By KATE LEAVER
On a scale of one to completely mortifying, where do you rate standing in a change room, looking at your body in a full-length mirror, and trying to wriggle into a pair of jeans that won’t even make it past your knees? The denim grips onto the fleshy bits of your calves, your shins, your thighs, and then your dignity. It’s the worst. “How are you going in there?” says a chirpy shop assistant, and you sheepishly ask for the next size up. And then the size after that. And then you give up, pack up your things, and walk out that shop feeling defeated – by fashion.
Imagine if that happened every single time you went shopping. Wherever you went, you just couldn’t find fashionable clothes to fit you. And whatever “I’m fabulous” confidence you had at home just completely dissolved within 30 seconds of walking into a store.
That’s what it’s like for most Australian women when they hit the shops.
Did you know the average Aussie woman is 161cm tall and weighs 71kg? Which makes her around a size 14? And yet, our biggest chain stores, department stores, and boutiques rarely stock a size 14. And a size 16? Please, it’s practically as elusive as the Holy Grail.
Step right up, because Cosmo just launched a campaign called Size Hero (or #sizehero for the trendy among us) to address this exact problem. Basically they’re running a petition that says “Hey retail! Hey fashion! You listen here! Make and sell clothes that suit everyone because sexy comes in every size. For realz.” You can sign it here.
My absolute favourite type of experiment is sassy, noble, and fashion-themed. And there’s nothing I love more than taking on Stupid Injustice. So, we sent out one of our lovely writers, Fiona Macdonald, on a shopping mission with the average Aussie girl – gorgeous Marissa, who is 161cm tall and weighs 71kg. They went to 13 stores, tried on 41 outfits, and found just two items that appropriately fit Marissa’s body. Two! TWO! A skater-style dress from Sportsgirl and a skirt in Witchery were the only two pieces of clothing that fit – everything else was too tight, too short, or too clingy in the wrong places.
Here’s the thing: even when shops sell sizes 12, 14 or 16, the actual clothes are not made to suit a curvy frame. A dress, for example, is made in the sample size, and then designers use a mathematical algorithm to create the bigger sizes, without taking into account the curves of their body. So, they basically make something that suits a small, size 8 frame and then add extra material, without thinking what might flatter someone with bigger breasts or wider hips.