As we tick off another month in the calendar and 2018 draws closer, we might start to notice how well last year’s New Year’s Resolutions have held up to the last 12 months. If you vowed to lose weight, or build muscle, did you manage to keep it up? It might be the number on the scales, or it might be that the waistband on your skirt doesn’t quite fit the way it used to.
This can be a great boost, but it also leaves you feeling uncomfortable in clothes that aren’t right for your figure. This transitional period is when a lot of women start opting for ‘one size fits all’ clothing, in an attempt to avoid buying a new wardrobe every few months.
But no woman is one size fits all. There is no such thing. And in fact, there is no such thing as standard sizing either. All UK clothing sizes fall within a ‘range’, so a size 10 could actually fit anyone from a size 8 to a size 14, depending on the retailer. The only way to really get clothing, or underwear, to fit you properly is to buy based on your measurements, not what the size tag says. But it surprised me to find that a lot of women aren’t sure how to take their own measurements. When we say hips, which part do we mean? Is your bust measured above or below, and where exactly is your waistline? So I dug around and found this set of useful videos on YouTube that show you exactly how to measure yourself properly for clothing, and another for bras (since, you know, most of us are wearing the wrong size).
Back in July last year a 25-year-old customer at popular high street fashion retailer Top Shop made headlines when she complained about the ridiculous proportions of their shop mannequins. The mannequin that sparked public outrage had been modelled on a size 10 woman, but its proportions had been altered to give it more ‘visual impact’. This included lengthening the legs and drawing in the waist to unrealistic proportions. But Top Shop wasn’t the worst offender and it was soon discovered that some chains were displaying mannequins with waists as small as 23 inches. To put that in perspective, according to the UK National Sizing Survey the average British woman (size 12) has a waist size of 33 inches, with even those wearing a size eight having a waist measurement of 28 inches. Other retailers have been criticized for using mannequins with concave stomachs, protruding ribs and physically impossible thigh gaps, all to make their clothing look good.
On the surface this might not seem like a big deal, but what of the 14-year-old girl who looks upon these mannequins with admiration and envy? What message is that sending to women, who look at these unrealistic models and feel sadness that their bodies don’t look the same? That’s exactly what the campaign to ditch the super skinny mannequins was all about. Disproportionate ‘super skinny’ mannequins give the wrong impression of body shape to women and young girls, some of whom idealize looking this way. Mannequins like these are incredibly damaging and are a by-product of the fashion industry’s search for the idealized female body on which to flaunt their clothes. Women come in all shapes and sizes, making variety the key to selling clothes to real women. Campaigner Laura Betty was also featured on Woman’s Hour, where she talked about her new campaign for clothes shops to have consistent sizing, instead of loose rules and ‘vanity’ sizing.
At Elle Courbee, we believe that women deserve to look and feel beautiful, regardless of their size. That’s why we provide a wide range of plus sized underwear, nightwear and lingerie – because the right bra can help women move mountains! To find out more just browse our selection.