Why am I not the same size in every shop?

Why are women's clothing sizes so different in seemingly every shop you go to? Do they realise the effects this can have on our confidence?

Why am I not the same size in every shop?

Many women’s wardrobes contain clothes in a wide variety of sizes, but why? Why are there no universally accepted sizes that all clothing retailers have to stick to? I am just as confused by it as everyone else, but I am also very curious to find out. 

Nowadays, it’s becoming more challenging to find one singular size to buy your clothes in, and more like having one size that fits you in each different shop. It has made it increasingly difficult to buy clothes online too – and nobody likes sending clothes back. 

Allow me to take you back to where it began: men. Clothing sizes were initially introduced for men's uniforms, and it was proving difficult to find a standard number for women's bodies and the measure they decided upon was not very accurate. 

In 1983 ‘vanity sizing’ emerged. What is vanity sizing you ask? Well, it’s when the size of an item of clothing is lowered artificially to appeal more to the target market, resulting in more purchases. Each brand of clothing decides who its target market is, and resultantly how they size their clothing in order to appeal to the said target market. They do this to achieve higher amounts of sales and lower amounts of returns. So when you hear someone say “it’s not you, it’s the industry,” they’re right. 

Now, I know this may make sense to some business owners, but what about how it makes shoppers feel? Speaking from experience, it can feel awful. I, like many women, have had my entire day ruined because a pair of jeans I bought that day didn’t fit when I got home, despite them being the typical size I would go for. Now you may be thinking “that’s a bit dramatic”, and maybe it is, but it is, unfortunately, a widespread experience for women that wouldn’t even happen if one shop’s size 10 was not another one's size 16. My personal wardrobe stretches from a size 8 to a size 16, which is quite a big difference, and many more women will have a broader range of sizes in their wardrobes. 

Please don’t confuse me with someone saying that being a bigger size is ‘bad’ because it’s not in the slightest. What I am saying is that being at least 3 or more different sizes in clothing is, at the bare minimum, confusing and distorts the views we have on our own bodies. 

If we didn’t know before, we now know that many clothing brands are not overly bothered about what we feel if their products do not fit us, and realistically, those types of changes take a lot of time. So what can we do to help ourselves instead of waiting for the big brands to change their sizing? I know it can be daunting, but regardless of this issue, self-love is a must. Take some time out of your day to make yourself feel nice by doing something to make you happy. Whether that is putting on a face mask, having a shower, journaling, going for a walk, or telling yourself 3 things you love about yourself, do it! Taking good care of our minds and bodies is vital to our happiness and overall well-being, even if it is something as small as remembering to have a glass of water to stay hydrated. 

We are all beautiful and all deserve to feel confident and happy, so if you don’t already, let’s start relying on ourselves for that happiness, instead of waiting on others to change their ways. Remember that clothes were made to fit us, not the other way around; “It’s not you, it’s the industry.”

Header Image Credit: Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash


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