Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Chip Wilson...

In honor of Chip Wilson stepping down as CEO of LuluLemon, I thought I'd post my opinion on this whole yoga pant/body/Chip controversy.

Dear Chip Wilson,
You lack tact. Seriously. Anyone who lives anywhere near the construction zone that is your house in Vancouver can tell you that common courtesy and decency isn't exactly your strong suit. I mean you've been building your compound for years - clearly your neighbors enjoyment of their living spaces isn't your priority.

And let's be honest, the phrase "some women's bodies aren't right for our clothes" is well...tactless. It's not, however, wrong. I am pretty sure you could have said it better or better yet just said, we're working on some quality issues so that our fabric doesn't become see-through when you downward dog offering a free show to the lucky person behind you.

But you made it about weight and women's sizes. Society hates that. A smarter business man would know that. Although not everyone can shop at every store, no one likes to be told it's because they are too big. But there are stores I can't shop at - Additonal-Elle for example, Torrid and I was once not so nicely told that Laura Plus wasn't for me. So I get it but being told you're too small for a store just doesn't piss people off the way being told you're too big does. That, in and of itself, is a another issue for another day but the reality is every store can't sell every size. And I, for one, don't think they should have to. My mum used to own a clothing shop - it's just not cost effective for every store to sell every size. That's not discrimination, it's reality.

So I am on your side Chip, kind of. Your clothes aren't for everyone. No store's clothes are for everyone. But for Pete's sake, let someone else do your talking from now on because you just don't get when to shut it.

And to all the women (and men) up in arms about this, you have a few options. You could boycott Lulu. You can get angry about it. Or just maybe, you can ask yourself why this honest, albeit tactless, comment bothers you so much. Are you really letting a retailer determine your worth or how you feel about yourself? If it bugs you that you don't fit their clothes, I say change - not for Chip Wilson, but for yourself. And if you just think he's rude and that bugs you, then avoid his clothes. But let go of the idea that any store that doesn't carry your size is actively discriminating against you. They aren't. Accept that not every store can clothe every person...some stores are just dumb enough to point this out.


  1. He was rude and it bugs me. There are lots of stores in which I cannot buy clothes - but I don't think that poor quality can be excused because a woman's thighs rub together - I know skinny women whose thighs rub. I do fit Lulu clothes - and since he has resigned I will be able to buy new ones when these eventually wear out (which isn't appearing to be about to happen). I guess I have old ones where my thighs can rub and they don't pill or wear thin.

  2. Great points! I actually don't wear Lulu pants cause I think they suck quality wise compared to a lot of other brands. And I'm thin but my thighs definitely rub! I do, however, still feel like there's an issue surrounding the expectation that every store should carry larger sizes when we don't expect the same of plus size stores to carry smaller sizes. But clearly, Chip shouldn't be the spokesperson for anything! Haha thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. He is rude and inconsiderate of his neighbours for sure. He and the Mayor of Vancouver seem to think they own Point Grey Road. That aside, Chip needed a better pr person. He should have been encouraging everyone to lead a healthier more active life, not excluding people, which is essentially what he did. Don't let a rude, inconsiderate jerk define you. This particular one made a lot of clothes that didn't work for many of my strong, active, healthy friends - some thin, some not. I sure hope they didn't let the fact that they didn't fit define them in any way. I know they often found better fitting, good quality items that cost them less - probably makes them a lot smarter than Mr. Wilson.

    1. More great points. Definitely PR isn't his strong suit. But I truly believe that until we stop allowing society and media to define us, and we stop thinking in terms of thin=good, cool, pretty and fat=bad, lazy,ugly, we're never going to be able to end this body obsession. I think part of taking back this power and is removing (as best we can) the visceral emotional reaction we, as women particularly, seem to have when certain clothes/brands don't work for our bodies. We are as hard on ourselves when that happened as Chip was on women everywhere who don't fit Lulu. We can't control what people will say. We can control our we react.