SIZE BY NUMBERS

Are you a dif­fer­ent size in ev­ery shop? Find your­self hav­ing to buy two sizes up or one size down? Wel­come to the high street, says Han­nah Banks-walker, where it’s best to aban­don size and in­stead fo­cus on fit

Look (UK) - - FASHION -

When I was a teenager, I could walk into any shop, try on a size 8 and know that, mostly, it would fit. Then I de­vel­oped hips, boobs and other reg­u­la­tion body parts that ren­dered shop­ping trips en­tirely more com­pli­cated.

Sud­denly, I found that in ev­ery store I needed a slightly dif­fer­ent size. Of­ten, I need dif­fer­ent sizes within the same store. H&M? I cur­rently wear dresses that are a size 10, while the trousers need to be at least a 14 for me to even get them on. ASOS? I can be any­thing from an 8 on top to a 12 on bot­tom. In fact, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, 49 per cent of women can’t find clothes that fit them prop­erly. That’s ba­si­cally half of the fe­male pop­u­la­tion, all strug­gling around town wear­ing slightly too-tight trousers.

We’re con­stantly told that sizes have be­come more gen­er­ous (which is why vin­tage pieces of­ten come up a lot smaller), but look­ing at the largest sizes on some of the high street, I don’t see quite how this can be true. I’ve of­ten tried on a size L in Zara only to find it was too small. Given that I’m a UK 10-12, if I’m Zara’s largest cus­tomer, this can­not be healthy. Par­tic­u­larly see­ing as the aver­age UK size is a 16.

What’s to be done? Well, I for one am tired of see­ing my friends (and my­self) feel de­mor­alised be­cause we’ve had to buy a size big­ger in a cer­tain shop. See­ing as there doesn’t seem to be much con­sis­tency across the board, these sizes are left mean­ing­less any­way. So I pro­pose we re­ject size and in­stead fo­cus on the fit of our clothes and how they make us feel. So what if you’re wear­ing a larger size when it earns you dozens of com­pli­ments?

It’s time we re­mem­bered what it is about fash­ion that makes us feel good: it’s a form of self-ex­pres­sion, it’s fun and it lets us all project what we want to the world. Turns out, size doesn’t matter one lit­tle bit.

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