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High Street stores are 'stitching up' women over sizing and risk giving girls a dangerous body image

Mirror logo Mirror 21/03/2017 Nada Farhoud

Sizes - such as the 8 - were wildly different between stores (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Sizes - such as the 8 - were wildly different between stores (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) Women who struggle to squeeze into clothes fearing they have piled on the pounds can breathe a huge sigh of relief.

The changing room challenge may be less about weight and more to do with High Street sizing, which is all over the shop.

New Look jeans size 8 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc New Look jeans size 8 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) This can make shopping a chaotic, frustrating and exhausting experience but there is also the worry unrealistic sizing can convince healthy girls they are overweight. 

I am a typical size 10 – with 34in bust, 28in waist and 36in hips – but trying on skinny jeans, fitted dresses and loose tops at eight High Street stores produced some staggering results.

The clothes that fitted ranged from an 8 to a 16.

H&M dress size 10 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc H&M dress size 10 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) In H&M I couldn’t zip up a size 10 black dress but a 16 fitted perfectly. By contrast, a 10 stripy dress in budget chain Primark fitted well while its 16 felt like a tent.

H&M size 16 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc H&M size 16 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) It was similar story when trying on tops.

M&S top size 14 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc M&S top size 14 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) Marks & Spencer’s size 8 baby pink T-shirt fitted but I needed a 14 for an H&M black long-sleeved top.

M&S top size 8, next jeans size 8 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc M&S top size 8, next jeans size 8 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) So there was only a slim chance that skinny jeans would be a different story in the wide variations on size.

M&S top size 8, next jeans size 8 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc M&S top size 8, next jeans size 8 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) In Next, skinny black jeans, size 8, left me plenty of space for dinner but at New Look the same size wouldn’t get past my thighs. Even a 12 was still a very snug fit.

Next door at River Island in Brighton, I could only squeeze into a 14 in jeans but a flowery long-sleeved top in an 8 fitted like a glove.

At Topshop and M&S a size 10 pair of skinny jeans slid on with ease.

Marianne Gray - a typical size 12 - encountered a similar problem.

The 29-year-old, with a 37-30-39 figure, had a similar experience buying a £24.99 fitted dress at H&M and taking it home to try on. She could barely get it past her knees.

She took it back and Marianne, who is a normal 12, found a size 20 was “almost perfect”.

Primark dress size 16 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Primark dress size 16 (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) Marianne posted a picture of herself in the dress in the changing room and commented: “I’m relatively secure in my body but I can only imagine the psychological impact being a size 20 could have on a young ­impressionable girl. I was quite upset. I’m a 12 and you made me a 20.”

She said she would not shop at H&M again.

Primark size 10 (Photo: ©Stan Kujawa) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Primark size 10 (Photo: ©Stan Kujawa) A OnePoll survey for the union GMB found 92 per cent of women don’t fit into the same size clothes but 82 per cent wanted standardised sizing.

Fed up by the variation, computer programmer Anna Powell-Smith created website, What Size Am I?, which ­promises to tell women the size they really are in different High Street stores, using their bust, waist and hip measurements.

TV psychologist Emma Kenny said: “Don’t allow ­sizing to dictate happiness. Society has made it desirable to be a small 6 or 8 dress size.

“I did a study of body image and was staggered to find 20 per cent of women would ­prefer to have heart problems if they could stay slim.

This is the way we’re breeding our young girls – that small is healthy.”

A H&M spokesman said: “It’s only ever our intention to design and make clothes that make our customers feel good about themselves. Any other outcome is neither intended nor desired. H&M’s sizes are global.”

New Look declined to comment.

A River Island spokesman said: “We don’t fit against other retailers but use models we believe best representative our customers.”

How different shops measure up

SIZE 10

TOPSHOP

B 87cm/34.5in

W 69cm/27in

H 92cm/36in

PRIMARK

B 87cm/34.5in

W 70cm/22.5in

H 94cm/37in

H&M

Credits: Internet Unknown © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Internet Unknown B 84cm/33in

W 68cm/ 27in

H 92cm/36in

NEXT

B 86.5cm/34in

W 71cm/28in

H 95cm/37.5in

NEW LOOK

B 89cm/35in

W 70cm/27.5in

H 95cm/37.5in

Internet Unknown

RIVER ISLAND

Credits: Internet Unknown © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Internet Unknown

B 88cm/34.5cm

W 69cm/27in

H 94cm/37in

DP

B 88cm/34.5in

W 70cm/22.5in

H 94.5cm/37in

M&S

M&S was one of the stores where sizes differed (Photo: Internet Unknown) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc M&S was one of the stores where sizes differed (Photo: Internet Unknown) B 87cm/34.5in

W 70cm/27.5in

H 95cm/37in

SIZE 12

Internet Unknown

TOPSHOP

Credits: Internet Unknown © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Internet Unknown B 92cm/36in

W 74cm/29in

H 92cm/36in

PRIMARK

B 91cm/36in

W 74cm/30in

H 98cm/39in

H&M

B 88cm/34.5in

W 72cm/28.5in

H 96cm/37.7in

NEXT

B 90cm/35in

W 74cm/ 28in

H 99cm/39in

NEW LOOK

B 94cm/37in

W 75cm/ 29.5in

H 100cm/39.5in

RIVER ISLAND

B 92cm/36in

W 69cm/27in

H 94cm/37in

DP

B 92cm/36in

W 74cm/ 29in

H 98cm/38.5in

M&S

B 92cm/36in

W 75cm/29.5in

H 100cm/39.5cm

SIZE 14

TOPSHOP

B 97cm/38in

W 79cm/31in

H 102cm/40in

PRIMARK

B 96cm/38in

W 79cm/31in

H 103cm/41in

H&M

B 92cm/36in

W 76cm/30in

H 100cm/39.5in

NEXT

B 94cm/37in

W 79cm/31in

H 105.5cm/41.5in

NEW LOOK

B 99cm/39in

W 75cm/29.5in

H 105cm/41.5in

RIVER ISLAND

B 97cm/38in

W 78cm/30.5in

H 104 cm/41in

DP

B 96.5cm/38in

W 79cm/31 in

H 104.5cm/41in

M&S

B 97cm/38in

W 80.5cm/32in

H 105cm/41.5in

(Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc (Photo: Stan Kujawa/Sunday People) SIZE 16

TOPSHOP

B 102cm/40in

W 84cm/33in

H 107cm/ 42in

PRIMARK

B 102cm/40in

W 85cm/34in

H 109cm/44in

H&M

B 96cm/37.7in

W 80cm/31.5in

H 104cm/41in

NEXT

B 99cm/39in

W 84cm/33in

H 110.5cm/43.5in

NEW LOOK

B 105cm/41.5in

W 86cm/34in

H 111cm/44in

RIVER ISLAND

B 103cm/40.5in

W 84cm/ 33in

H 110cm/ 43.5cm

DP

B 102cm/40in

W 84cm/33in

H 110.5cm/43.5in

M&S

B 102.5cm/40.5in

W 86cm/34in

H 110cm/43.5in

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