Last weekend, Nat and I went shopping. We don’t often hit the high street, instead preferring to spend our shopping time together rifling through charity shops for elusive bargains. But on this occasion I needed tights, having worn all of mine to bobbly, snaggy messes, and Nat had convinced me that it might be worth trying a pair of leggings instead of layering 70 denier tights for warmth from now on… So we nipped into H&M.
H&M had rails and rails of sales stuff. I quickly unearthed a fabulous floral mini prom dress in a 14 (£10) and a pencil skirt in a 16 (£3), both of which looked roughly the right size – which in H&M is the ONLY way to choose clothes, as their sizing even within the brand is SO ERRATIC. Nat picked up a skirt, and we headed excitedly for the fitting rooms.
None of the items we had selected fit. The dress, though a size 14, fit as if it had been tailored across my bust, waist and hips… but didn’t actually cover my bum cheeks. Which, as I’m a very average 5 ft 6, worries me a little… The skirt, meanwhile was SKIN TIGHT in a way only Girls Aloud can really carry off. Nat’s skirt too was on the small side.
Nat and I are both bang on average UK sized. We have the same measurements (excepting that her boobs are bigger), though we struggle to share clothes as she is a few inches taller than me and therefore has different overall proportions. I wear a Dorothy Perkins size 16 (I tend to find Dorothy Perkins offer decent middle-ground sizing; M&S too) – which is very different to Laura Ashley, where a size 16 DROWNS me, or Topshop, where a size 16 skirt won’t actually fit over one of my thighs…
I know I’m not the only one who hates the diversity of sizing on the high street. It makes buying clothes online an exercise in gambling, and accepting clothes as gifts without having tried them on first an often embarrassing trial (except when it comes to gifts sent to me by my lovely blogging friends, who seem to have an eye for exactly what size I am!). It also makes every single shopping trip a chore, as I take two of everything into the dressing room, unsure which will fit.
And, as I was reminded on Saturday, the complete lack of standard sizing is the reason I stopped shopping at H&M, despite the great designs on offer there.
As an aside, I did buy leggings, which I’ve yet to try… But ended up buying my tights from trusty Topshop. Their clothes may be flimsy, badly made and distinctly on the skimpy side, but their tights are velvet-soft, long-lasting and surprisingly generous in the body. At £6 for an 80 denier pair (or £3 in the sale 🙂 ) they may seem expensive, but these babies go the distance!