One thing I can say for Alloy: it doesn’t segregate. The plus-sized goodies may only be found among the regular-sized goodies, although through the grace of filtering, you can at least find out which of those standardized cuts come in plus.
What I find a little nonplussing about Alloy is the clear expectation that all teen girls come in an hourglass shape and no other. The largest measurements allowed for are 50 42 52 for their size 25. It puzzles me: yes, there are teen girls with a chest size that large, but when it comes to proportions, it seems like the designers are playing to some personal fantasy about how girls should look rather than the reality. Honestly, it’s lazy designing.
I will note that at least Alloy actually attempts to serve the plus-size teen market, which really is the most neglected of all the plus markets. And perhaps, despite my dislike of their body template, they are being realistic: from what I recall of my time in teen world, it mattered more that I had the “right” clothing and less that that clothing looked good on me. Given that bullying and status jockeying has only gotten worse since I left school, perhaps Alloy is simply delivering an honest service even though it is overtly manipulative.
This does raise the debate about whether juniors sizes sized larger really serves the plus market, but mostly, I’m a little appalled by the “one shape fits all” approach. Alloy is one of the stores that takes the media-fed self-image of teens and reinforces it; once the teens and tweens are done devouring those magazines filled with women who have sold themselves off as “clothes hangers” (and how is this not inhumane and unacceptable?) they go looking for clothing to communicate how they want the world to see them, right down to unrealistic chest sizing for girls under 21.
There’s a lot of cute stuff through Alloy, but the hourglass only look doesn’t even work on a thin-sized market, let alone plus offerings.