Clothes sizes seem to mean nothing. From shop to shop sizes vary significantly, leaving me wondering whether there’s a need for standardised sizing, or maybe a re-think of clothes sizing altogether…
Last week, a frustrated shopper took to Facebook to complain about clothes sizing in H&M. Lowri Byrne found that despite being a size 12, she couldn’t fit into a size 16 dress in H&M’s Plymouth store.
And I couldn’t help but empathise.
Clothes size lottery
Commenting on my shape, an outdoor pursuits instructor in the Austrian Alps once charmingly told me: ‘We have no wetsuits to fit you. The thing is, you have, as we say in Austria, too much wood at the front of your house’, so I also find it a real struggle to find clothes that fit properly.
With tops, they’re either that little bit too tight or so baggy they would need taking in. And I find that dresses that fit my top half often look like I’m wearing a tent on my bottom half.
Frustratingly, sizes are rarely consistent from brand to brand. In one shop, I’ll be more or less a 14 on top; 12 on bottom. In another, I could be a 16 or even an 18. Then in those that are more generous with their sizes, I’ll come out with size 10 bottoms or size 12 tops/dresses.
If I haven’t bought clothes from a shop before, I’ll find myself taking in at least two sizes into the changing room, just to get something that vaguely fits.
And I’ve all but given up online clothes shopping because it gets expensive when you have to order multiples of everything.
A spokesperson from H&M responded to Lowri’s plea, stating:
‘It is only ever our intention to design and make clothes that make our customers feel good about themselves, any other outcome is neither intended nor desired.
‘H&M’s sizes are global and the sizes offered in the UK are the same in all the 66 markets in which we operate in and online. As there is no global mandatory sizing standard, sizes will differ between brands and different markets.
‘Our dedicated, in-house sizing department works according to an average of the sizes and measurements suggested by the markets we operate in. H&M sizes are continually reviewed by our in-house sizing department.’
Now, I realise these brands have probably determined sizes to suit their customer base, but surely it makes more sense if a size 12 in one shop is also a size 12 in another?
Once sizing is standardised, why not introduce in-between sizes? For example, instead of the too-tight size 14 and too-baggy size 16, you’d have a size 15 that was just right. Or, for men, have odd sizes, such as 35, 37, 39, etc.
I definitely appreciate the half sizes you get in some shoe shops (I’m a 4.5), so I reckon there must be loads of in-betweeners like me who aren’t catered for.
Failing that, more stores could offer free tailoring. That way, you could have those tailor’s tacks put in without having to spend a fortune on alterations, or even waste your evenings and weekends altering clothes yourself.
Do you struggle to find clothes that fit properly? Should sizes be standardised? Would you find in-between sizes useful? Or do you have another solution?