Letter to Next Directory

I have been a customer of yours for years, and for most of them a size 14. I have always found your clothes consistent in sizing, if an item didn’t fit it was the cut or the garment itself on me as oppose to it being mislabelled. Unlike most shops on the ‘High Street’ where I have no idea what will fit me and can end up taking clothes on and off for what seems like hours. The worst case in point was H&M where I owned a pair of trousers that were a size 22 on the label. My best friend is a true size 22 and she wouldn’t have had a hope of getting them on at all.

I am of strong enough character not to get upset by the number on the label; I am a healthy weight for my height, at the moment due to the season of salads and warmer weather I have also lost a little of it. So why with my most recent order, a dress and top have I had to take both items back as they wouldn’t fit? Not even close, I couldn’t get the dress over my hips, the top wouldn’t do up over my bust and on mentioning it to the assistant in the shop, she said that you have changed your sizing.

Where does that leave me? 8 or 9 out of 10 items from your catalogue fitted me; I did most of my shopping with you because of that number. I have clothes of yours in my wardrobe from past seasons that are a 14 that fit; although I have admitted defeat on your jeans and now just order or buy size 16. It is easier for me to shop from home or at my computer than trail around trying to find clothes as I work in London, but live in Portsmouth. Now I have the same battle with you as I do with every other shop: what will fit me, how many variations on sizes do I have to take into the changing rooms and how frustrating it is not being able to know what size you are from one shop to the next. Have you changed your men’s clothing range too? Or are they still able to pluck a pair of trousers off the rack knowing that whatever size they are their clothes will fit? Why do you penalise half the population into confusion over apparel? If you did chop and change men’s clothing sizes, do you truly think they would accept it? I don’t and I am fed up with the blatant assumption that women will.

Another one of my friend’s truly struggles with her weight, and does find it demoralising when she thinks she is doing well on her diet, but has to buy clothes that are sizes too big for her. She has recognised that they are only numbers, but still feels an emotional involvement when the numbers are steadily rising, but her waist is decreasing. I know there is not a standard British Size, and the USA sizes are so warped as to encourage problems, the Size ‘0’ debate continues to rage on apace, and with good reason. Looking like your head is too big for your body, along with ribs being on display is unhealthy, unrealistic and yet is being portrayed as the ‘ideal’ in the media and mislabelling your clothes as a size smaller than they actually are only heightens the problem. However, in the USA you can shop in every shop knowing that what is on the label is what size the garment is. Which is why my size 22 friend does the majority of her clothes shopping when she is on holiday, she takes empty suitcases out with her, because whatever she buys will fit.

I am not expecting you to change your policy because one customer has written to you, but how long do you think that this situation can last? All I want is to know what size I am when I go shopping, it is not rocket science, and it shouldn’t be so difficult to buy a dress for a birthday party that I am going to at the end of the month. But I know that I will now have to spend the next two weekends trailing round every shop trying to find something that I like; not easy with the ‘Margot Leadbetter’ 70s style of dresses that seem to be everywhere at the moment, and then hoping that it fits. But I can take 4 or 5 sizes of the same dress into the changing rooms; you all obviously think I don’t have anything better to do with my time.

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