The Size Issue

Since this blog tends to not involve longer articles and are more along the short-and-sweet-and-pretty-pictures posts. However, I felt I couldn't just write down my thoughts about this with just one short paragraph; so here's my issue of the day - shop sizing. I know lots of other bloggers have written about this topic but I just wanted to get my opinion in there, and where is better then my blog to write about these kind of things?

As you may have seen written in my sidebar, I define myself as a size 16-18. However, within my wardrobe there are clothes in anything from a size 12 to a 18 - and this can just be from one shop! New Look in particular I find has huge troubles with consistency. I have size 18 dresses from there that fit just fine, size 18's that are too big on the bust and too small on the waist, and size 18's that are too big on the waist and small on the bust. My measurements are 36C bust, 34-5" waist, and it doesn't seem to matter what sizes are defined as on a website or in store; according to the ASOS, Monsoon, New Look, Peacocks, Next, River Island and Topshop website size guides there is no way I would fit into their 16 at all but this is patently not true, since I have worn size 14's from all these shops at some point.

Now, it would be easier to excuse this blatant level of inaccuracy in regards to sizing if there was a huge variety in what I wear. However, anyone who reads my blog and sees my outfit posts knows I have a pretty specific method of dressing, and dresses that can be the same style in different patterns fit me entirely differently. Does this irritate anyone else?! I find it pretty ridiculous that I can't go into a shop, pick up the size I know I am and buy that item. I can understand that in that case some people will be unable to agree with me; after all, what if sizing were consistent and therefore those with thinner thighs/larger stomaches/larger or smaller busts within one size were unable to ever purchase something that should fit them? It's a pretty big dilemma to consider, but there could still be a slightly higher level of consistency that doesn't result in me having to take 5 different sizes with me to the changing rooms every time. H&M and Dorothy Perkins tend to be absolutely tiny, and size 18 in New Look is too small in the waist whilst the 'inspire' 18 is like a tent. I have no idea what my true size would be!

One of the types of clothing I have a huge amount of trouble with is anything on the 'alternative' side of fashion, in which sizing generally goes in the XS-XL format. This would not be a problem were an average size set for this size. But an XL in just one brand - for example Criminal Damage or Hell Bunny - could fit a size 12 at full stretch or a size 20. Any rockabilly/alternative brands (read: most things in TK Maxx also) seem to have a huge issue with this and I wonder if it's just something to do with the lack of readily available and low-price choice that leads them to be slack with sizing.

I know this was a pretty big essay of a post to read and I'm really pleased if you got through that whole ream of text without closing your browser! What's your opinion on clothes sizing? Have you had any issues, or are you happy with how is it now?


  1. i so agree - some shops are shocking with their lack of consistency, h&m drives me mad, as well as making me feel like a total whale, and primark is unbelievably hit and miss with their sizing!

  2. I have a massive problem with this too! I wrote a post about it actually, I'll just go through my archives and find it...
    I think it's even got worse since i wrote this too. For example, I had to buy a swimsuit off a website recently and I fitted the measurements for the 8 but they said to size up at least one size if not 2 because they were tight fitting, but neither 10 nor 12 were in stock so I got the 8, but I spoke to the company and told them what had happened, and they insisted I should have got a 12 and were 100% sure the 8 wouldn't fit fits perfectly...crazy! Because of the whole vanity sizing thing, I can wear a modern size 6 which sounds so tiny but I'm not tiny!! But my measurements would have fitted a vintage 12 or 14. Just crazy really!
    So glad you did this post =D

  3. I know how you feel!! I wish they'd change things...
    I have the exact same problems as you.
    Im usually about a size 12? but I can get into anything from a size 8 to a 14 (sometimes a 16!?)
    It makes shopping a pain after like 2 stores.
    Most of my problems come from finding pants/shorts ...when I go with my mom, she usually tells me to take my usual size, a size smaller and a size bigger. (this way I don't have to keep running back and forth)

  4. Preach it!

    Two things that have bothered me and several of my larger friends lately- the Tripp NYC punk brand. Even 15s, if you can possibly find them which is rare, wouldn't shimmy up my legs but I am not that big! Also I agree with you on H&M. I would drop a shitload of money in that store if anything would freakin' fit me. Two summers ago they had neon skinny jeans and a 14 was still too small? Bullshit. I call freakin' bullshit.

    Sorry. Didn't mean to rant. Excellent post.

  5. I hear ya. Sometimes when I go shopping I'll try something on that fits and it'll be a size 12. I think 'oh my GOD I am a sexbomb'. I then go to the next shop and a size 16 will barely fit me. I then get pissed off and have to go home. I wouldn't mind if I was a 16. Like yourself, I'd just like to KNOW what I am!
    Also, I know it would cost more to do this but... Wouldn't it be great if more shops would do half sizes? Like 13, 15 etc? When 12 is too tight and 14 is too big etc...

  6. This is always an issue for me as well. There's no continuity in the sizing of clothes and it's really annoying. Sometimes I'll just go out on a whim and pick something up in a store that is my size and not try it on and just buy it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. There should be a universal size guide to make things so much easier considering that fact that most people shop online now and we can't try the clothes on before we purchase them. I could go on forever about this :)

  7. H&M drive me demented with their sizing. I wrote about it a few weeks ago -

    I don't mind a bit of variety as I know that different cuts in clothes can mean that something that's designed to be, for example, a baggy shirt in a size 10 can actually be a nicely fitting top on a size 14 person. Even so though, I don't always have time when I shop to try everything on so a bit of consistency would be lovely!

  8. I'm usually a 10 on top, and a 12 on the bottom, which means I generally buy dresses in a 12. But even in the same shop the sizes can be way out - today I had to exchange a size 12 Oasis dress which was huge all over for a 10 which fits perfectly, whereas I have umpteen other size 12 frocks from there which fit great. Part of my problem is being too lazy to try stuff on! (And then occasionally too lazy to return it within the 28 days if it doesn't fit - whoops!)

  9. Oh yeah sizing is an issue...I don't live in the UK but do only like UK stores for clothing as they stores here don't have anything I like + I don't like shopping in "real" stores anyway. So this means shippingcosts...and LOTS OF IT, back and forth. Very frustrating when you then get the garment and it doesn't fit, I usually send it back for a refund not bothering to get a size larger/smaller because of the risk it might not fit again costing me even more money. I'm usually a size 14-16 with a large bust. I read labels very carefully, if a fabric has no stretch I'll get a 16. And I study the shape of the garment very carefully aswell...but this doesn't always help, still often happens that things are way to big or to small :( Topshop and New Look are notorious for me. Asos and Miss Selfridge are ok. Dorothy Perkins I'm not sure because I've only had UTTAM stuff from there and the size L is spot on for me, got a maxi dress and maxi skirt from them and they´re perfection! Even in length and I'm 5'3 so that´s saying something haha most maxi anything is craaaaaaaaaaazy long :P

  10. Yep, I know exactly how you feel. There are items in my wardrobe ranging S-XXL and also 12-18 in the UK sizing. What bother me probably the most are Primark skirts in particular. I have 3 of them in 18. One fits me perfectly. The other one is so so, bit too tight but still wearable. And the third one I only zip up when fully exhaled. And they are all 18. I was curious how that was possible so I put them one on each other and the waist measurements really were different. The "largest one" and the "smallest one" differ in about 4 cm! And that's a lot, considering it's the same size, it's just hilarious.

    And I understand the dress problem as well. Have 16 dresses from Primark that fits me perfectly, have 18 dresses that are slightly bigger, which would be kind of logical. But I also have 16 dresses that have too large waist but too little bust and also 18 dresses that I barely fit in.

    Sometimes it really bothers me, especially when I buy most of my clothes via eBay now. Sometimes it seems just like playing a lottery :D I don't even care about sizes that much when thrifting and just grab the pieces I like. Sometimes it turns out that even a 12 top fits me perfectly :)

  11. Its a global problem!! The other day a friend asked me my size (she had a pattern that she thought we could use to make me a dress) I said umm...12 or 14 or 16....we then decided it was best just to get measurements:P It makes me crazy!

  12. I am always quite confused with sizing. My closet literally contains clothes from a small to an 3x. For me I don't see it as a certain store (although I almost never shop "new") it's more of the garment. An oversize tee, I can get away with a small size. While something like tank top, I gotta go with a really big size in order for it to fit.
    I do mostly all second hand shopping and I don't go by "sizes" I just eyeball it. If it looks like it will fit (regardless of the number on the tag) then I go for it. It's never steered me wrong!

    When shopping online or in a real store.. ha, can't help you! I'm pretty sure I'm a true 18 because my measurements consistently match up with it on charts, but I don't know for sure.

    Gosh, clothes are fun to wear but difficult to shop for!

  13. Ugh, i have sizing issues too. I hate that sizing discrepencies are sovaried across stores, in next the sizing is huge, Im an 8 there but a 12 in topshop! And h&m, srsly, i have dresses from there a size 8,10&12. Ithink itsto do with where the dresses are made, a lot from there are from thailand and turkey.

  14. Totally agree with everything you said!
    I wouldn't mind so much if it was store dependent, but my size can change between 3 sizes in the same store. On top of that it seems to depend on the style of the clothing. I have a large bust so I have to decide whether it is even worth trying on some dresses, if they fit my bust they tend to be massive in the waist, but then other dresses fit fine! The least said about jean sizing the better, jean shopping is a form of torture :P xx

  15. I agree in fact a wrote a post about it last week..

    I have clothes that range from a 12 -2O. m - xl. all fitting differently if i was asked my size i would have to say i honestly don' know!

  16. it's a fucking nightmare. every time i go shopping i have to get the same thing in at least two different sizes (if not 3) to try one, and i pretty much never ever buy anything online, unless it's something that doesn't matter if it doesn't fit quite right.
    though i think part of my problem is that my bottom is about 2 sizes bigger than my top :/ well sort of, i've still got big-ish arms and shoulders i just have hardly any boobage...

    xxxx tukru

  17. I can totally relate to this - it must be a problem everywhere, for girls of all sizes. I'm tiny, and I find that size 6 here in Australia generally fits me fine, no matter what the brand or style. In UK brands I think I'm somewhere between a 6 and an 8. But American sizes are the ones that cause me real problems. I've found out the hard way that I'm sized out of Kate Spade (a 0 there is about 2 sizes too big for me!), I'm a 0 at BCBG, a 2 at Betsey Johnson, and sometimes even a 4 at H&M and Club Monaco! It makes it hard to shop online for clothes, so I try to rely on measurements rather than clothing sizes (although they aren't always reliable either!).

  18. Oh I hate hate hate sizes!
    I have no idea what size I am anymore, maybe a 10 or 12... but I have a size 16-18 jumper from H&M that fits nicely, and Penneys things ranging from 8 to 14. H&M is the worst I've ever found for sizing! They undersize a lot, and make you feel terrible when you try things on and they're ridiculously small. =[

    My main problem is that I'm too lazy to try things and I do the *holds it up and looks in a mirror* thing. I usually get things that'll fit or be too big though, so I can just take them in a little myself, because I really don't like returning things. =]


I adore getting comments, if you leave me one you are officially an awesome person, and I do my best to reply to most. If you want to ask me a question feel free to email or contact me on twitter, at @blarglefargle ♥