Sizing, why isn’t it standard across shops

(Disclaimer – This article is not about how sizing causes body issues, which is does, we’ll be tackling that in another blog article)

If there is one complaint I hear a lot its why are sizes different in each shop, in extreme cases I’ve heard of variation of up to four sizes on one trip. A friend went out and found she was a size 10 for a dress she tried on, but on the same shopping trip down the High Street she had to try a size 16 elsewhere.

This creates a huge problem, you can’t dash in and grab something without trying it on unless your used to the sizes in that store so you have an idea, and also ordering online becomes a lottery where you can’t get a last minute item as it may have to go back. The problem is all down to vanity sizing according to some. Shops either increase or decrease the size depending on what they want to convey. It allows stores to make shoppers feel good by buying a size lower than they are for instance, or the reverse, they claim its a size bigger so they can say they are catering for more body types when they are actually only interested in a certain type of customer. We however are yet to see definitive proof of either of these so we offer them as theories not undisputed fact (that’ll keep they lawyers happy)

In doing our research for this article though we came across an app called What Size Am I, that claims there can be up to a 4 inch difference on hip measurements between the various High Street brands.

The problem is there are very few laws governing clothes sizing.

If you buy food or drink as an example there are very strict laws about weights and measurements that have an enforcement team to go round making sure companies are sticking to them. You are protected so that your pint of beer is exactly a pint, your steak advertised as a 12oz uncooked weight is 12oz before its grilled. The fines for breaking the Weights & Measures act can be huge fines or in serious cases prison and they are calculated per item.

This logic needs to be applied to clothing. The consumer should be able to avoid the hassle of returns, trips to return items, and in the case of a lot of sale items not being able to return at all. We want the size of clothes set in stone with supporting legislation. Consumers should have the confidence of standard sizing, is it to much to ask that you should know what your buying without having to queue for a changing room, is it to much to ask that you can run into a shop and grab that must have, is it to much to ask that the perfect pair of jeans you saw online and had to have fits when you get your delivery. We here at FW think its the least we should be offered.

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments


  1. *Applauds* This is my absolute, number one, get on my nerves pet peeve with the high street. I’ve been know to be different sizes it the same shop!!! They really need to sort it out. Great Post xx

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