Size Matters

Clothes shopping. An experience that I want to love. Trying on new clothes that have a potential to make me look and feel great can be so much fun.

Unfortunately, it can often end up being  disheartening due to one thing; clothes sizing. Speak to any girl about it, and they will tell you just how infuriating it is trying to find the perfect fit from shop to shop. With some retailers varying the fit for the same size up to THREE inches, it’s not difficult to see why it can get a little bit complicated.

Standardised sizing is something that although recommended, is surprisingly not mandatory within the UK. The issue at hand even entered the media last year when size 14 student, Ruth Clemens, saw her post on H&M’s Facebook page go viral after the size 16 H&M jeans she tried on didn’t even come close to doing up. After having many similar experiences, I know we’re not alone. There’s a rising number of issues that the consumer and the retailer face because of poorly regulated clothing sizes, especially now that online shopping is so popular and dominates the market.

One main issue here is that the lack of standardised sizing makes it so difficult when ordering clothes online. With clothes sizing being so varied it isn’t uncommon that I find myself having to order a dress.In two different sizes because I have no idea which one is going to fit me even if I have shopped with the brand before. The retail industry will complain they are losing money over customers ordering multiple items (which then get refunded) so surely a more standardised system would be the answer that we both need.

Let’s not forget that with unregulated clothing sizes there’s also the issue of so called ‘vanity sizing’ in which retailers will give the clothes a bit more room to make a customer feel good about themselves making them more likely to make a purchase. This also reflects on how the average women’s dress size has gone from a size 8 to a size 16 in the last 50 years. Perhaps the issue is the lack of plus sizes in many clothes shops, making retailers feel there is a need for vanity sizing as the average UK female body size is a UK 16 (compared to five decades ago when it was a size 10). This is not really reflected well on the high street when shops such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Urban Outfitters don’t stock any sizes larger than a 16.

Standardised clothing sizes would solve so many hours faffing about in changing rooms and waiting in post office queues to return items that don’t fit. While I can see the reasons behind non-standardised clothing sizes, it doesn’t make sense in the 21st century that I have to take a tape measure out shopping with me to find the perfect fit.


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July 2021
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