Don’t get me wrong, I’m a self confessed shopaholic – shamelessly. However, in recent months I’ve stopped buying clothes from a select few stores, and pretty much stopped going in those shops all together – and all for good reason. I’m sure the majority of you are aware of the current battle women are going through with regards to clothing sizes and how greatly they differ from brand to brand.
For the UK, the national average clothing size for a woman aged 16-24 is a UK size 14, which is perfectly fine (as is being any size bigger or smaller, but that’s not my argument here). Now, when relating my size to the national average, I’m much smaller. However, not according to sizes of some high street stores. I’ve been bumped up not one, not two and sometimes not even three sizes, but up to FOUR sizes bigger than my actual clothing size. How can these few stores have such different clothing sizes to other high street stores? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that. But what I can tell you, is the affect this is having, not just upon me, but on other young women nationwide.
Growing up, I struggled (and still do) with my weight, a lot. So, being an impressionable, fragile 17 year old and having to bump up to a size 20 in certain branded jeans tore my little heart to pieces. Countless times I can recall standing in the fitting rooms crying because I thought I had put on so much weight that I had ballooned 4 sizes bigger than I thought I was. And don’t get me started on trying to get my head around the whole European sizes and waist inches malarkey. I used to believe that I was so much bigger than what I should have been, bigger than all my other friends and that I must have been blinded thinking I was a similar size to them. That sort of self-conflict really messes with your mind, especially when you’re so young. It was only a few years later when I decided to try on a higher end pair of jeans – in my usual size – after another tearful trip to the high street that I started to realise the problem wasn’t with me, but the clothing itself was completely off because the more expensive ones, 4 sizes smaller, fit perfectly.
Thankfully, I now know my clothing stores enough, (and I should add that I tend to stick to the same few stores these days) that I know which size I am in which store, which is typically pretty consistent across the board but occasionally varying a size up or down. Now that I’m aware that each clothing brand has different guidelines, I stopped beating myself up about how I’m not ‘skinny’ enough to fit into certain clothes. Because, quite frankly, although I love some of the designs from these certain high street stores, (and I take nothing away from their creative designers) I’d just rather spend my money in a store which has a honest reflection of clothing sizes.
My point for this post is not to bash high street stores, but to make people aware that their sizes aren’t honest and true reflections of your body size, and you shouldn’t let that affect your image of yourself. If I’d known this back when I was a teenager it would have saved me a lot of self-hatred that I didn’t need. If you feel like you’re being made to be a bigger size than you actually are, please don’t take it to heart! No clothing brand should have the power to make you feel negatively about your body, you’re perfect just the way you are – regardless of stupid clothing sizes.
Let me know if you’ve also been affected by clothing sizes (tweet me @SweetlyShan) or any other clothing brands you feel are similar. And please remember, a size on a hanger doesn’t determine your value.