Outcry As "NEXT" Staff Told " Wear Magic Pants To Look Slim"

  1. Their fashion items range in size from small to XXL.

    But it seems that the bosses at Next would prefer their store staff to conform to a much narrower range of dimensions.

    Thousands of employees of the high street chain have been handed a style guide which appears to demand that they look as slim as possible while at work.

    Female staff who do not have the same slender features of its catalogue models are encouraged to "try out magic pants to hide lumps and bumps".

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    They are advised to wear neck scarves to draw attention "away from those body parts you want to hide".
    Employees with rounder midriffs are specifically targeted by the chain's style police. The guide suggests they should avoid tight-fitting clothes, but also excessively baggy tops and dresses, which, it says, could make them look bigger.

    On the other side of the style leaflet, male workers are given similar guidance. They are encouraged to wear bright shirts and ties to take attention away from "love handles".
    It also suggests the use of pinstripes to look taller and slimmer. The leaflet caused anger and bemusement when it was handed out to more than 200 staff at a Next branch in Lakeside shopping centre in Essex.

    They were given the leaflet by security staff as they finished work. The following day they were given team talks by managers who stressed the importance of the campaign.

    One male shop assistant described the move as "an insult". "Everyone's really upset, especially the women," he said.

    "OK, tell us about the sort of things they'd like us to wear if they must but to refer to love handles and double chins and magic pants to cover bumps was way over the top.

    "It's demeaning and it has made a lot of people feel very self-conscious. What they're going to end up with is mutton dressed as lamb.
    "Also, it's not as if anyone here can afford a fantastic wardrobe. I'm on £5.50 an hour which is just above the minimum wage and even an assistant manager gets only £6.80."

    The style guide was quickly condemned by the Beat, an organisation that helps people with eating disorders.

    Chief executive Susan Ring said: "What Next is saying here is that it wants the people who work in its stores to look as slim as possible so that the customers see the clothes on the staff and want to buy them.

    "Stylists should be trying to show people the best ways to show off their figure and not imply that everyone has to conform to this skinny image.

    "The company is entitled to expect people in its stores to dress smartly and with a certain amount of style. After all, it is selling clothes.

    "But I don't agree with extending this to telling staff they must dress along these set guidelines. If you are the type of person who needs magic knickers this style guide might add to your insecurities."
    A spokesman for Next said: "On reflection, we've made a rather thoughtless mistake. What was intended as magazine-style fashion tips has caused offence which was never intended. We have withdrawn the leaflet and apologised for the error."


    By ARTHUR MARTIN- for The Dailymail
     
  2. wth !?!?! that is ridiculouss .
     
  3. This is for Next the British High Street Store? Pretty insulting imo.
     
  4. Maybe they should have issued uniforms instead of this style guide? It seems like misguided management to me.
     
  5. Personally I think it's rather unfortunate the lack of proper foundation garments in most department stores in combination with an aversion to their use. (There are so many times I see a young woman wearing a short mini-skirt that is riding up her legs due to her wool tights and I want to say "Put on a slip, young lady!") However, this indicates a shift in dressing overall. I just want to say the combination of low rise jeans with retail is never good. The discomfort I imagine many women suffer by wearing a wrong sized bra must be borderline unbearable. Yes, maybe it would be nicer for lots of eyes if retail employees were free of "lumps and bumps". However, these are all personal issues and not one for a High Street retailer to try and solve with such a flyer. Furthermore, if you consider the cost of proper lingerie, including things like "magic knickers" I can't imagine how employees on such low wages could afford their jobs.
     
  6. Fashion retail is a very competitive industry; today the focus is not so much on the clothes themselves, but rather on the image that is attached to the brand. That is why I think that "Next" has every right to enforce a dress code on its sales associates, so that they fit the company image. Often, sales associates have to wear the very same clothes they have to sell, but I digress.
    What "Next" tried to do was understandable, but some -probably heftier- s.a.s took offence and complained. If the same pieces of advice were printed in a fashion magazine, I think there would not have been this outrage.
     
  7. Crikey, Next want to be a bit more concerned with using quality suppliers and fair wages for their employees. Hate that shop!
     
  8. wow that's crazy. especially because most of the time i don't even look at what the staff is wearing. usually (if they even are wearing clothes from the shop that they work at) it's a lot of basics like black blouses, black pants and turtle necks!
     
  9. I don't see a problem with these very common sense pointers for people in the fashion industry. These employees are overreacting.
     
  10. ^^^ I don't agree. If Next are that concerned they should provide suitable undergarments themselves!!
     
  11. Even at McDonald's you have to purchase your black pants and shoes. This is nothing exclusive to Next. A person who works at a retail clothing store should be expected to look like they know how to dress.
     
  12. I may be missing something, but this is on par w/ Abercrombie's hiring of employees as "models" so they can tell them what to wear, and whether or not they can gain weight.

    Do they mean Spanx when they say "magic pants." I just keep picturing harry potter.........
     
  13. Toatoally OT but years ago my daughter was a baby model for Next. Luckily the only undergarmet required was a diaper.:p
     
  14. Yes that's exactly what they are, nothing to do with Hogwarts or wands :p
     
  15. Wow. What's to follow, height/weight regulations?

    That's ridiculous. For a company to mandate that their employees need to "look slim" is low.