Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Size matters (1)

Yesterday I began to debate the issue of size. I just don't understand why certain high street retailers, however they have positioned their brand, do not stock size 16 clothes.

This allows me to gratuitously use an image of Nigella Lawson -truly the most beautiful person I have ever had the pleasure to meet in the flesh. Whilst I always admire the poise and strict adherence to body discipline for clothes of Ms Wintour and Ms Roitfeld, I can't help but know the allure is due to their fashion credentials, whereas with Nigella it is simply the fact of beauty. She has a sheen due to beautiful skin, flowing tresses and flesh that is well ...flesh.
Whilst this isn't the best photo of Ms Lawson, you get the fullness of her figure and it reinforces the fact that retailers and some designers are failing to provided in ready to wear a size of clothing that is required - in the UK this is size 16. I didn't know whether to laugh (at) or rip up The Sunday Times's Style magazine article on couture week by Colin McDowell - I'll recreate the offending paragraph, where he basically grimaces because 'fat' people wear couture - quelle horreur!

"I visited the workrooms of a very famous couturier. The atmosphere was one of dedication and love as they cut the delicate fabrics and sewed on semiprecious stones. Then I noticed, lined up against a back wall, a group of grotesque figures. A second look and I realised that these were the Stockman mannequins on which clothes are fitted. Noting my look of alarm, my host said: “This is the reality behind the dream — couture is made to the exact measurements of our clients.” I knew that. And yet what a shock to see huge breasts, large bums and dropped stomachs replicated in foam padding. Thank goodness that, for most women, couture is still about dreams rather than reality. It is fashion’s original Cinderella story, offering all women a ticket to the ball, even if only in their imaginations"

Well in my imaginary world, size 16 would be mainstream in retail provision. I'm not going to pretend that size 18+ doesn't have some issues attached because whilst it won't be applicable for all, most people above size 16 regardless of height are entering into the realm of obesity.

I think most women deserve to have access to clothes in the high street, fashion is not about size it is about style, taste and choice.


  1. Sounds thoroughly reasonable to me, more sizing to cater to a range of body types rather than just sizes would be more useful though I think. I love any retailer or label who does their jeans and pants in different leg lengths for instance.

  2. I don't know who Colin McDowell is but he needs a stern talking to.

    I agree with Skye - I can never buy pants that are long enough and I'm only 5'10"!

  3. A matter close to my heart - it makes me so angry that you can be curvy and healthy and active (and within your "normal" weight range BMI nonsense) and not go out onto the highstreet and find clothes that fit because you are a size 16. Grrr!!!

  4. Hi there-hear hear, I also love Nigella too, she always looks so radiant and stylish!

  5. Ahhh...the weight issue!

    The irony (which would be lost on Colin) is that those 'grotesque figures' are purchasing dresses that cost more than most fashion journo's will ever earn - pithy commentary or not.

    Call it the Sam Fox effect but I like mah ladies busty, bawdy and packing a bit of swagger. But I'm a retro-homo :)

  6. Totally agree with everything you are saying on this subject. I spoke to a friend who owns a local independent boutique and she says she sells out of the size 16 first and that most places she does her buying recommend you buy 1 x size 8, 2 x 10, 2 x 12, 1 x 14 and 1 x 16 if they go up to a 16 that is. If I was her, I would want to buy the sizes my clients demanded, not what sales people recommend, nobody ever seems to learn do they?
    The other thing to bear in mind is that a 5 ft 10 size 16, can look great. I do love Nigella, but have you noticed she does not have one wrinkle and is that shiny skin just from being radiant or using Eve Lom? I am not so sure, but whatever, she is fab and luckily for her, has an hour glass figure she might not look so good had she the gene's of an apple shape. Weight we can change (hopefully) but never our shape!

  7. I love Nigela but why does she always cook in a denim jacket? Watch her shows, she is ALWAYS in a denim jacket.

    And when it comes to the issue of weight I just think everyone should be who they are, size 16, size 6, whatever. It seems like people are either too slim or too 'curvy' - magazines always say 'curvy' but half the time you know they mean fat.
    It's time for normal to be ok.

  8. Even my size is 34 (EU), I absolutely agree with your last words in this post!


  9. That sunday times article was disgraceful. *Gasp* Bigger people want to look good too? How very dare they?!

  10. You are so right when you say its not about the size but about style and taste. A lot of people don't get that.


  11. I am amazed that he would think or say something that insensitive in this day and age where women are already killing themselves to reach an unreachable ideal. What a moron. Healthy is better than unhealthy- period. And a little extra weight is better than starving yourself into a dress anyday.

  12. It's true: everyone should have access to beautiful clothes. The fact that designers choose to ignore an entire (majority) demographic blows my mind.

    Thanks for posting this. It nudged me to remember.

  13. Amen, sister. You KNOW I agree: Everyone at every size should have access to tools that will help them look their best.

  14. Does vanity sizing come into play here? I have no idea how it is in the U.K., but here the less expensive retailers have "small" sizes that fit very large. They might not go up to a certain size on the label but I sure bet someone that size could fit into one of their pieces. I did notice once trying a Dorothy Perkins top in size 8 that it was very big on me, even though I would normally think of myself as a U.K. 10.

  15. It may be hard for designers to sell larger sizes... not to defend the practice of not making them or anything...
    Very interesting topic, darling!


  16. Please say this again and again until you get people in power to listen. Nigella looks lovely. She certainly has plenty of money to buy couture. I would love to know who she buys from. Do you know?

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  18. Nigella is smouldering.she is so sexy! Love her show,she looks gorge as ever.

  19. I just found this blog, which is lovely. I enjoy it very much.

    But I have to wonder, what is it about fat people that the masses don't want us to be moderately attractive? Why wouldn't they want to sell clothing to us? After all, if we're so disgusting, shouldn't we be more covered up?

    I'm an American size 18/20, I'm short, I'm squat, and will never ever be a model in my wildest dreams. I still desire to be as attractive as possible even though I'm fat.


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