Why can't I find clothes that fit me? The problems with current Australian sizing.
Recently, I had my BFF stay with me for two glorious weeks. It was like a teenage slumber party the whole time. Cooking together, swapping clothes, shopping and making up dance routines. And as we’re modern girls, there was a bit of internet shopping too. It all started when I spied a 70% off Stella McCartney underwear sale. Having just moved out of maternity bras I was keen to get my sexy back but my body ain't what it used to be, so I was curious as to what bra size I must be now. Armed with a tape measure, my bestie came to my rescue. Naturally I stripped off my corporate black dress in the boardroom of my office and allowed my friend to measure me properly.
Underbust – 73cm. Right that’s a 12
Overbust – 88. Ok so I’m an A cup.
Now, not to gloat, but my assets have been known to get me a free drink or two in my time, so I was perplexed. My bestie on the other hand, (and she won’t mind me telling you this), mosquito bites.
“Ok so what am I?” my friend asked, taking off her work camisole.
Under bust – 75. Ok so you’re a 12 too.
Overbust – 81. Wait…that’s not even on the chart. So what… minus A?
Standing there in our bras, we were more confused than ever.
I was wearing a 10C bra, my friend a 12A. So we swapped (as you do).
Yes, she could do up my bra, and I was popping out of hers.
Why then were our measurements telling us that I should fit into my friend’s bra, when clearly in real life that was not the case?
Further investigation was needed. And more online shopping.
First stop, Forever New. Looking at the sizing chart, my friend was a size 8 bust and a size 10 hips. But the Forever New work cami she was wearing? A Forever New size 6.
Next, Cue. My measurements have me at a Cue size 10 bust and a size 8 waist and 12 hips. Yet my corporate black dress? A Cue 6.
No wonder we women are so confused when it comes to body image!
We see crazy photo shopped images in the media, women with no cellulite, wrinkles or laugh lines. We are shown what we SHOULD look like in clothes. Then we shop for said clothes and low and behold, we don’t fit.
You know why?
Because you are more than just a size!
You are you. And there is no one you-er than you are.
You have your hips, and your boobs and your thighs.
Maybe they are not a perfect size 6, but who is? According to all the sizing charts I shouldn’t be able to even fit into over half my wardrobe, but that doesn’t stop me from rocking my wiggle dresses and A-line skirts.
So what are we to do?
My top tips for building a better wardrobe.
Stop looking at size. As my bestie and I have proved, it means nothing.
Start looking at shape and fit and cuts of clothing.
Find stores and brands that ‘get’ you and start by shopping there, once you get more comfortable with what suits you, then branch out a bit.
Wherever you can, choose Australian made and local is even better. They have a better understanding of the body shapes that are buying and wearing their clothes. Plus you can feel good about supporting your local economy.
Opt for natural fibers instead of man made synthetic ones that are bad for the environment and feel yucky on.
If you are concerned about ethical and sustainable fashion (and as a Cosmo Hippy - why wouldn't you be?) download the Good on ya app to help you make more informed choices.
Find out what works for you.
I’m no fashion expert, but I know what works for me. And if you need help finding out what works for you, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional. Because seriously girl’s, it’s a minefield out there.
Oh and in the end, I didn’t end up buying any Stella McCartney online; instead I popped into the local intimate apparel shop and got fitted properly.
And I am a 10C.
This article first appeared in Smart Healthy Women Magazine.
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Also, if you want the whole girl's weekend away AND to learn more about clothes, then you should check out Hannah at The Clothing Cleanse and my 3 day I want to be a Cosmopolitan Hippy retreat.