I always go into the dressing rooms of my favorite stores with six or more garments and leave with one, or oftentimes nothing at all. As I struggle in the dressing room to wiggle, pull, and suck in my tummy so that I can fit into the dress, shirt, or pants of my dreams, I become frustrated.
Shopping for clothes is a guessing game, and it always has been.
If I don’t fit into a large then why don’t I fit into an extra large either? Where do I even fit in?
How come I am a size 14 at H&M, but a size 18 at Forever 21?
Usually after dressing room affairs and fiascos, shoppers criticize themselves and their bodies for not being able to fit into the clothes that catch their eyes or the sizes they usually wear. But I blame the stores, the designers, and the brands.
Sure, I may need to do some crunches or run a couple of miles if I want to fit into the smaller size, but I’m not asking to fit into the smaller size. Instead, I’m asking to fit into one designated size no matter where I decide to shop at.
Sure, measurements may differ from brand to brand as designers are based in various parts of the world. It makes sense that different countries have varying measurements because the average size of a person in that country may also differ.
Even though our bodies are not one in the same, how difficult would it be to come up with a clear-cut worldwide measurement system for clothing?
As I receive emails from my readers, I am learning that I am not the only one facing these issues. So many women and men are confused and fed up with the lack of unified sizing standards within the fashion industry.
My friend, who is much slimmer than I am, asked me when I was going to stop shopping at Forever 21, as if I was growing out of the brand at age 23. She was shocked to hear that I did not really have any other place to shop that offered plus size options that fit my body. She never considered that it was harder for curvier girls to dress their bodies than their slimmer counterparts, and she is not the only one. However, the difference in sizing also effects her. She says that she has dresses, skirts, and shorts that range from sizes 00–4, but fit her the exact same.
Sizing standards affect every body shape, not just those with a curvy figure. But when the size “large” shirt you can barely squeeze into does not come in an “XL,” sometimes there is no other option. This is why it is oftentimes more frustrating for those with a full figure as we cannot simply just go up one size.
While we can make up excuses as to why the fashion industry seems to neglect or not understand the struggle that full figured bodies face, the explanation is actually simple: There is no excuse.
Designers should be learning skill sets that include creating clothing for different sizes and figures, more brands should adopt plus size clothing lines, and the fashion industry as a whole needs to recognize that not every plus size woman out there is trying to lose weight to fit into smaller sizes. Some of us are happy with our curves, and we are not going to lose them any time soon. We want to feel, look, and dress fabulously just like everyone else.
I am beyond thrilled as I see brands, designers, and retailers creating plus size clothing lines and adopting larger sizes because fashion is not just for one size, body type, or person.