Target apologizes for ‘manatee gray’ description of plus-sized women’s dress

(Bill Sikes/AP Photo)

Target is doing some damage control after it described the colour on one of it’s plus-sized women’s dresses as “manatee gray.” Maybe this wouldn’t be much of a problem, except for the fact that the same dress in regular sizes was described as “dark heather gray” on the Target website.

The discrepancy — describing one dress in terms of a delicate flower and another in terms of a sea creature that survives on its massive fat reserves — was pointed out by writer and designer Susan Clemens on Twitter.

Target’s communications team responded to the tweet quickly.

And then it began responding to many media inquiries about the misstep.

No offence was meant and the manatee-gray colour is used across the store, Target spokesperson Jessica Deede told Fox News. “Manatee gray is actually a seasonal color that is used across product categories on, from apparel items to home items. This was an unintentional oversight,” she said. “We will take this opportunity to learn.”

The misstep seemed to occur when two different teams of buyers were working on the product lines. One was responsible for the plus-sizes and another for the “missy” line. One team used the official name and one didn’t, a spokesperson told

No off-colour jokes were intended.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.