24.2.10

"You're a whole lotta woman, a whole lotta woman, whole lotta Rosie" - AC/DC

As any woman knows, size is a tricky subject. For most of us, our size ranges depending on a whole raft of factors: brand, type of clothing item (tops, bottoms, knitwear), the look we're going for (oversized? layered?). Designer clothes tend to run smaller, though some brands, like DKNY, can be a bit more generous. Some websites acknowledge this - Net-a-Porter and My Wardrobe both state whether an item runs true to size, but also give the item's measurements in different sizes, so you can just for yourself. There really is no substitute for trying on, however. DKNY's cosy cardigan is a case in point - it's sold in 2 sizes, S/M and M/L, and Net-a-Porter suggests the larger of the two sizes fits up to a UK 14. However, this garment has miraculous rubber band-like qualities, and will fit pretty much anyone.

A while back, I wrote a blog entry about shopping for plus size designer clothes. I was frustrated by the lack of larger sizes among more fashionable brands. H&M run small, and their plus sized clothing tends to wander into muumuu territory. Not a flattering look. ASOS run larger, but they've also recently added a plus size line - Curve - that, though it's fairly limited at this point, has some promise.

As someone whose closet is filled with clothing that ranges in size from 16 to 20 (UK sizes), I've learned never to judge a top by its label. And then there's translating German, Italian, French, American or Danish sizes into UK sizing. Don't even get me started. Why can't we have it like men do? Why can't we go into a store and say: 'this is my waist measurement, this is my chest measurement, gimme something that fits'?

But I digress. My original motivation in writing this blog entry was to re-dress some inaccuracies in my earlier entry concerning plus size shopping (which I wrote way back in summer '08). I complained that, though Net-a-Porter considers a size 16 to be the largest someone can fashionably be, Yoox catered to more of a range of shapes and sizes. Over the past year, that assertion has been proven to be very very wrong. I've bought 3 items from Yoox which all ended up being way too small - either because they didn't translate the size correctly or because the brand ran small and the size I chose didn't work for me. They have extremely limited information about each item on their website, and the whole thing ends up seeming a bit slap-dash.

Net-a-Porter, on the other hand, now show size 18 and 20 on their size guide chart, and though I've to date only seen clothes offered up to size 18, having 20 on their size guide chart seems to be a sort of promise that in the future, should this size be available, they'll stock it. Could the fashion world's acceptance that a size 20 woman might just possibly follow fashion and, oh, I don't know, be fashionable? I'm not saying that a woman needs access to designer clothes to be fashionable; far from it. But I think that acknowledging that women come in many shapes and sizes is an important gesture, particularly coming from one of the few industries out there where women make the same, or potentially more than, their male counterparts (well, if they're models).

That said, what about women sized 22 and up? How much longer will they be relegated to one lone high street store (Evans) and a single rack at TK Maxx?

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