Monday 20 January 2020

Children have communion gear re-fitted after Easter break binge, says Irish retailer

A large number of children are forced to shop in stores which specialise in plus-size wear.
A large number of children are forced to shop in stores which specialise in plus-size wear.

Laura Larkin

A RETAILER of plus-size Communion wear has revealed that overweight children had to be re-fitted after piling on weight over the Easter break.

With Communion season just around the corner, youngsters all around the country are being suited and booted in tailored three-pieces suits and white dresses.

But a large number of children are forced to shop in stores which specialise in plus-size wear.

In The Sisters shop in Tallaght - one of Dublin's main outlets for plus-size wear - demand has remained high for larger sizes.

The shop stocks dresses with chest sizes up to 48 inches for girls, and boys' suits with waist sizes of up to 36 inches.

The mid-term break saw a spike in weight for some customers of the shop.

"There is a big, big demand for the plus size for boys and girls," manager David Healy said. "We had a large amount of kids who came in to retry their suits - but their trousers were too tight. Easter is a major problem. We would have sold them fitting perfectly, but the kids put on weight."

The shop has catered for children of all sizes this season he added.

"I had a few with 15 and 15.5-inch shirts, but that would be the upper end. A lot of them would be fitting into aged 13-14 suits," he said.

"This has been an ongoing debate for a number of years."

Sales assistant Ann Kennedy, who deals with young girls looking for communion dresses, said that a lot of children battling weight problems can arrive at the shop upset or disheartened.

"We do have a lot of big children because we are the only shop that caters for the plus children, really," she said.

"We have them coming in very upset after being in other shops where people have said to the mothers in front of them that they are "too fat".

"I don't like that word for children... we call them plus size. Some children are obese, but some are on medication or have thyroid problems.

"We put the girls up on the stool and do their hair - and make them feel like a princess."

The Sisters has been stocking plus size formal wear for a number of years and they have remained popular.

However, this year there has been a slight dip in demand for the bigger sizes on their shelves.

"This year we have more of the bigger dresses left than normal, but we did sell a lot of the 48 and 46s as well," she added.

Kathryn O'Driscoll, owner of Kids Stuff boutique in Newbridge, Co Kildare, said that demand has increased in recent years for their bigger sizes - including trousers of up to a 38-inch waist for boys and dresses with a 38-inch chest.

"More often that not, we have parents in who don't accept that their children are big. We see it in the shop that they don't recognise that it's a problem," she said.

"My experience is that the children are overweight because of bad diets. Parents might be here buying a bigger size and the child could be eating a bag of chips."

Parents are not necessarily left out of pocket if they are forced to look for larger sizes, both stores said.

Kids Stuff absorbs the Vat on the larger sizes as a "point of principle". Vat is charged on clothes that are designed to fit someone over the age of 11.


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