Wednesday, 8 December 2010

We are not all one size. We do not come from moulds.

After lusting over leather dresses for weeks on end, I finally took the plunge and headed to the changing rooms of Bershka to try one for size. Many people have been sceptical about leather dresses, seeing them as a step too far in the leather trend and verging on overkill. I was determined to prove them wrong and team mine with minimalist pieces and make that dress the ultimate statement. However, I fell at the first hurdle when I put this one on: it was clingy in all the wrong places and strangely baggy at the neckline and back. Being synthetic, it was also boiling hot within 2 minutes of being zipped up, and I could feel myself panicking about leaving the dress dripping with sweat and running make-up in an effort to extract myself from it (luckily it was quite easy to remove). The dress I tried on was a size Large, although I can honestly say that it wasn't made for a woman with hips or a chest and it tried desperately to skim over both these features with little success. I do expect to be a bigger size in a Spanish retail chain, because traditionally they seem to cater for smaller, more birdlike women - it's just one of those things. But I don't expect to find the 'L' labelled dress like a sausage skin, whether it's in faux leather or cotton. I should be able to move my legs and not feel my circulation being cut off.
Undeterred, I found a simple but edgy jumper on my second look in the store - it was khaki with elbow patches and I knew it was going to end up in my wardrobe. But, after browsing through a pile of at least ten jumpers, I was dismayed to find that every single one was a size 'Small'. I returned a week later with fresh optimism, only to find the same problem. I won't lie; I already felt a little insecure about expecting to buy a Large, or indeed Extra Large, but seeing row upon row of garments in 'Small' around the store, I didn't find myself excited about the jumper any more. I'd expect to see a full size range catered for in the high street, especially when the size 'Small' equates to a 6-8, because it's hardly appealing to a diverse range of customers. I love the fresh and interesting designs available in Bershka, but this has left me reluctant to visit regularly if they are quite happy to place a size 12 customer in a 'Large' category and consistently not stock anything beyond 'Small'. I will never have a size 6-8 figure, even with a severe breast reduction, and I don't want to feel as though it's wrong to be a size 12. The leather dress was just the catalyst for me in realising that some retailers in Britain target a scarily exclusive size market.

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