A Plus Size Fashion Emergency!

March 30 2010 | CeCe Olisa

When I was a little girl, I came home one day and announced that our family needed to have an emergency plan for our home. I sat with my parents and mapped out escape routes, a meeting place and different contingency plans based on horrifying variables (fire, earthquake, intruders etc.) that we prayed would never happen. As an adult, I’ve adopted this same practice, but instead of life threatening disasters, I’ve applied it to fashion emergencies. Before you write me off as completely crazy, let me explain:

In New York City, there’s an Ann Taylor or Gap or random clothing store on every corner. So if a (skinny) girl spills coffee down her white blouse an hour before an important meeting, she can zip over to one of those stores, find something in her size and be back to work in no time. But what if a PSP has a catastrophic fashion emergency? The nearest store that might actually carry her size could be 10, 20… or even 50 blocks away!

Because of this, every time I start a new job I develop a fashion emergency plan in case “something” goes wrong. When I worked near Grand Central I felt the safest. There was a Lane Bryant, Macy’s and an Old Navy within 10 minutes of my office (five minutes in a taxi) and there was also a random store called Strawberry on the same block as my office where I could usually find plus size basics.

When I moved to a new job in the Financial District I would casually explore different stores on my lunch break. There was a Dress Barn and a Strawberry but when I went in they informed me that I’d have to go further uptown to find a branches of their stores with a plus size department. With my apartment being a 45 minute train ride from my office, I began to wonder if I should put a spare outfit in my desk drawer just in case. Mind you, I have never had a fashion emergency that required me to buy something new during work hours and to be honest, I didn’t know what would qualify as such an emergency. But the fact that I didn’t have options made me nervous, so I kept looking.

A few weeks in, I remembered that Century 21 had a plus size department! I made my way over one day and was relieved to see a decent array of tops, dresses, jeans and slacks in my size. I didn’t buy anything, but I could breathe easier knowing that new, clean clothes were a five minute walk from where I worked.

My contingency plan was set.

Fast Forward a year later to… yesterday. I had on a black dress that hit just above the knee, a cardigan, pearls, knee-high boots and a pair of black tights. I went to the ladies room and when I pulled my tights up I realized that there was a huge gaping hole in the inner thigh. This hole was the size of a softball and it had snags and runs coming from all directions which meant it was only going to get bigger. If there was a time to flip into fashion emergency mode: this was it.

I grabbed my purse, threw on my coat and ran to Century 21 where my plan was to get a pair of leggings that I’d seen in the plus size section the last time I was there. I pushed my way through the tourists, up the escalator and just when I was about to turn towards the 3rd floor plus size department, I saw this:


See that long piece of tape? Underneath it are the words “Plus Sizes”. The plus size section at Century 21 is closed. My fashion emergency plan was ruined. My heart sank as I felt the snag in my tights creep a little farther down my thigh.

So much for being prepared!

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6 responses on “A Plus Size Fashion Emergency!

  1. asha

    wow, i didn't even know that century 21 had a plus sized dept and now it's gone. sigh…in the meantime, you can try de janeiro for very basic emergency needs. i mean like really basic. the plus size dept is across the street from the main location. ny and company is also down the block. everything is on nassau st.

  2. Lisafashionista

    Oh my dear PSP, how did you forget the hosiery department??? As you know, I work a few short blocks from you, so Century 21 is my go-to as well. And I just purchased plus size black opaque tights in their hosiery area last week! I do lament the lack of their plus size section, but at least you can rock some emergency back up tights next time you have a snag.

  3. Mike Lowrey

    Lol, Grand Central Strawberry…that takes me back. I used to be over at the Pfizer building.

    Yeah you're stuck over around the FD because all of the Broadway and Fulton Street stores are small and only carry mainstream sizes or are closed due to the MTA building in the area.

    Your new plan should be to hop the cab over the bridge to Downtown Brooklyn. Same 10 min ride depending on traffic.

    Or the R to Court or A to Jay and there's a Lane Bryant right there on Jay Street. Should take no longer than 15 minutes by train.

  4. Vanessa

    Clear nail polish around the edges of a snag will keep it from spreading :-).
    I have a mall about 5 mins away from my work lol, I dont know what I would do without it!

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