Size vs Fit

This weekend I had a conversation about wearing a bigger size of clothes than you think you are. Getting over the mental block that says “but… this is my size”, and makes you continue to wear clothes which are too tight because of your pride, is a tricky thing indeed. Many women do this and I completely understand, but I got over it and I’d like to try and help others get past this too. Last year, I wrote about why size is just a number and I think that it’s a subject worth covering again. Because a number on a label shouldn’t determine how you feel about yourself. A number on a label shouldn’t control your mood. In theory, all that number should do is make it easier to buy clothes.

Sadly, these days it doesn’t. Many women are obsessed with a strange numbers game which makes no sense because a) size 14 in one shop is not exactly the same as a 14 from any other retailer, and b) smaller is not necessarily better. Clothes are supposed to fit well and feel good, not to gape, dig in or ride up. The size that’s right for you is the one which fits, not the one that has specific digits on the label. Find a tape measure and then head to What Size Am I? armed with your bust waist and hip measurements. Are you the same size in every UK retailer’s clothes? No? I thought not. The number’s supposed to be a guideline so that you know which clothing to try on, but it’s even failing at that these days so why not just ignore it?

A great way to get used to ignoring size labels is to shop for second-hand or vintage items. A size 10 in 2012 is not the same as a size 10 was in the 1980s, or the 1960s, so it’s better to simply hold things up to your body to see if you think they might be worth trying on. In addition, one of the best places to shop on the high street if you are hung up on the number on the size label is Ted Baker. I have to go when their sale’s on but it’s well worth it as their clothes are fantastic and are sized 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. The skirts I have are Ted Baker size 3 and that means absolutely nothing to me other than “they fit”. More importantly, I have gorgeous vintage and high street outfits that draw compliments over and over again, but no one ever asks what size these items are. People notice when something fits well, and you’ll notice too, so try to trust that rather than some arbitrary digit. Trust me, it’s well worth the effort.

3 thoughts on “Size vs Fit

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  1. This makes no sense to me why sizes would be inconsistent. It doesn't help customers choosing or their self esteem! A retailer isn't doing themselves favours if they make people feel miserable about themselves.

    Is this an issue about industrial regulation? It does surprise me that a size 10 in the past would be different to no. I suspect there are lots of differences about lifestyle and other demographic issues over the decades.

    Sizing is a bit of an issue of pride and shame for me at times. In my view I think something more universal is helpful in measurements. When I'm buying a dress shirt I can be between 'medium' and 'large' (sometimes I'm Extra Large in Uniqlo) depending on the shop, in some places I am even a small (in Gap). This is totally unhelpful, but if I had a specific measure for neck and chest I know very specifically what I am. In short, I'm not against quantifying measures for clothes, I definately think having something well fitted looks good (whatever your shape or size), but an arbitrary standard is definately not good.

    The idea of a size 10 for women seems a bit normative, as if to say 'this is the standard against which you are judged'. I kind of feel that way if I fit better in a large than a medium sized item.

    Loving your posts this week, I'm reading them all at once đŸ™‚

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