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The Issue about Sizing

Size 12 & 5 different variations in body shape, scale & height

The Issue about Sizing

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Why are you never the same size in different designers, retailers and shops?

You think of yourself a 12, but may somewhere else you're a 10 or a 14?! How is that possible? Retailers and designers want to make you feel better about yourself by putting a smaller size on the label than the true size. This inconsistency of sizing is a well used method to sell more clothes and to create loyalty which keeps you coming back to them.

Unfortunately we the shoppers, have incorporated the haggling and negotiating in sizing into our shopping experience. We prefer to shop in places that tell us we are a size smaller than we actually are and avoid places that confront us with our real size. We let ourselves be “conned" because we want to feel better about ourselves. So, in truth, it has nothing to do with being blinded by not knowing – we accept the lie willingly as long as it doesn't stretch the truth too far.

But if all of a sudden you're two sizes smaller in one shop than you normally are, you the shopper will start to get suspicious and will think instead that the shop has a problem with its sizing, tailoring and knowing the customer. As a result you'll start to stay away from these shops, because you feel they're not serious about clothes and their target audience.

Designer labels also have the problem of inconsistent sizing, albeit for very different reasons than High Street retailers. The reason is simply that designers only want to see thin people wearing their clothes. It is their way of keeping bigger people out of their shops, because big people wearing your clothes is not good for the brand's image.

So, why do get stores and designers away with this inconsistency in sizing? Simply because clothing sizes in the UK have never and still are not standardized. There is so far no universal sizing system, so retailers, designers and the High Street are at liberty to decide the sizes they want.

The problem with unifying sizing is that even people with identical measurements may have completely different body shapes, scales and proportions and therefore have different requirements from your clothing line. So, retailers argue they need to have an idealised shopper in the same way as designers have their "muse" who inspire them to create their next collection or who they want to wear the collection.

Right now size is not representative of a measurement of the body, it merely reflects the average of a certain demographic of their ideal shopper or target audience. This relationship between size and demographic is the reason why certain sizes differ. For example a 12 at Jigsaw or M & S is bigger than a 12 at Zara or Massimo Dutti. They are aiming for older customers whereas Zara's core customers are younger, shorter and more petite in build.

The feel good factor of being a smaller size is an effective sales technique for retailers and shops - shopping is such an emotionally driven activity, so making you feel good is a priority for retailers – ultimately that will decide whether you buy the garment or not!

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