our men's extended sizes line and they're right – it is. 

It's priced differently because it is different. We invest more in our product, and we're proud of what we deliver. 

Looking back, we have not done enough to celebrate what is unique and special about Old Navy's plus line. Thanks to the work of a dedicated plus design team – a rarity among our competitors -- we create patterns specifically for our women's plus size line to ensure the best fit and experience. 

The reality is that while our men's line is meant to provide affordable, fashion-forward options for various shapes, sizes and heights, men have different needs when it comes to fashion. Our men's line embraces the same values of fun, fashion and family, but our extended-size menswear is the exact same design and therefore the exact same price. 

We plan to continue to offer women's plus fashion essentials at accessible prices. 

Clothes are meant to be empowering, flattering and a way to express your personal style. Old Navy is proud of the clothes that we create for fashion-forward women of all sizes. 

Edie Kissko, Old Navy spokesperson

Although Old Navy didn't commit to changing its pricing, Posey posted a comment on Change.org calling the result a "success." At the same time, she acknowledged, "These are important first steps that will lead to the further changes we would like to see..." Following is the first paragraph, and the entire post is here

Hi Everyone!

When I started this petition a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea what it would lead to. I thought a few people who know me might sign and that would be that. With over 95 thousand supporters at the time of this writing, I think it's safe to say that the results have far exceeded my expectations! Read more.

Discussion Starters: 

  • How convincing do you find Old Navy's response? Would you call it a "success"? Why or why not? 
  • What's your view of the policy? Is it fair, unfair, or something in between?