What varies by a few inches depending on who you get it from, and drives us women completely crazy? Clothes sizes.
Growing up, Tamara Mellon, co-founder of Jimmy Choo, was my absolute idol. Not for any amazing reason, I didn’t aspire to take the fashion world by storm nor did I aspire to be a savvy business-woman.
The reason I idolised her, whilst seemingly materialistic and ridiculous, was purely for the fact that when I was around the age of 8, eyes glued and brain immersed in the world of late night television, I saw her on MTV’s cribs. I knew right there and then that one day I HAD to have a walk-in wardrobe like hers. Floor to ceiling displays of luxury goods, everything presented in its own specific place, colour coordinated and categorized, like my own personal shopping experience every time I dressed.
Now, 12 or so years later, whilst I am yet to acquire a walk-in wardrobe (as a matter of fact the ridiculously overpriced box of a room I live in is probably smaller than the closet I have always dreamed of) I own enough garments and accessories to fill one – and then some.
20 pairs of jeans. 50+ coats and jackets. Bags and belts and scarves and sunglasses coming out of every orifice. I have more or less single-handedly supplied both myself and two of my flatmates with fresh outfits on a weekly basis for the past 6 months. I’m so caught up in trends and outfit planning that I can’t stop myself, and with every fast fashion brand under the sun offering some sort of premium next day delivery or student discount code my problem just isn’t helped.
But it’s not only that. The never-ending turn-over in trends is not the only problem. The re-buying items in every colour and pattern is not the problem, and the ridiculously low costs are not the problem.
The problem is the fact that I am yet to find a store that makes their garments to a standard size.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have grown up in a generation where airbrushed size 0 models were shoved down my throat on every platform imaginable, which in some sense has given me a complex. I have fallen victim to the portrayal of the perfect body on social media and in magazines. My relationship with clothes sizes is unhealthier than the models I’ve been brainwashed into considering normal. My once pre-pubescent, late blooming, size 4 body is still ingrained in my mind, and in every shop mirror and size tag I look at.
Once I began to slowly but surely blossom into a woman, I became a size 6, and then an 8 and I’ve had more or less the same figure from then on (aside from the odd food baby or PMS bloat here and there) so why has it become increasingly harder for me to walk into a store and pick up an item that actually fits me? Why do I find myself so regularly crying from frustration, over clothes I should be able to fit into but for some reason just can’t, behind the closed doors of high street changing rooms?
Why is it that from store to store, the waistband and leg length and hip measurements of superficially identical garments vary so drastically? And why do I let the overproduction of low quality, fast fashion items, knock my self-esteem so much?
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve purchased a garment in my size, only to end up buying it again in the size above – just for those bloated days. Then again in approximately 4 sizes too big just to over-compensate for the fact that I feel bad about the first two sizes being a little tight. Of course this then leads to me clearly HAVING to buy another belt to cinch in the waist and hold up the ridiculously oversized piece I’m now trying to make work.
So I guess my dirty fashion secret is that I buy too many clothes. I buy clothes that are too big. I buy clothes that are too small. I buy clothes that fit me but I definitely couldn’t eat in or sit down in. I hoard clothes that once buttoned up but don’t anymore, and I hoard clothes that drown me just in case I ever double in size.
And whilst I may never have Tamara Mellon’s walk in wardrobe, I’ll probably always have enough clothes to be able to fill it.
By Elise Spencer