Does Dress Size Matter?

A recent survey using three-dimensional computerised body scanners of more than 11,000 volunteers aged 16 to 95 (male and female) found that the typical British woman is 5’4.5” tall and weighs 143.5 lbs. The average bust size is 38.5”, the typical waist is 34” and average hip size is 40.5”. Researchers at the London College of Fashion concluded that 38% of women are overweight and 12% are underweight. Although British women have become heavier in the last 50 years, we still have a way to go to catch up with American women.

The study was supported by the Dept. of Trade and Industry and retailers including John Lewis, M&S and House of Fraser. Shops that have been using the data have found a fall in the number of returned clothes and some have made adjustments to the size labeling of their clothes. This explains a lot. I have often looked at slim women and judged them to be a size 10 to 12 only for them to declare they are a size 0 – what is that? No such size ever existed before. Or likewise, judging someone to be a size 18 to 20 for them to declare themselves a size 14 to 16.

Manufacturer and retailer sizing systems vary and the only reliable way of finding your size is to know your measurements and trust that the labeling accurately reflects the garment’s dimensions. Generally, many of us tend to stick with brands whose fit and sizing we trust in relation to our own size and shape although the sizing may not strictly fall within the calibration for the generic size 12, 14, 16, 18…….. Of course, we all quote our size according to the most flattering sizing system.

So what happens when you are out shopping and you are between sizes when you find something you like. Do you buy the smaller size and promise yourself you’ll lose a couple of pounds and fit into it? Or do you buy the bigger size? I’d love to know! Add a comment with your view and share it.

At Vida Moda I take care to measure the clothes we stock because each brand is different and their designers interpret sizes differently. We publish the measures and size interpretations for each of the brands we carry so you can buy with confidence. I also comment on the general fit of each brand in our sizing guide.

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