FIT TO BE TIED
Size 12 Bianca Dye can slip into anything from a 4 to a 14, depending on the brand – and she’s not alone. It’s no wonder Aussie shoppers are …
ZARATOP,SMALL, COUNTRYROAD PANTS, SIZE14 “After fitting into a size 4 Country Road skirt, I was surprised size 14 Throw was right. in a ‘small’ top and I’ve completely lost faith.” WITCHERY DRESS,SIZE “Aside from 8 boobs the fact my were ever so big for slightly it, the rest of the garment fitted fine.” CAMILLA & MARC JACKET, SIZE 10, COUNTRY ROAD SKIRT, SIZE 4, WITCHERY TOP, SIZE 14 “Given most of my wardrobe is size 12, how can any woman be expected to know her size when discrepancies can be this extreme?” DESIGNERS and brands are preying on women’s insecurities about the size of their clothing to boost sales.
A Sunday Mail investigation found a huge difference in measurements between brands within what appears to be the same size of clothing – 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, boost sales.
Studies have shown that 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 see them leaving empty-handed.
Design Institute of Australia chief executive Jo-Ann Kellock, who chairs Standards Australia’s Systems for Clothing Committee, 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 investigation found differences of up to 7cm in bust and waist measurements, which is equivalent to 1½ dress sizes.
On e wo woman ZARA DRESS “Howcan , LARGE inonelabel 8 Ibeasize another andalarge ?Thescary in thisisthe partwas biggest hadinthis sizethey dress.” ZARATOP,SMALL, SIZE 12 JEANSWESTJEANS, that felt like “The only thing these the ‘real me’ were else just jeans. Everything felt wrong.” who knows the pain of shopping all too well is 97.3FM breakfast radio host 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 on a recent shopping trip to find herself fitting into clothing from a size 4 to a size 14 across several well-known brands, while sizing within the same label proved 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, who also runs the Anxiety Free social media group, said: “It’s quite confronting to see that we really do need to standardise sizing in the Australian fashion industry. I find it outrageous I can go from a size 4 to size 14.
“Wouldn’t it be better for everyone’s self-esteem and 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 currently no Australian standard for men’s or women’s clothing, with the last coding scheme withdrawn in 2009.
Ms Kellock, whose committee is looking at what can be done, said: “It was a problem for a long time before then, with the standard based on a Women’s Weekly survey back in the ’70s, in which the magazine asked women to send in their measurements. Of course they lied, and so we ended up with an inappropriate guideline from the beginning.”
But the lack of an official sizing system for Australian retailers has created problems for consumers as brands use their own system based on their “ideal customer” profile.
A Standards Australia spokesman said: “All standards start off as a proposal from the public. In the case of clothing sizes, we have not received any proposal to develop an Australian standard since the previous ones were withdrawn.”