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Time to size up

woman fastening jeans 15 2 12We’ve all been there. The joy of slipping on a pair of size 10 jeans in one shop and then stretching and lunging into a set of unwilling size 14s in another. So, why is it that a size 12 is never a size 12?

When embarking on a high street spree, one first has to embrace the fact that the clothes on the window displays’ minuscule models probably won’t look as lovely on our slightly larger selves. (Apologies to any toweringly tall perfect size sixes out there.) After that, there’s the issue of finding your desired item of clothing and heading to the changing room with, potentially, two or three different sizes of it. A size 10 in Topshop is not the same as in Next, M&S, Zara or anywhere, in fact. So unless you’re a seasoned shopper with a database of sizes and previous fitting experiences logged into your savvy, shopaholic mind, chances are shopping involves a lot of tugging, tantrums and trips home with empty hands.

Fed up with shopping’s spectrum of sizes, computer programmer and fashion fan, Anna Powell-Smith, collected the official size data published by many different stores online. Transferring this information onto a data visualisation, Anna’s graph-like diagram now helps British and American women find the best fitting clothes available on the high street.

Simply enter your measurements (bust, waist and hips), in inches and cm, into the app titled ‘What Size Am I?‘ and your most perfect fit in tops, skirts and dresses in shops from ASOS to Zara will pop up. It’s a miracle, and one that shows some surprising results.

Assuming that upmarket stores would size their clothes smaller, Anna found that, counter-intuitively, a size 10 in upmarket Whistles, Zara, or Reiss is (ironically) sizeably bigger than one in ASOS, Monsoon, or M&S. Mass-market Next, meanwhile, consistently has the smallest sizes on the high street. French Connection and Karen Millen should be the port of call for pear-shaped ladies out there, while Banana Republic and Warehouse are best for the top-heavy. LK Bennett and Zara are cut for a fitted waist. And women should steer clear of Oasis and Topshop unless they are looking for a roller coaster shopping experience, as they show the most up-and-down sizing figures.

Breaking the stereotype that programmers don’t often write interesting fashion apps, Anna may well have saved the nation hours of shopping-induced sulks. Someone give the girl a pat on the back.


Picture credit: Shutterstock


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