Friday, 10 January 2014

What size are your clothes??? If you're worried about it you need to read this!

I am writing this because I overheard a conversation in an opportunity shop while I was browsing the other day and it really made me think...especially my reaction to the conversation. I didn't contribute to the discussion, but listened and observed with some shock the silent contribution I made in my own head. It's made me think about how often many of us probably do that without questioning where our thoughts came from or whether they deserve to be checked out a bit more thoroughly before accepting them as okay to think! The conversation went something like this...not verbatim, but close enough for the purpose of this writing. 

"I wear a size 14 usually but now when you buy a 14 they are so small."
"It's those Asians. It's alright for them. They make them to fit them and they're all so small.They look at our clothes when they make them and think they're HUGE."  
"The only place that gets the sizing right now is Autograph. They have good sizing. They're the only ones that do it right now. With them a 14 is a 14." 
"What I'm wearing here is a 16!! I never wear a 16 but that's what I had to buy for it to fit me."
 ...and so on.

Well I surprised myself by thinking smugly to myself...(yes, smugly...eek)

"Autograph sizes are bigger than normal sizes. They make them bigger and put the sizes smaller so that people feel better about being big...silly woman.You're kidding yourself."

Oh dear. Yes, I thought pretty much what I've written there. You might have thought similar when you read the conversation, especially if you're familiar with Autograph. I am. I buy clothes there sometimes and in some items their 14s are a good fit for me. In others not so much.

What struck me about this whole conversation and my silent appraisal and judgement of the woman who spoke about Autograph's sizing was just how ridiculously silly it all is. Yes, absolutely crazy silly. What do all these 'sizes' mean and what do we take them to mean? In my experience it seems that much of the sizing is almost arbitrary and often seems to be unique to a particular brand. Some clothing manufacturers seem to work to certain body types and thus a certain size seems to be just right. Then to try and wear the same size in some other brand is a total misfit and I know that this can send women (and men? I don't know...) into such a spin. They think they need to lose weight or squeeze themselves into a smaller size to be valued as a human being.

We have been thoroughly conned people. We have been brainwashed. How often have you read in a magazine that someone lost so many kilos and 'dropped three dress sizes'. What the hell does that mean? It's time to question this stuff. Was it three Just Jeans dress sizes or three Target dress sizes or three Ishka dress sizes or three Collette Dinnegan dress sizes or three Autograph dress sizes...and who cares anyway really?? Celebrate that the person has created a healthier life for themselves. Celebrate that they've had to buy some new clothes and they are happy to be doing that and feel more confident and energetic but stop telling us about the dress sizes. 

This is what sizes are about. Listen carefully. Read carefully. 

Sizes on clothing and footwear are a GUIDE to choosing something that will fit you. They are not absolutes. As the women talking in the opportunity shop discussed, sizes are not consistent from one manufacturer (or even one style) to another. The numbers are on the clothes to give you a rough idea where to start trying things on. That's it. It stops you from starting at the front of the rack and trying on every dress/jeans/shirt/skirt until you find one that fits!

It's time to take our power back and know that when we look for clothing to buy we are looking for something THAT FITS US not something with a particular number on the label. Does that make sense to you? Cut the labels off when you get them home and FORGET what size you bought because it doesn't matter a bit. What matters is that the clothes FIT YOU. It matters that you think they LOOK RIGHT for you and convey YOUR PARTICULAR STYLE. It doesn't matter a hoot if you've got pants that had size 20 on the label and a shirt that had size 16 on the label and a jacket that had size 12 on the label. Cut the rotten labels off and be happy that you have found clothes that fit you, that are comfortable and that look good on you. That's all you need right? If the 'sizes' are so inconsistent across brands and styles then I contend that they are not 'sizes' at all and are in fact just numbers. That's how I'd like you to think if you've struggled with this in the past. Let's get rid of this stupid notion that our worth is defined somehow by the number on our clothes!

Okay, next time you are out shopping I want you to take this mantra with you...
...and don't worry about what number is on the label of what you find that fits you well. Buy the thing, cut the label off and get rid of it. Let go of the idea that the number matters or judges you or shames you or demands something of you. It's all in your head...put there by social conditioning and marketers. It's time to let it go people! Let go of all that 'size' rubbish that's in your head and be free to smile again. And next time someone proudly announces that they fitted into a 12 you will know they haven't figured this stuff out yet (so you're way ahead) and you can tell them that 12 is not a's a number. Then you'll probably have something to talk about. Cheers and hugs and happy shopping!!

PS Keep in mind that the numbering systems vary not just from brand to brand but also from country to wonder it has us all floundering and in a flap. But now that won't have to happen to you any more. Oh, and if someone asks you what size your label-free jacket can say size? Well, it's me-sized. It fits me!


  1. ha Kerry. you go girl! sizes are so silly. A friend of a friend of mine who is a model said that she buys all her underpants a size bigger than her 'proper' size so that they are really comfortable. I tried it and I'm completely converted. So much better! Most of the clothes I buy I end up modifying in some way ie if they're too tight around the waistband bit but fit fine everywhere else, I just cut the waistband and sew in a panel so that it's comfy. No more muffin top!! woo hooo!

    1. Thanks Karin for passing on those handy hints! Love xox

  2. It's so true! I know people (women in particular) get very caught up about sizing but like everything else - it's just a number. Besides, tops with buttons gaping open across the bust and skirts that wrinkle and ride up are never a good (or comfortable) look, don’t squeeze yourself into something just because you don’t want to go up a size!

    Esther x

    1. I so agree with you Esther. One of my bosses wore shirts with gaping buttons and it really undermined her professionalism. People do take notice of how you dress and make opinions based on that. Sad in some ways, but true.