Dress Sizes; friend or foe?

Ladies, answer me this; what is your dress size? If you can answer with a number, just one number with no explanation necessary, then bravo. You are one in a million. My answer would not be so simple… it would be along the lines of ‘well I’m a 14 here and a 16 there but occasionally a 14 there too but sometimes an 18 depending where I shop but I still have some 12s in my wardrobe that still fit too’. What a mess!

On a recent spending spree during the blessed event that is the Dorothy Perkins sale, I purchased several pairs of trousers and skirts as a summer treat to myself. Some were a size 14 and others a 16. So why are my work trousers an 18? I would have thought that there was a large difference between a size 14 and 18 but clearly not if I can wear both.

Now, I have never thought of myself as obese. The scales tell me that I am overweight but I am tall enough and curvy enough to disguise most of the weight. I do have my ‘fat’ days (who  doesn’t?) but when I call myself fat I know I am being silly. I’m not skinny, I am well aware of this, I’m probably average. I have been losing weight recently so was very happy to finally fit in to some size 14 trousers. I never thought that day would come. But I can’t help but be slightly confuddled with my work trousers, why are they an 18? I bought them within the last month from Peacocks. Am I actually losing weight or have Dorothy Perkins got their sizes wrong? Are my work trousers wrongly labelled? What size am i? It’s these types of things that cause problems when it comes to online shopping, which size do you choose? Even if you do attempt shopping in the actual store, it’s very likely that your size wouldn’t be in stock. You can’t win!

Why hasn’t the world adopted a system where all clothes sizes are measured on the same model? If I only shopped at Peacocks, and bought size 18 clothes, I would feel very insecure about myself. There is no shame in being larger but as a woman in my 20s, society has drilled in to me certain expectations about body image, and no matter how much I learn to love myself I will always dream of having that ‘perfect’ body. Waking up one morning with the body of a Victoria Secret model is probably the dream of most women, including myself. To be able to wear a bikini with no worries or shame about my tree trunk legs… To be able to have a photo taken without needing to turn or stand a certain way to get my good side… To wear a size 10 dress… To have a Hollywood makeover and walk down the red carpet with Henry Cavill… what was my point?

The older I get the more I realise that no one actually cares about how I look. I’m not famous so I will not be publicly shamed in Heat magazine for fat, cellulite or a double chin. My insecurities are mine to deal with myself. We all have them. Whether you are a size 8 or 20 there will be something you do not like about yourself. That is life! That is how we have been programmed. We will never be truly satisfied with how we look, but my beef today is not just about image, it’s the label. Is it too much to ask that my clothes sizes be consistent?

We don’t have this issue with shoes. I’ve got a few pairs of shoes. Ok, that’s a lie. I’ve got too many to count, but they are all a size 7. It’s not a case of the few from Dorothy Perkins are one size, New Look another size and so on. They’re all the same. High heels, low heels, flat sandals, trainers, pumps, boots, boots with a heel, they’re all the same size. The world uses the same model for shoe sizes. So why is it not the same with clothes?

I feel that this will be a losing battle, this will never change. Shops and designers will have their own ideas of dress sizes and we will play the game of ‘guess the right size’. I hope I have more size 14s to come, and maybe one day a size 10 will sneak its way in to the wardrobe, who knows? For now, my wise and wonderful message to you all is to ignore the label and just wear what fits and feels comfortable. Am I a 14? Am I an 18? Who the hell knows? I am curvy and I love it!


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