Shopping as a Busty Woman When Clothing Sizes are Against You

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Clothing sizes are telling you that you are bigger than a large despite being two sizes smaller than the average British woman.

Words by Amy Gibson

I am a pretty busty girl so dress shopping has never been particularly enjoyable for me. I always look for stretchy and forgiving material to allow my boobs some breathing room and am constantly stuck between wanting to go a bigger size to accommodate them but risk the dress looking too big elsewhere. Usually, I am a size 12 (occasionally a 14 on the top) and if my boobs can’t fit that then I look at other options. I am due to graduate later this week and have spent months scouring the internet for the kind of show-stopping outfit I want to wear to the most important occasion of my life thus far. After finding one website that did the most beautiful dresses I promised myself that when I finished university and started working I would treat myself to any dress I wanted.

I’m not the most confident with my body so a skater dress style is perfect for me, as I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to, because it clinches beneath my boobs and flows soft over my stomach. Playsuits and co-ord combinations are out of the question as I’m not confident enough to show my stomach pouch, but I know my boobs are my best asset so ideally I wanted something that could show them off a little. True, my details were pretty specific, but as someone who isn’t entirely comfortable with every part of my body (and jealous yet proud of anyone who is) I’m allowed to be a bit picky.

What I didn’t vouch for, was how difficult it would be to actually find a dress that fits. I found the most gorgeous dress on an online site and ordered it instantly. I could see that it was not a stretchy fabric so I ordered in a 14 to be on the safe side. After stalking the postman for a week, I was overjoyed when my dress turned up finally. My joy was short –lived when my mum told me that there was no way it was going to come close to zipping at the back, and I refused to buy a size 16 because that would’ve been way too big on my shoulders and bottom. Heading back to the drawing board I ordered two dresses from ASOS assuming that one of these would fit. I’m sure you can all imagine how this went. I ordered at 12 and a 14, but to my dismay, I was still a long way from zipping either up.

In a last ditch attempt, I ordered a further two dresses from another online site, this time, one in a 14 and one size L. When they arrived, I slipped the 14 on first with ease, in fact, it looked like a tent. It was huge! At least I had the opposite problem of everything being too small for once. I then tried the L, expecting it to be larger, but it was the smallest thing I had tried on! This one, I couldn’t even pull over my chest unzipped.

What kind of precedents are clothing shops setting for women if they are to make you believe that you are bigger than a large when you are truthfully pretty average in weight and size.

As I said, I am used to things not fitting, but as a usual size 12, it’s pretty disheartening to think that you can’t fit in a large. What kind of precedents are clothing shops setting for women if they are to make you believe that you are bigger than a large when you are truthfully pretty average in weight and size. It’s no wonder that so many people suffer from body image issues when clothing sizes are telling you that you are bigger than a large despite being two sizes smaller than the average British woman.

There is definitely something to be said for shopping in stores rather than online because it can save all of this hassle. True, there is so much more choice online, but when you can’t trust any shops to be consistent with their sizing and end up spending weeks feeling hopeless over one silly outfit, it’s worth the limited choice in stores.

The whole experience has left me thoroughly annoyed, completely confused about what size I am, and a bit lost in terms of how to shop in the future. Clothing brands need to get more realistic about the average woman and start sizing clothes appropriately, then maybe more women could be body confident and proud of the size they are.