Why is there no standardisation of sizing in the clothing industry in the UK?!
This is something that has been bothering me for a long time. I used to think it was just me that had an issue with it but after moaning away to various unfortunate friends, I have discovered it is a common stressor amongst women in the UK.
I recently tried to buy a formal business outfit. For the sake of keeping costs low, I hit the high street in the search of a simple plain suit, under which I could put a nice bright top to personalise it. Never did I think it would be the hardest task of my adult life.
My first though was Primark; cheap and easy. However... They didnt have any actual suits for women! They had separate trousers and jackets which didn't match and were awful.
The first pair of trousers I tried on were kind of stretchy, with a nice gold button and tapered down to the ankle. I tried on a 16 and couldn't even come close to doing the butting up. I tried on an 18 and barely squeezed myself in. This in itsel had me almost in tears. I've been working so hard in the gym & eating right; there's no way I could have gone UP to a size 20!
Distraught and angry, I left the shop without trying anything else, went home and sulked into my protein shake.
Two days later I went back, picked up a different - but very similar - pair. Unbeknownst to me, I had picked up a size 14. They were well fitting in the waist but about a foot too long and baggy in the legs.
When I realised my mistake, I was shocked. How could I have gone DOWN three sizes in 48 hours?!
Deciding that, if I wanted something of a better fit and quality, Primark was not the place to be. I wafted through the town in a cloud of confusion until I somehow found myself standing in front of Next.
Clearly my subconscious had been at work. I often see adverts for Next's clothes and think they're too formal for my every day wardrobe - the perfect place to be for more sophisticated dressing!
I compiled an outfit of printed trousers, a simple white silk camisole and a nice navy blue blazer - all in a size 16. On the hangers, this was the perfect outfit. The colours and combinations represented my personality visually; the materials gave an air of sophistication and the complete look was suitably serious but still fashionable and not ageing.
It was a totally different story when I put it on. The waist just fit. My bum was attempting to burst out the back seam. My ankles were drowning in material in supposedly tapered trousers. The camisole was baggy on my torso but seriously straining over my [medium at the very biggest] chest. The blazer was about 3 inches off the top of the trousers and was pulling right across my back.
None of this made any sense. I do have thin ankles but I dont think the average woman has ankles 3 times the size of mine. My bum is on the larger side but no disproportionately so to my waist. I do not have a large chest. I do have an hourglass figure but I do not have the shoulders of a rugby player.
That not one of these pieces fit as it should was beyond frustrating, especially as I was looking at spending £100 on it!
I could carry on this story for hours. The same result happened in several shops. In the end, I bought a teal shift dress in the M&S sale but it wasn't what I wanted and I don't feel confident in it, despite my mum telling me how lovely I look in it.
What I want to know is - how is it allowed that sizing can vary so much from shop to shop? I saw an online bikini retailer who advertise a Large as being a size 10-12! I was disgusted.
With the prevalence of the media, the upward surge of people being diagnosed with eatin disorders, why is there no regulation of sizing requirements in the fashion retail industry of the UK?
Ranging between a 14 and a 20 in one day is not physically possible. Having to buy something 3 sizes above your actual size is enough to destroy the self-esteem of even the most confident of people - I can't imagine what it would do to someone who has negative issues with their body image.
If only I could afford tailored clothing!