Perhaps a couple of weeks back, i came across a rather interesting article on the troublesome tale of women's sizing on the high street, it expressed what an absolute shambles the UK 'sizing' is and how differs from store to store. The article stemmed from this online web app What Size Am I? penned by Anna, who out of frustration created her own solution, a clever nifty little site that allows you to enter your measurements and see what dress size you actually fit in a range of different stores. However, as genius as this sounds, i am unable to even enter my details as i'm at a complete loss to what size i even am without whipping out the tape measure. In various stores i am a variety of sizes, being a pear shape (ample bosom with child bearing hips) i can wear a size 8/10 blouse but vary between a size 10/12 bottom. Topshop i am definitely a 12 on the hips, yet the blouses i'm strictly an 8, where as New Look i veer heavily to a size 10 on both top and bottom. Looking at online measurements, my 29'' jeans that fit perfectly translate to:
Topshop: size 10 & half
New Look: small 12
River Island: spot on size 12
H&M: large 12 / borderline 14
Warehouse: spot on 12
Confused? Yes. But not as frustrated and upset as i was when i entered a H& M fitting room a month or so back laden with a range of sizes of these delightful skinny trousers. Knowing that H& M are pretty up in the air with sizes, i took a variety of sizes and started with a size 12. Lets just say, my legs resembled this, lovely. Feeling slightly crushed, i tried the next size up - a size 14. Which by no means is in anyway overweight or fat, but actually the national average size for a UK woman i think you'll find. They fitted perfectly (edit: now slightly baggy around the arse and tum - argh!). Now i know - i am not a size 14 - however i was completely crushed to say the least. I knew deep down that its completely due to the awful H& M sizing that we all hear about, heck i once bought a size 6 dress from there, but i felt absolutely shit.
After a few days, i thought f-you H& M and swiftly ordered them online. When they arrived i was honestly tempted to revert back to the actions of my 13 year old puppy-fat self, hacking out the labels in my clothes, out of pure disgust and embarrassment - just incase my anyone should happen ever cast an eye on them. Spoken from a girl whose, thankfully, never had any worries about my weight or appearance since my puppy fat days, it was a bit sad to say the least. Sure i have a few rolls the baker should probably have back, and thanks to my charming mother who reminds me no amount of exercise will ever shift those child bearing hips, i couldn't give a toss. I strive to be healthy, whether thats power walking or eating more veggies, not counting the calories excessively and standing on the scales every night.
But that was a seriously low blow from H& M, and alike most shops from the high-street its becoming impossible to know what size you in-fact are, without taking fifty thousand size choices into the dressing room. Even where i work part-time in retail, a shop that caters more for plus-size women, the sizes teeter heavily on the generous side. Known as size flattering, my customers are delighted to find they have all of a sudden dropped a dress size, encouraging them to return and purchase, feeding them a quick pleasing high. When really, i assume its part of a genius marketing plan. After reading both article and my troubles with H& M, i've come to realise how silly it was of me to be ashamed, because really it's not me thats flawed, its the high-street. If i had walked out of Topshop with a size 10, it certainly would have been a completely different story. Will we ever see rules or guidelines on streamlined sizing in the UK high street or any changes to this foolery? Not ever likely. But be rest-assured to never, ever take it seriously to heart.
What are you thoughts on sizing on the high-street? Does it effect you, or are you gone past caring? Is your weight something that really effects your self-esteem?
In no way i am i stating that it is awful that i fitted a size 14, simply that i was fitting a pair of trousers that were two sizes up from what i normal take.