Author and blogger-come-clothing-designer Constance Hall has captured the mood of every woman who’s felt the excitement of clothes shopping snatched away from her under the two-harsh lighting of store fitting rooms.
“Is that really no longer my size?” the woman wonders, hand clutching the dress, top, shorts she was oh, so eager to try.
“Will I have to emerge and ask for a bigger size in absolutely everything I so hopefully gathered within my quivering arms and brought into this brightly-lit hell?”
Hall’s label, ‘Like A Queen‘, runs with a “size down” policy, Hall explains, so women can shop the way they feel as opposed to cowering under the confusing and ever-intimidating size ranges of bigger fashion houses.
Size down means you should shop a size down from your typical size, suggesting her label runs slightly bigger than traditional clothing retailers. As her website states: “Never size up! If in any doubt, size down.”
“Some of my friends have asked me about my ‘size down’ theory. ‘Why don’t you just make your sizes more ‘normal’ so you don’t have to say size down’ they say,” the mum-of-four, who is currently pregnant with her fifth child, posted to Instagram last night.
The answer, she said, is simple.
“Last year I went shopping, I left my husband and kids in the car and I ran into one of my favourite clothing shops. I quickly tried on some things and bought nothing,” she captioned an image of herself, sitting on a curb, her heavily pregnant stomach wonderfully exposed.
“I got back in the car and I asked my husband…. ‘When you see me, do you see an extra large woman?’ He laughed, ‘you’re five-foot-three and petit’. So I asked the kids, ‘When you see me, do you see an extra large woman?’ They too laughed.”
While in the store Hall – who carries some “excess body fat to keep me cuddly” but says she is “generally not an Extra Large person” – was told there was nothing the label carried that would fit her. That they don’t stock sizes bigger than ‘Extra Large’.
It’s not so much about the size, Hall said, it’s about the stigma around it.
“I asked the shop assistant, ‘Do you have anything bigger than the extra large?’ She recognised me and didn’t want to answer, eventually looking down she softly said ‘No sorry they don’t exist, extra large is the biggest.’
“They don’t exist? ” Hall wondered.
Upon emerging from the store, Hall saw a woman “flawlessly rocking a boho outfit” who was “definitely bigger” than her.
She put her kids to the test, once more, asking them if they thought the woman with the cowboy hat existed. “They all laughed at the stupidity as I explained what had happened,” she wrote.
“You see I am not an extra large woman, there is nothing wrong with that but I am not. And women who are bigger than me? They don’t only exist, but they exist brightly and beautifully and they rock beautiful clothes, you just have to f*cking make them.”
Mia sits down with Constance Hall on No Filter. Post continues below.
And perhaps she’s onto something. That ‘sizing down’ is a way forward in breaking the bonds of judgment and self-criticism traditional clothing labels so often entice.
“Well I brought two skirts off you, Con,” one woman commented on Facebook. “I had to send them back because they were too big. I didn’t care, I was friggin wrapped. I sent them back last Friday from a rural area and your Queens received them Wednesday at 1pm and by 1:15pm I had my store credit, (Flippin legends) purchased the smaller size by 1:30.”
Another said: “Once upon a time, long ago at my biggest, I visited a large, well-known clothing store just to have a look. The lady behind the counter pounced on me straight away, pulled me aside and said in a voice that could have been heard in China: ‘I just wanted to let you know straight away that we don’t have anything to fit your size here, you need to go somewhere else’.”
Even still, Hall doesn’t think of it as “sizing down” at all.
“You may think you sized down to fit my clothes,” she said. “I think you sized perfectly.”