A ModCloth Mea Culpa?

From time to time, I read a blog called Get Off My Internets, which analyzes the sometimes absurd world of fashion and fashion bloggers.  On Tuesday, the site’s author took issue with a skirt that ModCloth was selling.  But her complaint wasn’t about how hideous the skirt is, instead she disagreed with the retailer’s description:

Volunteering feels good, doesn’t it? It’s also a great excuse to travel, and this time your huge heart is taking you to Africa! Embody the vibrant personalities and positive spirits of the locals when you wear this dynamic maxi skirt with an gold exposed zipper!

Created by Lauren Moffatt, a favorite amongst fashion bloggers, this skirt’s wide, blue waistband matches its bottom hem, and every other olive brown, bright red, ivory, and blue vertical line is decorated with tansy-colored flowers. Wear it wonderfully with a solid-colored top, oversized beaded jewelry, and shoes that are just as pleasantly unexpected as its silky lining and the colorful bouquet that diagonally blooms above the hem of this skirt, and you’ll be loved by Tanzania locals for more than just your helping hands!

Now, this skirt costs $274.99.  That’s right, you can own this…monstrosity of rejected fabric from the Brady Bunch costume department, or you can own a very nice dress/blazer/pair of work pumps.  Confused?  Me too.  But the author at GOMI was confused for a different reason:

My gut tells me that trying to sell a $274.99 skirt by telling people to wear it volunteering in Africa just seems…tacky? 

Yes. Tacky. Like the skirt itself.  But maybe the folks at ModCloth saw the error of their ways because less than a day after this post, the description was changed.  They even changed the name of the product to the “Tantalizing Tansies Skirt” to disable the GOMI link.  

So let me ask this: Was the description tacky or no big deal?  And do you think ModCloth had a genuine change of heart or did they just change the post to hide it from bad PR?  

And if I might have a follow up, can someone please explain to me why anyone would pay $275 for this skirt?  I wouldn’t wear this skirt if you paid me $275.  I take that back.  I suppose it would depend on how long they wanted me to wear it and where they wanted me to wear it. *wink*

For more hideousness from ModCloth, check out these Cicada earrings.  Cause nothing says glamour like 2″ long bugs.

Leave a Reply to Jo · cancel comment


  1. Rory says:

    I've never heard of tansy being used as a color before…am I missing something?

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Aire says:

    Aire here from ModCloth. We truly apologize for the offensive description. The ModCloth writer who described this skirt spent many years volunteering in and out of the country, and it was with those fond memories of her experiences that she created this description. We’re always striving to promote cultural diversity, and and we want to stress there were no offensive motives. We also did not intend in any way to suggest that higher-priced items are part of the volunteering process, and we’ve renamed and described the item in response to your feedback. We’re also revising our editing policies based on this incident. ModCloth and its employees are dedicated to giving back any way we can. Please feel free to email our Charitable Giving Committee to find out more about how we help those around us, Again, we understand there were hurt feelings, and we’re sincerely sorry for making this mistake.

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  3. MidwestChic says:

    Instead of buying a $275 skirt to wear to Africa, where I assume you'd be going to help the less fortunate, why not just give them that money or buy necessary supplies? I typically like what modcloth has to offer as well, but this skirt (and original description) are terribly tacky.

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  4. K says:

    That description reads like a joke – it's hard to believe it was genuine, but I'm glad to hear it wasn't intentionally offensive. I'm totally turned off by the descriptions of the grateful charming locals who adore the American because she wears such a lovely skirt. wow…

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  5. PR chic says:

    Aire–no damage control necessary

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  6. Jo says:

    I refuse to shop Mod Cloth not because of descriptions but because they make nothing that accommodate larger busts, and the two items I bought were of really poor quality for what I paid for them… not going back anytime soon.

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  7. Nina says:

    Belle, I love that you read GOMI. It is like you hate all the things I hate: Uggs, Vera Bradley, self-indulgent fashion bloggers, and tacky descriptions of expensive skirts. CHS FTW!

    ModCloth does leave a bad taste in my mouth. As “Jo” mentioned the quality has been poor the last several years and this F21 ripoff thing still rankles me:

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  8. MoMinHeels says:

    Okay, I'd file this under the “we all have better things to get riled up about” category. This is no Urban Outfitter's situation. Many online retailers / designers develop amusing, creative or pithy descriptions of clothing items to attract buyer's attention. And sometimes they fall flat. For example, today's 10th commandment features a jacket described as a Metallic Jogging Blazer. Okayyyy…This item of clothing is clearly not designed to accompany as you pound the pavement of your morning 5-miler. The description is kind of dumb. Frankly, I think the story here is that ModCloth reacted to the criticism and edited accordingly. Isn't that what we want when we find something offensive? To have the offender rectify the offense?

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  9. Hannah says:

    @MoMinHeels amen.

    August 25, 2011/Reply