Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by a sizing label… yep, me too. And I can tell you right now that we’re not the only ones. The fashion industry has been low-key gaslighting us, and shoppers everywhere are taking to the virtual streets with #SizingRant TikToks to criticise inconsistent sizing labels from brands including House of CB and Primark.
As someone who owns jeans in sizes ranging from a UK 12-16 – that all fit perfectly well, too – I have realised that for years, we’ve simply accepted this issue without fully taking stock of the psychological damage it’s doing to us.
A study in the Journal of Gender & Society found that women experience a knock to their self-esteem when they no longer fit into their standard size. Research also reveals that when we can’t fit into something, we blame ourselves rather than the clothes. “I hate shopping for this very reason… I find it demoralising,” says Bianca Foley, presenter and founder of Sustainably Influenced, echoing many women who believe that sizing labels have stopped retail from being therapy.
As a fashion psychologist, I decided to look deeper into the issue – and find some solutions – once and for all.