The Avenue’s Plus Size Fall Fashion Line for 2006

Another season approaches, and if the Avenue’s recently advertised Fall Fashion preview is any indication, another plus size fashion disappointment looms.

In spite of some excellent Denim-Lite capri pants and blue jeans, this summer’s selection at Avenue left much to be desired. But the lack-luster plus size offerings of this past summer look fantastic in comparison to what Avenue apparently has in store for us this Fall.

Avenue’s newly launched “Top Fall Trends” are enough to make plus size women claw their eyes out. It’s a 1980s Hall of Shame, with all the worst fashion excesses come back to haunt us. Sloppy oversized shirts, houndstooth print, kabuki sweaters, and masculine shoulder pads. Oh joy.

In contention for the Worst Possible Fashion Choice for Plus Size Women has to be the Avenue’s new “skinny jean”. Unless you’re tall, leggy, and without a hint of cellulite on your thighs, you might as well just suit up in lycra. You’ll achieve the same effect for half the price, and be more comfortable to boot.

The problem with the skinny jean is that it fails to properly proportion a plus size frame. Even the tall, thin model in their advertisement looks top heavy. For those of us without model looks, the obvious result will not be pretty.

Avenue’s choice to market a draped, kimono-style sweater is perhaps more understandable. After all, for decades, plus size clothing manufacturers have dressed up plus size women in tents, making them think that a bolt of fabric would somehow hide their flaws. It seemed as if the Avenue had been getting away from that despicable temptation, offering more tailored tops and garments more specifically proportioned to plus size curves. But perhaps with the new kabuki sweater, they thought a one-size-fits-all approach would be more cost-effective.

Their cardigans for Fall aren’t much better. Oversized, overlong, sloppy sweaters in varying shades of puke green do not inspire. If you close your eyes, you can perhaps recall these exact kinds of sweaters being worn by pop stars in the 80s under too-wide riveted belts.

Then there is Avenue’s new houndstooth jacket-as if women across America did not finally finish purging these things from their closets. It’s slightly updated from its 80s inspiration-less boxy, not so long, and darted in all the right places. But the wide-notch collar and formidable shoulder pads are a throw-back to the Falcon Crest Era.

The Avenue correctly identifies the crisp white shirt trend for the coming season, but offers clownish variations ranging from mandarin ties, to ruffles. Anything but crisp and clean lines.

Given that the Avenue seems to have abandoned prioritizing designing for body-types in preference of catering to trends, one supposes we are lucky they are not offering ripped t-shirts ala Flash Dance. But with these slouchy silhouettes, sliced shirts cannot be far behind.

Alas, in this sea of fashion horror, there are not many stand-out pieces plus size women should invest in for fall. But there are a few.

Avenue’s knit wrap dress, from the Soft collection is nicely cut for a plus size figure. Also, Avenue is offering a plus velvet jacket for $89.95 that is sophisticated and feminine.

And their boots are something special.

Mixing leather and stretch fabric in creative ways to accommodate wide calves, Avenue is offering two stylish boot options. The Mercury Wedge Boot is a 70’s style wedge that goes up to the knee. The leather and fabric are sewn together to prevent gapping. And the Neptune Lace Up boot is the answer to every plus size woman’s wide calf boot dreams. With faux suede inserts, stretch fabric and laces, the boots can accommodate up to a 23″ calf. And selling for $79 it might be worth buying even if you have to have a cobbler lower the 2 Ã?½ inch heel.

These gems aside, this promises to be a dismal season for the Avenue, and plus size women will have to hope for a better winter selection.

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