SIZES DON’T MEASURE UP
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is no Australian standard in place in regards to men’s and women’s clothing sizing, with the last size coding scheme withdrawn in 2009.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“(For) clothing sizes, we have not received any proposal to develop an Australian Standard since the previous ones were withdrawn.”
FRUSTRATED: Bianca Dye says clothing size variations are confusing.