The issue of sizing in clothes shops keeps coming up time and time again. Some shops seem to be well-known for their small sizes. It is common knowledge that the same size can be different from shop to shop. Then we have to take into consideration the style and fit of the item of clothing at hand – this may alter the size you need too. A shopping trip which should be fun (for those of us who enjoy a spot of shopping) can quickly turn into a fraught, frustrating, upsetting and sometimes rage-inducing experience!
One of my class members was telling me she has always been the same size in a certain high street shop. However, she tried on a top in said shop recently and it didn’t fit, it was too small. Naturally she was upset and said she refused to buy the bigger size. She then visited a different store and tried on another top in the same size. This time the opposite happened and she needed to go down a dress size for it to fit!
Another class member was telling me how thrilled she was to have gotten into the smallest pair of jeans she owns, a pair she hadn’t been able to fit into in forever. She decided to go back to the shop to buy a few more pairs in the same size, same style. When she got home and tried them on they didn’t fit. After feeling so happy, confident and proud of herself, she now felt extremely deflated and completely rubbish.
I myself have been clothes shopping recently. On my first trip I went to my favourite shop and took a hoard of stuff into the changing rooms all in my usual dress size. The majority of the stuff didn’t fit. Some things were massive on me, some things I couldn’t even get on they were so tight! What was going on?! I hadn’t lost or gained any weight and my shape hadn’t changed. One item, a gorgeous jumpsuit, fitted perfectly everywhere apart from on my bust. It was huge – no amount of padding was going to fill it! Never have I felt so unfeminine in my life and I was gutted.
On my second shopping trip just this last weekend I had more disappointment. Some of the clothes in my usual size looked fit only for a small child! But I did manage to find one top and I thought “Finally! Something I like and that fits!” The problems came when I tried taking said top off…I practically had to become a contortionist to get out of it! I am still yet to find any shorts for summer. By the time I’ve found some summer will probably be over. All the shorts I’ve tried on have been stupidly tight on my bum but big around the waist.
Both trips have left me feeling like my body shape isn’t normal. One of my class members said to me she was surprised I was having trouble finding clothes as she thought there would be loads of choice for me. This is the thing, I don’t think it matters what size or shape you are, we have all had these negative experiences when shopping for and trying on clothes. On my latest shopping trip I overheard a woman saying “I can never find anything in my size, there is never anything for me.”
Dress sizes are bad enough to fathom out without the minefield of sussing out what a small, medium or large is. We are continually being shocked by what are considered average sizes being considered ‘large’ in many stores. Then there are the annoying sizes that go 8-10, 12-14, 16-18, where we all inevitably end up in between sizes. I saw a particularly funny post on Facebook about how all bikinis should be sized as bras are as there is no such thing as a size 10 breast!
So what are we to do about all this? Unfortunately we can’t change how the shops choose to size their clothes. Of course we can shout about it, but the decision lies with them. I don’t think any amount of trying can get rid of the frustration we feel when things aren’t fitting right and sizes are all over the place. But I think what we do need to do is try are very best to not get upset about it. We definitely shouldn’t start body shaming ourselves if something doesn’t fit even though it’s in our usual size. This is something that has happened to us all and keeps happening to us all! It doesn’t mean anything.