Eight weeks after I gave birth to The Wilburbeast, still in maternity trousers and nudging my heaviest weight ever, I decided enough was enough and I embarked upon a diet. I joined Slimming World, and lost almost 2.5 stone. I’m proud to say I have kept the weight off since I reached my target weight in December 2011. I’m now a healthy weight for my height, my BMI is normal and my waist measurement no longer points to high risk for heart disease. I also have tons more energy and I actually like the body I see in the mirror. Ok, I’m a TOTALLY different shape from my pre-baby body, I carry my fat in different places…. But I kinda like that, its like a badge of honor – hell, my body is clever, and I have two beautiful children to show for it!
The problem I now have is that I have no idea what clothes size I actually am! It seems to vary widely from shop to shop, one manufacturer’s 14 is another’s 10! I’ve even bought the SAME size pair of trousers in one shop in two different colours only to find one fitted and one didn’t! Given my new measurements – I come out as roughly a size 12. However, having trawled the size guides published online by my five favourite retailers (making up 95% of my wardrobe) online, I have discovered that the measurements for a “standard” size 12 can vary by as much as 2 inches from shop to shop. 2 inches is a WHOLE SIZE! In practice this means I must try on clothes in several sizes before buying, and renders online shopping on a whim almost impossible! I have gotten to know my favourite retailers well, and know how their clothes fit, and can judge my size; despite the gargantuan differences on paper I nearly always wear a 12.
In order to find your size across major retailers visit this site What Size Am I armed with your vital statitics.
And now we have the problem of so-called “vanity sizing”, where shops have surreptitiously made clothes sizes bigger. Therefore what was once a 12 is now labelled as a 10. Not only does this belittle the achievements of people like me who have worked hard to lose weight and achieve a certain size, but also adds to the confusion! Now, I don’t buy into the vanity-sizing idea. My reasoning for this is that yes, sizes have changed since the 1950’s – but this is because women’s shapes have changed. We are taller, broader and bustier than we were in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and retailers have altered their sizing to reflect this. It is not only the actual measurements that have changed – but also the cut of garments. Each retailer has their own style and cut of clothing as well, which also goes some way to explaining why I can be a comfortable size 12 in one shop, but in another I may need a 10 or a 14 – it all depends on the cut. Some shops favour petite ladies, some cater more to ladies with hips and bums and some shops clearly have a “one size fits none” policy!
The question I ask is this…. Why do we care so much what the size label in our clothes says?
I mean it’s not as if we display this label to everyone, unless you wear your clothes inside out. The only person who sees the label is you - and if you're happy with your body, but you don't like what the label says, then CUT IT OUT !