This week, Old Navy came under fire for its practice of upcharging its plus-size female consumers. Head to their website’s Women’s Plus section and you’ll see women’s plus-size jeans have price tags upwards of $15 more than their ‘regular’ counterparts. While the company’s regular jeans, at full-price, range from $29.50 to $36.94, their plus-size denim ranges from $44.94 to $59.94.But that’s not Old Navy’s biggest issue. What’s pissing people off isn’t just the fact that plus-size women have to pay more for their clothes; it’s that plus-size men don’t.Not only is there not a counterpart section — Men’s Plus, perhaps — for men’s larger sizes on the website, but there’s also no upcharge on the largest men’s sizes. This  double standard pissed off New York woman Renee Posey so much start a petition that which, as of today, has amassed more than 54,000 signatures. Posey wrote on

“I was fine paying the extra money as a plus-sized woman, because, you know, more fabric equals higher cost of manufacture. However, selling jeans to larger-sized men at the same cost as they sell to smaller men not only negates the cost manufacture argument, but indicates that Old Navy is participating in both sexism and sizeism, directed only at women.”

Gap Inc., Old Navy’s parent company, had a explain at the ready and told that the plus-size women’s items:

“… are created by a team of designers who are experts in creating the most flattering and on-trend plus styles, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include. The higher price point reflects the selection of unique fabrics and design elements.”

Posey quickly called bullshit on that statement, telling Consumerist that Old Navy was basically just trying to “obfuscate the truth, appease the plus-sized female consumer, and frankly make this whole thing go away.” She claimed the aforementioned design elements are included in the regular-sized pieces, too. I don’t know whether Posey is correct, but Old Navy’s statement doesn’t seem satisfactory for a lot of reasons.First of all, are they really using different materials in the plus-size clothing than they are in the regular ones? I don’t think it should matter. Presumably they put the same level of care into all their garments—even ‘skinny’ people want figure-flattering clothes. Second of all, I find it hard to believe that if there is a massive difference in materials and fabrics used, its one that costs the company so much that it needs to be reflected in their price tags. I like Old Navy clothes just fine, and have found some great, affordable pieces there—but let’s be honest, it’s not couture.  Whatever materials they’re using are unlikely to be breaking the bank, especially considering the massive parent company, Gap Inc. is still reporting year over year profits.There are other reasons to be skeptical of Old Navy’s response: a quick browse through other brands’ plus-size offerings shows that many have figured out how to level the pricing playing field. Shop for a pair of pants at J.Crew, for example, and you’ll pay the same for size 0 or size 16 — in regular, petite or tall. In fact, the only items that seem to show a difference in cost are some of the men’s shirts (their Herringbone Flannel Shirt costs $84.50 for the tall sizes versus $79.50 for the regular). But even the men’s pants are priced consistently across the board.Forever 21’s High Rise Skinny Jeans are priced the same in plus and regular sizes (well actually, it’s a 10-cent difference, but I can’t even begin to understand that), while their Faux Leather Bodycon Dress is (inexplicably) $2 more for the regular size. And H&M’s Skinny Jeans—when comparing the exact wash in both size options—are a single price, despite the fact that they are made of different materials (the regular size includes polyester, while the plus size does not), which is exactly Old Navy’s reason for the price difference. Neither of these stores have increased costs for men’s larger sizes.We could look at tons of different stores with plus size options and see all sorts of different pricing styles. But one thing remains consistent, and that’s that, at least to me, it seems arbitrarily chosen by each company. I don’t really see how Old Navy can go claiming that they use such special materials in their plus-size clothing that it warrants an increase in price, especially when it’s clearly not an industry standard. One of Old Navy’s biggest hooks, if not the biggest hook, is its affordable offerings. Is it really worth it to jeopardize that — and alienate an entire group of consumers — for a few extra dollars on a few certain items?According to Posey’s latest update on the Change.Org page, she was contacted by Edie Kissko, the Global Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Gap Inc. While Posey wouldn’t reveal any major details, she noted that the two “spoke at some length about this petition” and the issues at hand. What that means for price tags, only time will tell.Related Articles:Calvin Klein Thinks This Is How “Plus Size” LooksSomeone at Walmart Thinks Women Wear “Fat Girl Costumes”