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
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.