Are High-street Clothing Stores Damaging How We View Ourselves?

Recently, I’ve been really down about shopping and in all honesty (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I’ve really lost my love for shopping, simply because every store I go into and try items on, they’re too small or too big, or you’re on size in one store and a different size in another. It’s really frustrating and quite honestly, It’s really damaging how I view myself. 

Until this year, I hadn’t really had curves or had a difficult body to dress. I always knew what size I was and I just generally didn’t really have many issues with finding clothes that fitted me well. Obviously, I’m 22 now and although I eat fairly healthy and work out a few times a week, bodies change as you age, it’s all part of being a women. 

Although our bodies change, that still doesn’t explain the inconsistency with sizing across the high-street, so let’s get our magnifying glasses out a jump into why we can be a size 8 in one store and a size 12 in another…

Lately, I’ve been watching a handful of YouTube videos that basically consists of women trying on the ‘same size’ jeans from a bunch of high-street stores and seeing how they fit and which pairs are worth the money across popular high-street stores. Although these videos are entertaining to watch and the girls take it all super light-hearted when they can’t get a pair of jeans past their knees, however, it just solidifies how brands aren’t consistent with the sizing and it’s got me thinking, what size am i? 

It’s been all over social media over the past few months that H&M have been bombarded with complaints about their sizes for the past few years. Resulting in angry shoppers taking to social media to call the brand out for their sizes coming up abnormally small, resulting in women feeling confused and negative about themselves. 

“Femail has analysed the size charts of multiple high street brands and found variations of up to four inches on the waist of size 10 trousers. For instance, a size 10 from John Lewis’ own label is equal to a 26in waist according to the brand’s size chart, whereas Sainsbury’s reckons the perfect 10 equals 30in.”

– Siofra Brennan, Mail Online

There’s this whole stigma or being ‘either or’. We’re expected to be like a runway model, or curvy and confident, it seems there’s no in-between in the magazines, never-mind in the high-street stores that these apparent ‘real women’ are thought to be shopping at. Although I appreciate how certain brands are becoming more inclusive in how they market their clothing, which is incredible. I loved River Island ‘Labels are for clothes’ campaign which featured a wide spectrum of people, looking bloody amazing and showing the world that they’re not to be defined. However, although these marketing campaigns are all fine and dandy, at the end of the day they’re campaigns to get people talking and clicking and buying. Speaking from experience, I’ve not noticed any changes in the sizes in store, in the mannequins, in store posters or the visual merchandising. Although there’s people out there who truly struggle to feel accepted, when walking into store, I’m not sure they would feel any different whether they watched the advertisement or not. 

Recently, whilst shopping in Primark (which is SO good at the minute by the way) I noticed that they changed their labels to ‘improved sizing’ and some of their clothing have completed got rid of the 8,10,12 sizing and swapped it to XXS,XS,S,M etc. I’m not sure whether I’m in the minority here, but I’d rather not be considered Large for being a size 12-14, I’d simply rather be a number that being considered ‘large’. I don’t think it’s how we label the clothing sizes that’s the problem, it’s how the inconsistency in sizing makes us feel and how people with various body-shapes are made to feel as though they cannot shop in certain places or wear certain items of clothing because of how they’re made to feel. 

I took to Instagram because I wanted to know whether or not this whole perception was just in my head and I’d actually just been gaining weight and losing weight ridiculously fast. I’m honestly so shocked by the response I received, some people said that they’re made to feel abnormal and some people said there’s only certain stores that they notice that the sizing is off. I thought I’d share some of the response that some lovely ladies sent in, I’m not going to be naming names, just as people deserve their privacy and the fact that some of you have opened up on how you feel when shopping and trying on clothes was so heartbreaking because without sounding like a cheese ball, everyone who messaged me was so stunning and looked amazing in all of their photos and had such intelligent and informative points about this subject. 

How do the inconsistent sizes on the high-street make you feel? 

It makes me feel like shit !!! I went shopping for jeans the other day and had to try LITERALLY 14 pairs in 4 different sizes. 

Makes me feel awful, i’m a size 14-16 but when I had to buy a size 22 in H&M I nearly cried! 

Like genuinely makes me question how fast you can gain and lose weight. This is ridiculous but I have been able to wear size 4 before today and then in others I’m a large or a 12! It makes no sense! 

Like a fat piece of shite

That I’m the problem! That my body shape must be abnormal 

Clothing with bigger boobs in mind just don’t seem to exist on the high St 

Doesn’t bother me as size isn’t the most important thing, if I like the product, I will buy it. 

When I’m in a good mood It’s really fucking annoying. When I’m in a bad mood it can be pretty upsetting 

Over the past couple of months, so many brands have come forward to the press and stated that they’re working on adjusting their sizing to ‘real’ women. Some of the UK’s biggest high-street brands such as ASOS, Next & River Island have begun working with The University Of Hertfordshire on the project to get sort out the high-street sizing crisis. The research will consist of taking photographs of 300,000 women using 3D technology to start making shopping on the high-street easier for it’s consumers. (Rachel Moss, huffingtonpost.co.uk, 2018)  

Let’s just hope that over the next year or so we start seeing a positive change in the high-street clothing sizes and start to feel better about the bodies that we’ve been blessed with! 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, whether you agree or not! Tweet me, instagram me, leave a comment, or whatever you fancy, I’m really interested to read what you think! 

Until next time x 

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