Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Clothing Sizing Issues Part II: Comparing the High Street

It seems Choice's recent article on the inconsistencies in sizing within the Australian fashion industry struck a chord with many of you. The more people that speak up, the more chance there is of something being done about it! Kelly at Nevershoppedout has just posted her thoughts on the issue, noting that Kate Browne's experimental shopping trip is simply a normal experience for many of us. From chain stores to designers, those in control have been avoiding the issue, it seems, for far too long.....

Today I received a package from Sportsgirl. As you probably know, I shop far too much online but as I fit into the 'average' body shape designers tailor to, I have not really had any issues with sizing. This article made me stop for a second as I ripped the tags off my new peach top (yes, peach. Just like my mum's bridesmaid dresses 25 years ago. But for some reason, it's cool again. Promise.) - nowhere in any of my ventures around the Sportsgirl site do I recall seeing a sizing chart. But, thankfully they do have one - you have to go into "shop" and then it's a little link along the bottom - and it is quite thorough. Success!

So I navigated over to Witchery, another regular on my click-list. Again, a decent sizing chart is available along the bottom. Just Jeans offers a 'Denim Fit Guide' which doesn't offer measurements, just a few words in a teen-friendly font on what each cut entails. Once you're in the shop part of their site, you can access a sizing chart for fashion items and all their denim except, not suprisingly, their own Just Jeans brand. Denim brands are notorious for guarding their measurements, which are usually the result of months of research, fitting and testing.

I just got scared witless when the Supre website opened in another window. It seems pounding your eardrums instore doesn't satiate their desire to penetrate every one of your pores with repetitive candy pop. The front page is an ocular atrocity of leggings-as-pants, but thankfully each product has a size chart...even if 3XS looks like some absurd mathematical formula. I couldn't find a size chart for ValleyGirl, but shipping is the same price as the average worth of their items ($10) so I'm not totally sure it's worth bothering with their online shop. (ooh, snarky!) French Connection have an easily accessible size chart, as do Bardot, Barkins and Sass & Bide (standard fashion items only).

The crucial question is not if they are readily available, but how do they compare? Check out this nifty chart I made up comparing size 12's (I'll fix that and make it bigger):

Basically, you can see a 9cm variation in hips, 6cm around the bust and a whopping 14cm at the waist! You'd expect Supre, for example, to be smaller than Barkins, given their target markets. But according to these size charts, and assuming it's reasonable for the same customer to shop at French Connection and Witchery, you wouldn't expect to encounter a 6cm minimum difference in waist measurements. No wonder women everywhere are throwing their arms up in despair and going home empty-handed. Sure, we're meant to be cutting back on our spending, but that should be a feel-good choice rather than a forced neccessity! Will anything be done about it? Watch this space...

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