ModEmployee Katie writes about her search for the perfect dress … and fit.
I started in the Returns department of ModCloth on April 23rd, 2012, after realizing, of course, that corporate culture was too soulless for just-out-of-art-school Katie (that’s me above). At the time, I was hired to be a “finisher,” literally the person who would inspect, fold, and bag clothes to go back onto the fulfillment center floor. I folded all kinds of things — everything on the site, probably, passed through my hands in those first few months — and every time I saw a pretty dress, I would think about how cute I would look twirling down the block (or grocery shopping, as I’m a little less exciting than our average customer, truth be told) with that swingy frock flouncing about me. But every time I’d ask someone to look it up for me, it never came in my size.
I have the privilege of being someone who is a fairly “normal” plus size. I weigh somewhere around the 300-pound mark, but I can generally walk into the plus section of a department store and find something that will fit me. This wasn’t always the case, though. There was a time in high school when my mother had to help me out of a dress in a dressing room because I was in denial that I was not a size 12. But things have definitely changed since then.
I remember when things started changing at ModCloth. At some point after I started working here, we got a buyer whose sole job was to buy plus-size items, and it was awesome. I realized that the people here cared about trying to make things that fit all shapes and sizes — it wasn’t just about profits and growing our customer base (though those are nice perks). The people here sincerely wanted – and want — to make every woman who dons one of our dresses feel like the best version of herself. I say this because that is also what I want to help do in my job … it’s partially why I am sitting here right now.
A year after I started, I was working in Quality Control — promoted from folding dresses to measuring them — and I saw more vendors pushing through larger sizes, sizes I could even fit into. I remember the moment I slipped on a 3x dress that didn’t feel like a sausage casing but something I would actually wear and, well, it was liberating. I remember updating my Facebook status saying that I had been paid to try on a dress that day and I wasn’t sure my life could get any better.
The real, true difference came on September 10, 2013. I shared this post that evening on our internal social network:
“Today we got the Coach Tour Dress in plus sizes in. It seems fitting that this would happen on my Modiversary, as this was the very first dress I ever folded on my [first day] in the Returns department last April. I remember talking about how cute it was and was told that it came in a bunch of colors and sizes — but when I looked, not in plus. One of the things we hear in the [fulfillment center] is that we’re having fun; we’re selling dresses. And yes, that’s true, but we are making women feel their best. Today, I got to feel that. Whoever ordered these, thank you. This made my day.”
I honestly can’t say if it was just the anticipation of them coming in or the actual construction, but I almost cried when I put that first dress on. The foldover collar with its charming buttons, the just-above-the-knee cut, the smooth knit, the pockets! And it fit me like a glove. It was almost too good to be true.
I now own the Coach Tour Dress in seven different colors, one for every day of the week. I own a plethora of other dresses as well, more than I can ever remember owning in what I’ll call the Before Times. It’s something I never thought would happen as rapidly as it did, but now I have a closet full of dresses that fit me beautifully and that I feel beautiful in.
And here we are — a year after the full, official push of this plus initiative at ModCloth — and I, now a member of our Merchandise Copywriting team, am almost a totally different human being than I was when I started. I wish I could say that I was always this confident. I wish I could say that, in college, in high school, I would have been cool with putting on a swimsuit, having my photograph taken, and having that picture put on a website that thousands — if not millions — of people might see. But I wasn’t. It wasn’t until I started working here, until I realized that clothes, in fact, do help to make the human, and that I was able to feel like I was, in my own little way, making a difference in how women felt in their own clothes, that pushed me over that edge.
So here’s to another year of making people ever-so-slightly more confident, one dress at a time.