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RTÉ One, Tuesday, 8.30pm
The Consumer Show

The Consumer Show

Clothing Sizes

It's a scenario familiar to many women - you jump a dress size without gaining an ounce. This week, The Consumer Show's Tadhg Enright and Kathriona Devereux take a look at how clothes sizes vary from shop to shop.

In the UK, the average size woman is now a 16 - she's 2 inches taller than her 1950s counterpart, and half a stone heavier. And as we've grown bigger, retail experts say the rag trade has gradually increased the dimensions of clothes sizes. We ask why there is such disparity in sizes, and if anything can be done to make the shopping experience more straightforward -without the need to bring two sizes to the changing room?

Fashion brands tailor their sizing to suit the customer which means a size 10 can range from snug to baggy depending on the shop. We wanted to see how different retailers adjust their fit to suit their customers so with the help of three mums from mummypages.ie online community and top stylist Grace Moore, The Consumer Show went shopping to see how the sizes and the fit varied for the three volunteers and the results were surprising.

Fashion editor for the Sunday Independent, Constance Harris, explains that the high demand for fashion means that multiple manufacturers are working with different cuts, shapes and pattern blocks. Constance's advice to consumers is:

  • Shop somewhere that you can get a refund
  • Shop somewhere that you can get a refund
  • Don't lie to yourself about whether the garment will actually fit you
  • Try and identify a company that is consistent and has a block that suits you, although be careful that the products don't date over time.

Statements from Shops

Marks & Spencer
"We always work hard to ensure that our customers get the best fit from our clothing ranges. That's why we've carried out comprehensive sizing surveys over the years to ensure consistency of our sizing. "In 2007 we introduced sizes 6 and 30 and tweaked the sizes on our UK website so they are based on an average body. We were trying to more accurately reflect what customers' body shapes would be showing them. We did not change the size of our garments."

ZARA:
Zara declined to comment for the show

Topshop:
Topshop said it was unable to participate with this item on this occasion.

Dunnes Stores:
Dunnes Stores did not respond to our enquiries.

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