Blogs are like Tequila. They should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dear Kookai... F*ck you.

Dear Kookai,

Fuck you. 

I have two small bones and one massive, bitch-tonne of a bone to pick with you.

For years, I resisted your temptations. I have vague memories of disliking you since the first time I went through your shiny glass doors as a slightly chubby teenager. At that time, it was because of your prices. BONE ONE. I didn’t even bother trying on your fancy stretchy clothes, because I was slowly saving up my pocket money for a ticket to see the Black Eyed Peas in concert (and yes, they were awesome). So I would just go in for the air-conditioning and loitering opportunities. Sometime after, once I had become a successful and accomplished 20-year-old with slightly less chub and slightly more cash (and I use “slightly” very truthfully... 500 grams less, $50 more...), I wanted to buy an item of clothing with a proper label (i.e. not Kmart). I tried on the only loose-fiiting dress in the store and convinced myself to buy it. It looked alright, it kind of fitted (cos it was a loose-fitting dress,) it was a nice green colour and lovely raw silk material, and it only cost half of my life savings. Do you know what, Kookai? The strap of that dress (though I only ever wore it as a top, as it was embarrassingly short and I live by the old-fashioned motto “if you can see the crease of your ass-cheek, the hemline is too high”) broke the second time I wore it. I sewed it back on, and soon after, the other strap broke. BONE TWO. I was so annoyed at the time about how crappy the quality of your sewing was, that I didn’t go back into your store for SIX YEARS.

Kookai store. So shiny. So skinny.

Until last month. I was on the lookout for a dress for a special occasion. I tried my usual cheap stores and nothing was taking my fancy. And then I saw your St Kilda store, like a shining beacon of downlights and clean glass. The clothes on the pencil-thin mannequins in the window were such pretty colours, summery yellows and Tiffany blues, that I forgot about my broken-green-raw-silk-dress-top, and stepped into the cool air-conditioning and smell of Windex. Instantly, I found a dress that I liked, and went to find it in my size. The first size I came across was size 1. Baffled, considering that this is not a usual Australian size* (except maybe for an actual pencil), I continued to rifle through the rack. Size 2. Nope... still had about ten sizes until we reached me. Kept rifling... but what was this? There was only size 1 and size 2. I asked the lovely sales assistant, who explained they were THE ONLY SIZES, and why don’t I try them on? I gathered a bunch of dress styles in size 2’s – I’m generally an optimistic person, but I could see that size 1 would be totally fucking kidding myself – and went into the fancy change room with the swishy curtain.

Kookai. I tried on the first dress, and the seam began to rip before I’d even got it past my hips. This was not just a reflection on your shithouse sewing. This was about your abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous sizing system. BONE THREE, KOOKAI. BONE. FUCKING. THREE.

A blurb from the Kookai website. I guess I'm not a 'Kookai Woman' because I'm restricted by a fashion boundary... The width of a Size 2 dress.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an average Aussie woman is a size 16. At most stores, I am a size 12 – sometimes a 10, sometimes a 14, depending on how creative the store is feeling. I am well in the healthy weight range for my height. I may have a little layer of memory foam**, but I’m a fairly fit and normal woman. And yet, I don’t fit into the BIGGEST SIZE THAT YOU STOCK. Do you know how that feels? Even for me, a fairly secure, self-assured female (and actor, which means I deal with having my flaws pointed out on a regular basis), it’s a shitty feeling. I stood in your changeroom, spilling out of the second dress I tried on (which didn’t rip, but was so tight it showed the shape of the sushi I’d had for lunch), frowning at the mirror and making plans to eat only celery sticks and cotton wool for the rest of my life. For about five seconds. Then I took the stupid dress off, walked out of the store, mentally gave you the finger, and went to one of the many shops that cater to the other ninety percent of the female population.

Having done a Google search about your sizes, it would seem that thousands of women feel the same as me. A few women claim that they are usually a size 8-10, and your size 2 dresses would not zip up over their ribcages. Apparently, others are pissed off that circa 2005, you GOT RID of your size 3 (good sales move, dickheads... you literally narrowed your market). I even found a petition begging you to upgrade your sizes, or declare yourself to be a specialty store for small/thin women. I want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with the women who do fit into your clothes (skinny people can get just as much shit as fat people, neither of which is fair or anyone’s business). I also concede that as a country, we are overweight, and 16 is not a healthy size to be the average. However, women come in all shapes and sizes, and by not classifying yourself as a specialty store, you are promoting an unhealthy body image, which is particularly concerning for the many teenage girls with more money than I had at that age, who actually try on your stretchy clothes in your fancy change room, and end up crying at their reflection. At the very, very least, you should be catering to the entire healthy weight range, and not making perfectly fine females like me want to stick their fingers down their throat just to wear your summery yellows and Tiffany fucking blues.

Kookai, with your calming, cool-aired stores and beautiful, badly-sewn clothes, I’m sorry for being so angry at you. But, unlike the Heart Foundation’s BMI calculator, you called me fat. So fuck you.

I’m going to Kmart.

*As it turns out, the Australian Standard Size Coding Scheme was scrapped in 2008, which allows retailers to play fast and loose (or tight) with whatever sizing scheme they want. Cheers for that, guys. I’ve got a bone to pick with you, too.

**Memory foam – the fond term I have given to the little love handles and curvier bits of my body, that are testament to wonderful memories – Pot & Parma deals with friends at the local pub, afternoon ciders in the sun, movie nights with Maltesers, and so on. I don’t love the layer of memory foam... but I don’t have any regrets either.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably at Kmart, trying on a size 12... or playing in the Barbie aisle.


  1. Lucy, you are fantastic. Absolutely enjoyed your comedic writing flair, the message beneath too true and most likely applicable to multiple stores (although the women may still be crying silently in the change room...) Hopefully this opens the gateway for communication and positive self talk and confidence of all women.

    Alex x

  2. I want to agree with you! I also want to say for petite girls such as myself, their size 1 is not accurate enough to be the smallest size. I am a young, typical 20 year old woman but just so happen to be a petite version of one. Size 6's are my size in every other shop, but for some reason every single dress at kookai goes past my knees...and it's supposed to be 'the smallest size'..not very accurate sizing either. Their clothes are made for 6ft models and that's all. Nothing shorter or wider or smaller!!!

  3. Dear Lucy Gransbury

    You may like to read and comprehend this as a, ‘hit-back’ to your uncharitable and merely self-serving article addressed to Kookai.

    Question. Do you think that larger-sized women seemingly think that the fashion industry is out to purposely EXCLUDE them?, to not manufacture sizes that adequately fit them? If you are mentally answering YES to this then I have a ‘TINY’ bone to pick with you ☺

    Now, Im’ not going to call anyone anything offensive, or protruding in terms of their weight, but we do live in what is ranked as one of the worlds most developed, fattest nations. Again – no indication to personal specifications, but it seems that you are taking your personal, body matters out onto the fashion industry?

    I for one am, what is probably millions, a petite sized 4-6 woman that larger sized women seem to forget about and despise – but let’s be honest, our journey in purchasing clothing is just as hard as yours and it’s stores like KOOKAI that accommodate comfortably fitting clothes for the rest of us who are not a size 12. Let alone a size 16? - If you are a size 16 at 20 then you may need to adopt a new life style and diet to potentially SAVE YOUR LIFE? I have spent THOUSANDS of dollars in Kookai over the past years and for my short lived life of 21 years I can say they have done me proud!! They are affordable, reliable and comfortable, they don’t make me look like a cheap hooker and my ass does not hang out at the end of my dress.

    Now I can see why you had to sew your strap onto your dress several times, it’s because you have forced your body into something that perhaps DOES NOT FIT? And there’s nothing wrong with that, don’t that it out on the store, take it out on yourself and HIT THE GYM! I cannot recall the amount of stores and suburbs I go looking for just to find something that fits. In my younger, highschool years, I worked in a mid-range clothing store in a wealthy suburb and they were prone to order more size 10’s and 12’s as that’s were the sales were mostly likely to come from, BUT HANG ON… what about the size 6?? Only 1 style in a size 6 was ordered. So, trust me – FASHION IS AWARE OF YOU.

    Yes Kookai may have stopped making a size 3, but did you ever stop to think why? Did you eveer stop to think about their target market? And their target market may not have anything to do with WHAT SIZE YOU ARE weather you’re a 4 or 18, Maybe size 3 women were not purchasing because they did not like the style of clothing that Kookai had to offer, Not every store can be your cup of tea my dear. Perhaps size 3 women do not want to wear a stretchy dress. I am sure Kookai have utilized their sales experience in targeting the correct market of women.

    Your issues are irrelevant to the fashion industry, might I suggest you look outside the box of which is Kookai and Kmart and seek the other thousands of other stores that can accommodate you.
    Oh and by the way, I can never find a size 6 in KMART, I HAVE TO GO TO KOOKAI.

    Hats off to you Kookai, you fucking rock!

    Size 4.

    1. Wow anonymous, you seem to have a lot of inner rage there. You also seem to have deliberately missed the point of Lucy's article and tried to make it a competition of who's the skinniest. I would suggest that as intelligent, adult women we should discuss issues of sales and marketing which promote certain shapes and sizes as being the norm without any onus to them to justify that (as Lucy mentions the Australian Standard Size Clothing Scheme doesn't exist anymore to make them accountable).

    2. Susanna, thank you. You worded that far better than I ever could. Thank you! x

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  6. Dear Lucy Gransbury,

    Maybe you should stop pigging on chocolate bars and stop and think you only live once and you are ruining your body. Kookai isn't trying to exclude the fat...they are just targeting to people who appreciate their bodies and the lives they live. I personally find it very hard to find a size small enough to fit my body and here you are complaining about the only store I can actually fit in. So go suck my little skinny ass, maybe you will lose some weight. Stop eating boosts while seating around in a cow suit you ball sucking bitch. KOOKAI IS LIFE.



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