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 …

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - SPE­CIAL RE­PORT ASTRID TAEMETS

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.”

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