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One look at eBay highlights this plight. Many item descriptions contain phrases such as "says it's size X but would be more suited a size Y" and some enterprising sellers now include actual measurements, which I find to be by far the most useful selling tool.
Nothing is more arbitrary and mindboggling to me than women's clothes sizes. A size ZERO? What is that? Men's pants and dress shirts are done right - with a measurement. This simple fact stops me from ordering online or by mail, since I never know if something will fit me.
Joshua Spltiner, Houston, TX, US
Standardise dress sizes? Please NO! In the real world this would leave the majority of us unable to find well-fitting clothes anywhere. Who else has tried a size 12 dress and found it too small, yet the same dress in a 14 is too big? Try another shop or two, and chances are you'll find a similar style that does fit - irrespective of the numbers on the label.
Shirley Munro, Cheshire, UK
French Connection is one of my favourite stores, but their sizes are from another planet. I own one pair of size 10 trousers which fit like a glove, another in the same size but a different style that are slightly too big, and yet I can't get size 10 FCUK jeans past my knees! It's frustrating enough that different shops' sizes vary, but when the same store cuts styles differently, it's enough to make a girl reach for a king-size chocolate bar in despair.
Hmm, I've noticed this problem myself, being a male in that awkward mid-twenties fashion limbo. Office wear at M&S and Next, medium; High Street casual, extra large. It's crazy, because blokes can't stand shopping at the best of times, so to have to try everything on just adds insult to injury!
Try living as a 5'1", size 16 expat in Malaysia where XL fits my tall, slim 14-year-old daughter. M&S here is very limited and ultra expensive and everywhere else a joke. Occasionally factory outlet shops have shorts and trousers (never skirts) which sort of fit.
I am (or was) a slim size 10 and now find anything in a 10 from the chain stores is way too big as they want to flatter their slightly larger customers. Being 42, I don't particularly want to dress in Top Shop.
Linda Gorton, UK
This upsizing thing is great. Children's clothes attract a lower rate of VAT that adults' clothes so soon we can all shop at Gap Kids and laugh at finally get one back at the VAT man!
The clothing industry has strung me along far too long. I now wear tailor-made clothing, as do my children. I sew everything we own, except some underclothing. This has worked to our advantage, although I know not everyone has the same option.
The real problem is that designs are based on a classic size 10. What suits a size 10 figure doesn't suit a size 14 or 16, yet all they do is make the garment bigger to fit! Companies should make clothes that compliment different sizes, not just take the easy way out with "one design fits all". They charge enough for the clothes!
If women are getting curvier, why are all the fashions tight, low-slung and belly-exposing or dowdy and shapeless?
Lots of women suffer from 'dimension denial' and are brainwashed into the ideal of the perfect 10. Some of the shrewder stores even have circus mirrors that make you look slimmer. We need to campaign for more accurate labelling, especially as more people are purchasing clothes over the net.
Jane Laidler, Hertfordshire, England
I'd have thought that technology might have come up with a barcode which - when exposed to a scanner - produced a rotatable screen image of how that garment fits a body scan of the shopper, stored on their own shopping card.
I am 6 foot tall and have to wear the small length of trousers in Gap, Burton and many others.
Matthew Jelves, UK
Shops should make clothes that reflect the fact that people are different shapes. I've got reasonably broad shoulders, but a slim waist - shirts for work have enough material around the waist to make another shirt.
Why does no clothes brand realise that women have hips? I have a curvy figure in that I have a fairly narrow waist and wide hips. Unfortunately trousers seem to be cut with the idea that we all have boyish figures and long legs.
It's not just the women's sizing which deceives to flatter. My waist measures 35 inches but most of my trousers are "32 inch waist" and fit well, not tight. So either my torso is an exception to Euclidean geometry or clothing companies think I can't handle the truth.
Dominick Tyler, UK
Whenever I buy clothes, I invariably have to add another tenner to the cost, just so I can get someone to take things in and up.
Some ridiculous person has come up with the idea that all women are 6ft tall, yet my wife is 5' 1" and can't find a pair of trousers where the legs don't flow all over the ground.
Mayoui, 5'10 seems deemed to be the maximum. I am 6ft without any shoes on. No company that I can find make tights for people my height - and certainly not my size. If I was 6ft and skinny I'd be well catered for. Instead I live in men's clothes simply for comfort.
It's not just that labels are wrong, there isn't a big enough range of sizes. Once I asked for a size S for a shirt in Debenhams; they didn't do small in that shirt. With sizes all over the place, catalogues and the internet are of no help.
S Mori, UK
The only solution is to try on different sizes and find a good fit instead worrying about what the label says. After all, no one can see the label, but they can see the unsightly bumps and lumps when people try to squeeze into a top that's too small.
My wardrobe ranges from size 14 to 22 - now that's ridiculous! I like to buy from catalogues for convenience and so have to order two of each garment in different sizes.
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