Buy Clothes Not Sizes

This is my latest article on, which you can find here:

I’m Rachel and I buy clothes not sizes.

I’m tired of hearing all of the scepticism about women’s magazines. They are slandered for portraying skinny women and giving every girl who reads them a complex about themselves. The fact is, women’s magazines are now placing more features on the perks of being curvy and ways in which women can love themselves, featuring celebrities who talk about how they feel good about themselves, why they don’t want to be stick thin, why women should learn to love themselves the way they are.

The catwalk will always be what it is, designers are able to present their latest clothes range on females where the emphasis is on the style of the pieces, rather on the woman wearing it. So to those stating that models are glorified, I would actually argue the opposite. When a person sits by the catwalk, they can probably describe to you every dress that walked past them and even the range it came from, but I bet they couldn’t tell you what colour hair the model had.

Similarly, there is a continuing idea that it is men that are making women so self-conscious, because men only want thin women, and women who are more voluptuous don’t stand a chance. I’m sure there are some morons out there that this does in fact apply to and if it were true about a man would you really want to be with him anyway? But in fact, a lot of guys don’t actually care, and I’d render a guess that they’re far from Ryan Gosling abs themselves! Of course if you put on like 5 stone, they’re probably going to say “babe, maybe put down the biscuits”, but he’s really just looking out for you. What is far more damaging is if you are constantly talking about it, no guy wants to have to repeat over and over again that he doesn’t think you look fat, and saying he doesn’t know what size you are is his way of just avoiding being slapped as he is bound to say the wrong thing, because if he says a size too small you’ll get upset, and if he says a size too big, you’ll get really upset!

But it’s unsurprising that females often get bogged down about their size, especially when hateful individuals such as the recent insanity of Marie Fowler posting near-naked photos of herself on Twitter claiming to be joining the “thigh gap gang”. It is such ridiculous acts of vanity that promotes a single glorified body image. To make this whole thing much worse, her ‘thigh gap’ was the result of liposuction, placing further emphasis on her obsession for image rather than health.

So what’s the solution for all of this? If you’ve lost weight, congratulations, that’s so good for you and if you go to the gym 20 times a week, and you’re keeping track of every calorie you consume, enjoy! But FYI, it makes a damn boring conversation. It is those conversations with your friends when you suddenly become self-conscious. You could be living a perfectly healthy lifestyle and getting regular exercise, but put in a situation where you’re comparing yourself to someone else, your content self can soon turn into detrimental self-loathing. In reality, there is no need to talk about sizes or weight whatsoever. Obviously this is an unrealistic idea that this will ever go away, even guys have their own version of this, but I have to admit I prefer their more simple variation of “been hitting the gym mate?” and a simple yes/no reply is the end of the conversation.

I think it is a great idea when a group of friends goes to the gym together, I find it so much more motivational when I have someone with me. So please don’t confuse my point here being that I don’t think friends should help one another in keeping fit, because I think that is one of the best things to do. Where I find the problem, is in conversations about size and weight.

Different shops have different measurements for sizes; this is especially true with online shops. You should always buy based on your measurements. So is it any wonder that a woman can go into on shop and be a 10, go home feeling great about herself and then go into another shop and be a 14.

When I was younger I used to wear my Mum’s clothes, (actually I still do this now).  I wasn’t interested in sizes, I just wanted to be able to wear nice clothes, and if they fit or could be made to fit with a belt for example, did it really matter? No one cares what size you are wearing. When someone tells you that you look nice, I would venture a guess that it is never followed by, “what size is it?”, unless of course they want to borrow it.

There is a circling idea that it’s not about being skinny, but about being healthy, which is a wonderful idea in my opinion. But we have to be realistic to the world we live in, and the fact is we all feel good about ourselves when we fit into that pair of jeans we have kept at the back of the wardrobe just in case. But that pair of jeans might be a size 8, they might be a size 14 and the point I’m making, is that it doesn’t matter either way. We are all built differently, and some of us could run 10 miles a day, and we still wouldn’t be a size 8. But if you are healthy, be happy. If you want to tone up, or even lose a little weight you have put on over the holidays (or over revision time when chocolate is the only thing to console you) do that, and you’ll feel better for it. But don’t let a the size of a piece of clothing define you. So I’m leading a motion. Buy clothes that fit you.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get into/ stay in shape. But what females need to focus on is not being distraught about what size they put on. This is one of the greatest things about vintage shops. As many of the items don’t have labels at all, you just have to try something on and see if it fits and if it looks wonderful on you, you buy it and if not, you don’t. This is how shopping should always be. I would make a guess that at some point, nearly every girl has tried on their usual size, and if it doesn’t fit, they just don’t get it. They wouldn’t even consider buying the next size up, even if it would look really nice on them.

This problem can actually occur in quite the opposite way also, that is, a girl thinking she needs a bigger size than she actually does and she avoids trying the smaller size because if it doesn’t fit, which she assumes it won’t, it may upset her.  This can be as much a free-fall into misery and actually, can look just as bad as something that is too small. It is inevitable that most of the time, you’d love to be a size 9, 11, 13, 15, any in between size that of course they don’t make, (this is why Next is so great for their half-size shoes). I have found however, that if I have bought something online and just gone for the bigger size to be safe, it has actually made me look bigger than I am, or just look too big. Luckily, with the ‘oversized’ fashion back from the 80s over recent years, we have been able to wear boys clothes and make it work, or buy bigger tops and cut them and style them the way we want.

But when it comes to things like dresses for a special occasion, just try on until you find the one that fits. And if none of the sizes fit, it’s not you that’s the problem it’s the dress. It obviously wasn’t made for you, and there are plenty of things out there that were.


buy clothes not sizes