Unfortunately, for many of us as we get older, the time comes when you realise that you might not be as slim as you once were, and finding something flattering in your size proves impossible.
You find yourself lugging the same dress in three different sizes to the changing rooms, only for none of them to fit. Sure, the first one may have flattened your stomach, but it’s no use when you’re spilling out at the top with a case of ‘double boob-itis’.
It seems standard sizes have become lost in the world of fashion, and where you’re a size 12 in one shop, you’re a 14 in the next. Why must we now keep a record of what size we are according to which clothing brand? It’s turned what used to be a fun trip to the shops into a mammoth trek around town.
Image by net_efekt
The fact that ‘vanity sizing’ has evolved as a trend can make it frustrating when shopping, as manufacturers don’t use the same standards for labelling. Why? Simply because the downsized labels make the customer feel good about themselves.
But is it really worth it? Surely ‘vanity sizing’ just encourages self-deception. Although at first you may feel good fitting into a size 10, knowing full well you’re usually a size 12, after time you begin to forget what size you really are. No one will see the label but you, so why kid yourself?
A lack of standard sizes also makes it difficult for women to snap up a bargain online. Some women choose not to shop online because they can’t guarantee the size of the garment will fit without trying it on. They don’t want to deal with the hassle of returning the item and waiting for a refund, especially if they’ve lost money through delivery. Instead, they would rather rule it out altogether.
Is It The Same For Men As Women?
When we compare women’s clothing to men’s, it’s more common to see the exact measurements of the garment in men’s clothing. They have chest sizes labelled on tops, and waist and length on bottoms. Very rarely is this seen in women’s, with the exception of jeans in selected shops. If women’s clothing adopted the same labelling as men’s, it might help us to pluck something off the rails or the web, and feel confident that it will fit.
The Challenge Of Finding A Bra That Fits
Now bras are a whole other issue. I think it’s safe to say that bra shopping, at some point, has been the bane of every woman’s life. Most of the time we think we’re wearing the right size – we’re not! Even when given the exact measurements (A, B, C cup and 32, 34, 36 inch), we’re still not a consistent size in every shop.
You can spend hours in the changing room being scooped and jiggled by the shop assistant. Then after trying on almost every bra in the shop, and feeling more like a watermelon than your average apple or pear shape, you find one that fits. So you decide to stock up (because let’s face it, you’re going to postpone going through this process again for as long as possible), only to find that there’s just one left in stock.
Instead of coming home with a hoard of bras in girly prints and colours, you’ve returned with only one to try and last you another year. The whole experience has left you feeling more exhausted than when you began. We’re told that 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size – but who can blame us? Even when you do get measured, each shop tells you something different.
A Brand Related Problem?
Part of the issue may be because of the target demographic or cultural trappings of the brands. H&M is a Scandinavian brand, so their designers typically work with models who are tall, slim, and athletic. Whereas Miss Selfridge caters more for petite women; so a difference in sizing is inevitable.
Although not having standard sizing for all clothing brands can be frustrating, they still need to provide for their target market. It’s equally as important to cater for individual needs, which has encouraged some brands to introduce tall, petite, and plus size ranges.
Those who differ in size than the average woman struggle just as much to find something that fits. They may find a brand that suits their size but not necessarily their style, making them limited in choice. It can then make them feel forced to shop from that one particular brand just because their sizes are tailored to their body shape.
Nevertheless, we may be asking too much from a brand if we expect it to cater for both standardised sizes and target markets – one brand can’t do everything. Speaking in terms of business, there must be a target demographic to aim its merchandise at, as it enables the brand to sell more products and services with fewer marketing resources.
The truth is it seems impossible to please everyone. We live in an age where we’re all shapes and sizes. We want both diversity and consistency, and it’s important to not neglect one for the other, but the two struggle to coexist. As once said, ‘You can’t please all of the people all of the time’.
What are your thoughts on how different clothing brands approach sizing? Share your ideas in the comments below!
Featured images: License: Creative Commons image source
Jade is a lover of fashion with an obsession for clothes (mainly things with sequins on them!) When she’s not browsing through the shops, she’s often blogging about her purchases.