DISCLAIMER – All the views in this piece are my own, made from my own research, observations, and experiences
I truly believe that all bodies are beautiful! Its something I have believed for as long as I could remember, even when I would look in the mirror and not like my own body, I would still go on social media and watch tv and see all shapes and sizes of humans and think WOW they are BEAUTIFUL! It took a long time to realise HEY… my bodies beautiful too! With all the lumps and bumps, its what makes me, me and carries me through my life every single day. So I am grateful for my body.
THEN I TRY TO BUY CLOTHES… and all those insecurities come creeping back.
More and more brands are becoming ‘inclusive’, or at least thats how they want to be seen. I could go on about racism and ableism in the fashion industry but thats not what we are discussing today. TODAY… I am talking about the fact that the Plus size movement in fashion is a shitshow and brands need to step the f up.
Having a google search while researching this piece I was really shocked… I couldnt really find anything written on this topic with the same views I have? But when I reached out to my followers on social media, there was a massive response from other women who feel the same way I do… UK sizing in womens clothing is a MESS!!!!
First thing we need to do.. we need to bin the SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE sizings already!
Labelling clothes in the S, M, L way is not consistent, non inclusive and not in any way POSITIVE!
For example, lets say a brand uses the S, M, L way of labelling their sizing and their sizing chart says Small is the equivalent to a size 8, Medium size 10 and Large size 12. (and so on..). HOW are we still okay calling anyone LARGE, especially when they arnt even considered OVERWEIGHT by UK standards.
*REMINDER* The average size of a woman in the UK is SIZE 16! the AVERAGE.
So how can we be offering clothes in a size extra large + as the equivalent to the average size a woman in the UK wears? Think about the mentality behind that. Because still in todays society LARGE has widely negative connotations when it comes to womens bodies.
In my opinion, this is a way that brands can get away with NOT providing bigger sizes without seeming like they arnt inclusive. They can offer XXS – XL, looking like they have a inclusive range of sizes, however when you look at a size chart these are the equivalent of offering size 6 – 16. WHICH ISNT INCLUSIVE!
AGAIN … The average size of women in the UK is apparently size 16. To be honest, how can we even really know this nowadays when sizing is such a mess BUT for arguments sake lets say thats accurate. THERE ARE BRANDS OFFERING THEIR CLOTHES IN THE LARGEST SIZE OF 16. The AVERAGE size of a UK woman.
Side note, in researching this topic I simply googled the average size of a UK woman in clothing and look at the top recommended question…
WHAT MESSAGE ARE WE GETTING HERE???
Size 16 is LARGE?? Thats the TOP END OF THE SCALE??
and it isnt laziness, its not cost, its not because there isnt a market for bigger sizes….
The brands who dont offer larger sizes or plus size collections do this because they dont want bigger bodies in their clothes. Because they dont want bigger bodies promoting their clothes!! And thats the tea..
Now… keeping to my point on S M L sizing and how it needs to be put in the BIN, I have some examples below to show the range of what different brands consider s, m, l etc… lets see a bunch of sizing charts! and the DAMN variety. Notice also how all the brands go down to size 4 or 6… but most dont go over size 16. As a size 18, the below shows Id be considered a variety of different sizes depending on which brand you look at and theres not even the option for me on a couple.
OH POLLY (BO+TEE/Neena Swim)
MANIERE DE VOIR
Id like to point out that while there are issues on the top end of the scale as mentioned above, we also need to realise the implications of what this can do for a smaller bodied person also. Being a size 6 and shopping at the below you could be anything from a Extra Extra Small to a size Small/Medium. Words have meaning. When writing this I especially think of young girls, who are impressionable and finding themselves, I also thought alot about anyone struggling with a eating disorder or body dysmorphia. Imagine already mentaly struggling with your weight and how you see your own body, then being told as a size 12 you are LARGE and in your mind you view that as negative because of the media, societal standards, tv and social media.
And I am not saying that ALL of these brands dont offer plus ranges, because some do. But when they do, theres often a substantial amount less available! If you go onto most clothing brands sites and search just in dresses, or bottoms, or any category, see how many items there are. THEN filter by larger sizes. the options shrink massively! not just by like 10-20%, like less than half the options are available in bigger sizes. And this is consistently!
This isnt just the case that they were sold out, its too consistent across multiple brands across all clothing… there are significantly less options in high street and online fashion retailers for plus size bodies.
To wrap up, fashion brands need to do BETTER! With more sizes available, a wider variety of options available for larger bodies and to get rid of the Small Medium Large ways of sizing.
Love yourself, love each other, be kind to yourself and be kind to each other 💜
Rachael Hawksworth xo