This week Cintra Wilson's "Critical Shopper" column in the Times seeks to answer why, God, why, did JCPenney foist itself onto our fair city's Herald Square? Now, Penney's isn't exactly our go-to for apparel — we didn't pop bottles among models when it opened a couple of weeks ago, and we're not setting aside precious Saturday-afternoon time to go check it out — but it's there and we can live with that. Because at the end of the day, Macy's is, too, and the crowds and wooden escalators in that place terrify us more than any shopping destination in the city, maybe even more than the Times Square Toys "R" Us.
Wilson tends to find downmarket stores particularly vile, but her review of Penney's is utterly unforgiving. She essentially determines the store serves two primary markets: fat people and tacky people.
It took me a long time to find a size 2 among the racks. There are, however, abundant size 10’s, 12’s and 16’s. The dressing rooms are big, clean and well tended. I tried two fairly cute items: a modified domino-print swing dress with padded shoulders by American Living (a Ralph Lauren line created for Penney’s) and a long psychedelic muumuu of a style generally worn by Rachel Zoe. Each was around $80; each fit nicely and looked good. I didn’t buy either because I can do better for $80, but if I were a size 18, I’d have rejoiced.
Hear that? Wilson is a size 2, so JCPenney isn't for her. The store is so fat, in fact, that even the mannequins are "obese."
[I]t has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of “Roseanne.”
Wilson also takes issue with Penney's diffusion lines, such as Kimora Lee Simmons's Fabulosity juniors' line of "off-the-belly-chain line of clothing and extremely complicated metallic blood-on-the-dance-floor pumps." Also unacceptable to her are Charlotte Ronson's I [Heart] Ronson line, Nicole Miller's Nicole line, and Liz Claiborne's Liz & Co. line ("key provider of looks that say: 'I have been in a senior management position at this D.M.V. for 34 years.'"). Wilson explains:
A good 96 percent of the Penney’s inventory is made of polyester. The few clothing items that are made of cotton make a sincere point of being cotton and tell you earnestly about their 100-percent cottonness with faux-hand-scribbled labels so obviously on the Green bandwagon they practically spit pine cones.
What did she expect of this store? A gold mine of affordable fine silks and well-tailored business suits with a pleasant side of surprisingly fluffy bedding? It's JCPenney in the Manhattan Mall, of all places. Not Alexander McQueen. God might not like ugly, as the saying goes, but there will always be a market for it. That doesn't mean we have to call their mannequins fat.
Playing to the Middle [NYT]
Most Viewed Stories
I Worked at Fyre Festival. It Was Always Going to Be a Disaster.
This Fyre Festival Apology Is As Extra As You’d Expect
Famous Guests Were Reportedly Warned Not to Go to Fyre Festival in Advance
Bella Hadid Addresses Fyre Festival Fallout
Life Lessons From the Great Fyre Festival Disaster
Why Wallflowers Don’t Make Friends
Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away
The Kardashians Just Broke Up With the Stylist They’ve Been Using for a Decade
These Tweets Will Make You Very Glad That You Didn’t Spend Thousands of Dollars to Get Stranded in the Bahamas
Why Everyone Loves the Alpha Girl
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.