SIZES DON’T MEA­SURE UP

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DE­SIGN­ERS and brands are prey­ing on women’s in­se­cu­ri­ties about the size of their cloth­ing in order to boost sales. A Sun­day Mail in­ves­ti­ga­tion found a huge dif­fer­ence in mea­sure­ments within what ap­pears to be the same size of cloth­ing be­tween var­i­ous brands – in some cases, the equiv­a­lent of al­most two dress sizes. The ab­sence of siz­ing stan­dards in Aus­tralia has led to the rise of van­ity siz­ing, the du­bi­ous prac­tice of us­ing smaller num­bers on la­bels to boost con­sumers’ morale and, ul­ti­mately, sell more prod­uct.

Stud­ies have shown when peo­ple feel thin­ner, they are more likely to buy. Con­versely, if buy­ers don’t fit the size they think they are, the neg­a­tive im­pact can mean them leav­ing the store empty-handed.

De­sign In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Jo-Ann Kel­lock said: “Some women have at­tached them­selves to a size la­bel and take it very se­ri­ously. It im­pacts how they feel about their body.”

The Sun­day Mail’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion found dif­fer­ences of up to 7cm in bust and waist mea­sure­ments, which is equiv­a­lent to 1½ dress sizes.

One woman who knows all too well the pain of shop­ping for new cloth­ing is Bianca Dye. She says fash­ion has be­come a frus­trat­ing game that of­ten leaves her feel­ing con­fused and de­feated.

Con­sid­er­ing her­self an av­er­age size 12, Dye was shocked re­cently to find her­self fit­ting into cloth­ing rang­ing from a size 4 to a size 14 across sev­eral dif­fer­ent well-known brands.

Even more con­fus­ing, siz­ing within the same la­bel proved to be in­con­sis­tent.

“This ex­pe­ri­ence pre­sented an in­ter­est­ing in­sight into the se­ri­ous lack of siz­ing stan­dards, and pre­sented an ob­vi­ous case to bring back a cod­ing scheme,” she said.

Dye, a ra­dio host who also runs the Anx­i­ety Free so­cial me­dia group, said: “It’s quite con­fronting to see that we re­ally do need to stan­dard­ise the siz­ing in the Aus­tralian fash­ion in­dus­try. I find it out­ra­geous I can go from a size 4 to size 14.

“Wouldn’t it ... make things less con­fus­ing if brands adopted siz­ing that re­flected the ac­tual mea­sure­ments of a gar­ment, rather than trick peo­ple into buy­ing their clothes?”

There is no Aus­tralian stan­dard in place in re­gards to men’s and women’s cloth­ing siz­ing, with the last size cod­ing scheme with­drawn in 2009.

A Stan­dards Aus­tralia spokesper­son said: “All stan­dards start as a pro­posal from the pub­lic.

“(For) cloth­ing sizes, we have not re­ceived any pro­posal to de­velop an Aus­tralian Stan­dard since the pre­vi­ous ones were with­drawn.”

Picture: MARK CRANITCH

FRUS­TRATED: Bianca Dye says cloth­ing size vari­a­tions are con­fus­ing.

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