This isn't a blog post about a nice subject - and it doesn't contain pretty pictures either of flower girl dresses. For the second time this week our company Pegeen.com received a call from a frantic mom, searching, late in the season, for a plus size flower girl dress that she could use for her daughter. Now hear this story - when she went to a large bridal store the clerk spoke to the mom, in front of the little girl, and said "Oh, we can't serve her kind here". Hey, isn't that what was said during the Jim Crow period? I mean, what are they thinking?

This little girl did nothing wrong other than being in the wrong store. Do you give sensitivity training to your employees? Many of us have body images their whole lives. Mine was anorexia and bulimia because I wasn't as thin as my tiny (she still is) sister and all it took for me was to have one relative ask, 'do you really think you should have that bowl of ice cream?' It was my birthday for God's sake. I didn't cure my battle with this disease until (fortunately) meeting my husband and on my second date, it was the last time I threw up after eating. Some kids, and I say kids because I had a son who struggled with anorexia for quite a number of years, have a life long struggle into their adulthood and beyond. Body dysphoria is problematic enough and trust me because of personal experience, all it takes is one person, one unkind person, to make this struggle with body image exasperated to even the point of death via starvation. Other problems mean that the stress alone will pack on more weight. I just don't get the insensitivity of some stores!

So, Pegeen has been on a mission for 37 years about how you treat the plus size girl, and it starts with dignity. It is not the child's fault about her size - it could be her genes, the stress of something in the family, even medications; transplant therapy can cause a child to have a bloated shape. So, when a parent takes a child into a store and the clerk thinks she is being discrete, the child hears. Some of the children don't care but others truly hear it. Did you really say to your potential customer " We don't fit her kind here" or, one of our favorites "let’s cut down this woman's dress" - so what, she can have breasts one day to fill it in?

When we measure a child for a plus size flower girl dress (our parent's usually do it over the phone, we ask the mom to get off the speaker phone as soon as possible so the child doesn't hear our discussion after measurements are taken. We use the child's height as their size, ie if a child is 55" they are a size 10. Their additional measurements, the chest and waist, are part of our "magic" because we make every dress. Internally we call it a 10 plus 1 (for a child with a 35" chest, for instance.)  Other times, we need to send a muslin in the mail to ensure the fit for girls with whest or tummies over 34".  You can click the above link to read about the process.

Here is our Mission Statement on Measuring Children for Flower Girl Dresses, Big or Small, I hope that these stores can adapt the same.

Pegeen will:

Never call a child's size anything larger than their height.

Never discuss the measurements with the child while on the speaker phone.

Ask the child to leave the room when we need to talk to the mom.

Never call a child a 1/2 Size (meaning she is not a 12 1/2) - what child is a "HALF" child?

We do not believe in "Size 22 or Size 24" and so forth. Again, the size coordinates with the height

We will NEVER tell a child "We can't fit your type here".

We also specialize in children with special needs or may be developmentally challenged. The parents' have a home with us to have even their 34 year old be a princess if she wants!

Perhaps store owners can use the example from Miracle on 34th Street where the Macy's Santa recommends an alternative to a mother that Gimbel's has - similar here because they don't carry the child's sizing issue. Have a recommended referral list for goodness sake - it doesn't take much effort, does it?