‘Calling All Chubbies’: Vintage Lane Bryant Ads Take a Whack at Wooing Women with Unwise Words

Lane Bryant
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one weeping in the corner

Most women carrying a few extra pounds likely welcome clothing designed to fit their fuller body type.

Most women carrying a few extra pounds likely don’t also appreciate being called chubby or stout by the clothing companies trying to sell them the fuller-size clothing.

Full-figured? Maybe. Plus-size? Possibly.

But the adjectives normally used when referring to a baby’s fat rolls or a thick, manly beer? Not so much.

Lane Bryant has long been a provider of stylish clothing to women carrying around a few extra pounds. Take a look at a few of their ads from the 1920s – 1960s and judge for yourself how they managed to stay in business despite those very ads:

  • If You’re Stout 1 of 10
    If You're Stout
    . . . then surely you won't mind if we call you a synonym of the same word, such as burly?
  • If You’re Stout 2 of 10
    If You're Stout
    . . . or would you rather we call you porcine (because, you know, it's a delicate-sounding way to refer to a pig).
  • If You’re Stout 3 of 10
    If You're Stout
    . . . or how about if we just call you plenitudinous, rotund or tubby?
    You won't mind, will you?
  • Stout Women 4 of 10
    Stout Women
    Women big enough to be compared to a thick, dark beer generally enjoyed only by men must not feel the sting of insults because they have so much flesh to protect their emotions, right?
  • Stout Women 5 of 10
    Stout Women
    The fancy font does not detract from the shock of unkind words.
  • Stout Women 6 of 10
    Stout Women
    Combine the right sentiment with the wrong words and guess which one will be best remembered?
  • Stout Women 7 of 10
    Stout Women
    Kids learn early on that words can hurt like punches.
    When, exactly, did Madison Avenue get that message?
  • Stout Women 8 of 10
    Stout Women
    Less-insulting alternatives to "stout" and "chubby" include curvy, full-figured, shapely and voluptuous.
  • Free for Chubbies 9 of 10
    Free for Chubbies
    Insults, that is. Free insults.
    While supplies last.
  • Calling All Chubbies 10 of 10
    Calling All Chubbies
    Come out, come out wherever you are!
    That is, if you can stand up on your own with all that fat weighing you down.

All images used with permission from

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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