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

Anna GoldsmithCatalogs2 Comments

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 Comments on “What’s Wrong with This ‘Woman Within’ Cover?”

  1. Diana Moody

    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

    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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