On Reflection: Why should clothes sizes be such a gamble?

Picture: Getty ImagesPicture: Getty Images
Picture: Getty Images

I know I’m not alone in this, so feel that it’s time to share with you, the discerning readers of this newspaper.

What is it with clothing sizes these days? Why do they vary so widely from shop to shop?

I’m told it’s the same with online retailers too.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s definitely got worse. I’ve always varied slightly in size depending on which store I was making my purchase, but in the days when you could try things on before you brought them home, you could at least head to the changing room to check first.

Yes, the dreaded changing rooms. In a way, I don’t really miss them too much because I loathed having to go in them.

The lighting is often so bad you actually look like your passport photo; the curtain so flimsy that you accidentally ‘flashed’ the entire shop when you got entangled in it (or was that just me?!)

But at least you could try on the item, have a look in the most unflattering looking-glass since the House of Mirrors at the funfair, and decide if you would part with your hard-earned cash.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Now you have to take pot luck. You have a vague idea of what size you were before lockdown... ah, remember those pre-lockdown days, when ‘corona kilos’ were those you put on by drinking a Spanish lager or too much pop?

You pick a size, any size, you hold the item up to you, aware that you’re not supposed to touch anything too much these days lest you have the dreaded lurgy, and make the purchase.

Same applies for online, I guess. You estimate the size that you think you might be, having looked at a vague chart for some sort of guidance. When you try on the clothing, it’s too tight/small/big/not as described (delete as appropriate). Then you have to reverse the process and return it. In my case, queueing back at the shops; for others, in the Post Office, to obtain a proof of postage certificate.

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if all clothing sizes were properly standardised, no matter which retailer?

And please don’t get me started on the clothes hell that is the descriptions small, medium and large...

Related topics: