“I can’t expect to order the same size from two retailers because size exists in every brand’s universe,” says Telegraph columnist Emily Johnston. “I wear XXL at Zara, wide at H&M, 16 at Ralph Lauren and 18 at Boden. Everything is completely random and is only discovered by doing some serious legwork in the store or at home trying. My advice: don’t lose hope, just expect your shopping to become like a second job in order to get it right. »
One of the reasons we got into this frankly absurd situation is vanity sizing, which is rampant in the industry. Women’s bodies have changed dramatically since the 1950s, when factory-made fashion first became mainstream: in 1957, the average British woman was 5ft 2in, weighed 9th, was 3ft tall , a 28 inch waist and wore a 34B bra. Today she is 5ft 5in, weighs 11th, has size six shoes, a 34in waist and 36DD breasts – and the result is that an ‘average’ today looks very different from her. a “means” at the time. As bodies changed, brands began to realize that they were more likely to sell clothes if a woman could fit the size she wanted to be, rather than the size she wanted to be. was realistically – hence me, at 5ft 10in, being an XS at the next.
Although it’s the size inconsistencies that exist within each brand that are arguably even more infuriating. I visited a high street department store while researching this item and found a four inch difference in the waistband of the various mid-rise pants on sale. This leads to complete confusion for the customer and is something brands explain by saying that certain collections are designed to fit differently – the truth, however, is that global retailers now have such large chains of supply that half the time they don’t even know which size blocks are being used.
“It’s very frustrating, but it’s important to remember that retailers aren’t really doing this on purpose,” says Heather Tillier, tech brand manager True Fit (more on them later). “Brands mass produce and also make their clothes in a bunch of different factories around the world, so they don’t even have full control over the sizes they order. But they are now facing a lot of pushback – shoppers are very annoyed – so retailers know they need to find a solution. »