Last week I filmed a segment for a BBC Wales programme X-Ray. Its regarding a prominent thought that seems to be in the forefront of women’s minds, on TV and social media of late.
The programme is here: (We’re the last segment)
The programme shows an experiment where we shop in 6 well known High street stores for the same style pair of jeans (mid rise skinny fit) in the same size from each store.
I brought my sister along for the experiment, so we shopped for a UK size 10 for me and a UK size 12 for my lovely sister to see what the outcome would be for each retailers size.
We then tried each pair of jeans on and saw first hand what a difference in inches there actually is. It was remarkable how each pair were labelled with a Size 10 or 12 and yet they measured and fit completely differently.
The question was posed: Should UK high street retailers standardise their sizes for continuity of shopping?
Before taking part in this experiment (and making my TV debut, ha!) I read an article about a women who broke down in tears in the changing rooms due to the disheartening size system, and how it knocked her self-esteem to have to size up multiple times to get the jeans to even do up.
And this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this, it is fairly common to hear women exclaim that they hate shopping (Jean shopping in-particular), that it can be an upsetting experience where the size they thought they were just don’t fit, causing stressful situations in the changing rooms and generally making you feel a bit rubbish about yourself.
My sister admitted throwing pieces down in temper and leaving the shop immediately, finding that her mood had taken a very swift down turn in reflection of the unfair sizing of items.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever taken the item in your size in to the changing room to find it doesn’t even come close to fitting even though your shape hasn’t changed since the last time you bought jeans?
After seeing the difference in inches between each brand it was clear that the High Street doesn’t and probably won’t be standardising on sizes anytime soon, however as women we should not let this effect us.
That number on your item of clothing does not reflect who YOU are as a person. It doesn’t even reflect your true size as these numerical figures that the shops have generated aren’t an accurate account of our sizing in the slightest. These UK 8, 10,12,14, 16 etc are just reference to an article of clothing that this shop has given to its pieces.
This number doesn’t represent how wonderful you are, how your body is doing miraculous things each and every day to keep you standing, moving and breathing, this number doesn’t mean you are a good or bad person, this number doesn’t even mean that you are fat or thin or anything inbetween.
It is just a number.
I was talking to my step daughter about this and how women feel pressured to fit in to certain ‘Number Size’. I explained to her that this fictious number is a loose reference at most. It is a way for the shop to reference stock. It is not a representation of any given person.
I don’t want her to grow up fearing sizes. I don’t want her or any women to try to prise themselves in to certain ‘number size’ because society dictates which size is cool and which isn’t.
It is so important that we look past the numbers and look at who we are and what we feel comfortable in.
For example, if we removed all the sizing tags and referencing from 6 pairs of jeans we would choose the ones that fit the best and feel the most comfortable.
The dreaded ‘Number Size’ would be irrelevant.
We would just be happy in the fact that we got ourselves a lovely new pair of jeans and they fitted just as we want them to.
That’s how shopping should be!
Yes sometimes you have to try on multiple items before you get the winning pair, which i know is an inconvenience, but surely its better to try before you buy and look for a winning pair that fit like a dream rather than getting upset over a retailers reference.
So after our shopping experiment there is some sound advice to partake for ladies looking to go shopping without feeling the shopping blues:
- Be open minded. Get those certain numbers out your head straight away.
- Take a number of different sizes in to the changing rooms with you, don’t be afraid to try on a size bigger than you think or smaller. The stores products really do vary in inches, it is not a representation of you, it is about finding your best fit.
- Try new shops. We are all prone to falling in to the same old haunts when it comes to shopping, but branching out and trying new shops may open your mind to new clothing pieces. Plus each store cuts their products slightly differently. For me I love Topshop jeans and highly recommend them (this is because they work on waist inch basis rather than their UK sizing of 10,12 etc), my sister would never have stepped foot in Topshop previously, deeming it to young, but lo and behold the jeans were her absolute favourite out of all 6 that we tried on. It all goes back to being open minded.
- Make shopping a fun experience. Get your mate, sister, mum (or me!) to go with you. Someone you trust and who is fair and honest. There’s no need to shop alone if it depresses you, bring someone along who can help keep the mood light and offer practical advice.
- If you’re ordering online, try a company that offers free returns (most do these days) and order a few sizes if you can. This way you can gauge in the comfort of your own home what fits you best.
Remember you want to look your best, we all do, and that has nothing to do with the retailers number system. I have sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12 in my wardrobe and i wear all of them because they fit me, i no longer care what the tag says and just go by how they look, fit and feel.
Ditch the labelling ladies! You will be a damn site happier for it i promise you.