Monday, April 7, 2014

An Open Letter to Heavenly Couture

To Whom It May Concern:

I was in the Balboa Island Heavenly Couture store over the weekend. It was the first time I'd heard of or seen your store, and I saw a dress in the window that I really liked and wanted to get for my sister.

Unfortunately, this isn't a letter of praise.

I had a terrible time in the store, and it was due to the sales associate's apparent issue with my appearance.

I am not a typical "Heavenly Couture" girl. I'm 28, I am happily married to a wonderful man, we have two beautiful children, and we own our home. I typically wear jeans and T shirts (in 2X) with sandals almost every day, and I am far from having a couture style.

Your associates made it clear I wasn't supposed to be there.

I walked in to an empty store, meaning there were no other customers shopping in there. I got a very bland, "welcome to heavenly couture." from one of the girls; they were both in the back of the store talking, and it looked like I inconvenienced them when I walked in.

After the welcome, I asked about the dress in the window. They both actually, visibly, looked me up and down, looked at each other, and then said they were out of it; someone bought the last one that day. I said alright, and looked around the store a little bit because I thought there were some cute accessories in there!

Not once did I receive any help, no one asked me what I was looking for, no one checked to see if I was finding everything okay, it was probably the worst service I've ever had.

The best part? I saw a few of the dresses I was looking for in the back area by the associates.

Anyone who lives in Orange County knows how truly diverse this place is, despite what television and movies have made it out to be. We know there are different people, different women, all shapes, sizes, colors, races, orientations, professions, perfections and imperfections. This place is amazing, and yet, there are still so many close-minded people, women, ready to shoot down anyone that doesn't fit their idea of what a person or woman should be.

I didn't come in to the store for myself. I was certain there wouldn't be anything in there for me to wear. I went in to find something for someone else, and, regardless of why I was shopping there, I left feeling two inches tall, discriminated against, and incredibly self-conscious of my appearance.

I have a younger sister, a daughter, and a niece. I have cousins and friends. I am a role model for quite a few females in my life, and, after leaving your Balboa Island store location, I felt like a wilted flower, incapable of inspiring anyone to be the best person they can be. Incapable of telling others how beautiful they are in their own skin. Incapable of loving myself for who I am.

It's a sad situation, and it gave me an emotional cocktail I haven't had in a while. I was humiliated, sad, angry, hurt, unhappy, betrayed, mad at myself for looking the way I do, and just so self-conscious. No person should ever feel like that. No girl should ever be influenced by another person to feel that way about herself.

It took me a little while, even with the help and encouragement of my husband and friends, to remember that I am beautiful, I am proud of myself, and my body is wonderful for all it has done. But a lot of girls don't have the support system I have. They don't have a loving significant other, they don't have really close friends, they don't have supportive parents or family members... and those girls won't recover as quickly as I did.

Basically, there's one HUGE point I'm trying to make right now with this letter:
It's not fair to treat people the way I was treated, and you don't have to do that.

It's not difficult to be kind, there's no stress in being a nice person, and it's actually better for you, as an individual, to be kind to others.

I really hope you take the time to educate your employees on what it takes to work in a clothing store. You never know who your customer is going to be, and you should treat people with respect.

I truly hope this never happens again to any person ever, especially a potential customer thinking about shopping in your store.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

― Maya Angelou


Melody Calvert

P.S. to anyone reading this Open Letter, don't forget how wonderful you are. You are beautiful, strong, talented, and amazing, and I wish you nothing but the best for you in your life. Don't forget that everything amazing starts with loving yourself. Love yourself first, and everything will fall into place!


  1. I'm really glad you wrote and sent this. It's ridiculous that people are still being treated this way.

    1. Thank you. It feels really good to know I have the support system I do. I'm sad that this happened and continues to happen, but I hope this maybe wakes them up a little bit.

  2. Hi Melody. I am contacting you from our office. This blog has been brought to my attention and we are absolutely stunned at the service you received at one our locations. We are immediately going to investigate this and ensure that this never happens again because this is complete unacceptable by any one of our team members. We sincerely apologize and we will be contacting you. - Heavenly Couture

    1. Thank you so much for contacting me and having things handled so swiftly and elegantly. I truly appreciate you. I have posted an update here:

  3. Your letter made me cry. I'm so sorry that you went through this.

    Though I have always been an average size, I battled bulimia as a teen/young adult and know the horror of self-loathing. We are all capable of it within ourselves. But you seem confident and fabulous...comfortable in your own skin and proud of who you are. The fact that you were made to feel small and unattractive by strangers floors me. I know that you have already moved on and are back to being your wonderful, confident self but I'm sending you a big warm hug anyway.

    1. Britton, thank you for your comment and honesty. I'm sorry you had any battle like that, and I hope you know how beautiful you are. I have posted an update to this here:

      Again, thank you so much and I hope you know I mean this, (((((hugs!)))))

  4. God, I needed to hear something like this today. I mean, not that you were discriminated against and mistreated, but just your message of self-acceptance and love. I am so sad that those saleswomen treated you so horribly, but your response was incredibly inspiring to me. So many people would have lashed out, but you were totally classy and still full of love, for yourself and others. I have battled my weight my entire life and just recently realized that I don't feel worthy of love because I'm overweight. I am not sure how to change that attitude I harbor, but I do feel like reading the words of people like you is a really good start!

    1. Patty, I know how you feel. It's not easy to change your entire life-- your mind, your way of thinking, your way of seeing yourself as others see you. It's not easy to do that and it's not fun, but it's important.
      I believe in you and I believe you have the ability to do just that.
      Beauty isn't what size you wear, and beauty isn't what you ate for dinner. Beauty is in your smile. Beauty is in your eyes. Beauty is in your laugh. Beauty is in you.
      When you accept yourself... I mean truly accept yourself, for all your perfections, all your flaws, all your weaknesses, all your strengths... when you realize that NO ONE is perfect, but EVERYONE is beautiful, you will radiate. You will love yourself and you will feel amazing.
      People will see a change in you. They won't know what it is right away, but they will see it, because you will be giving off a completely different light.
      Start by keeping your head up and smiling at others. Wear your favorite color, do what you like to do, and go where you like to be.
      Please know that I think you're beautiful. You are incredibly worthy of love, and laughter, and happiness. You are an amazing person.

      If you'd like to talk more, I'm on facebook/itslikemusic :)