Clothes shops that take inches off your waistline
Clothes shops that take inches off your waistline | the Daily Mail
If you have ever been pleasantly surprised at being able to squeeze into a pair of 32-inch waist jeans, don't celebrate too soon - in reality you are probably two sizes bigger.
Britain's High Street stores are flattering the vanity of their customers by understating the true measurements of their trousers, according to new research.
A study of popular brands revealed that many stores are now making trousers on average three inches wider than is stated on the label.
It found that many retailers are being more generous with their sizing as a sales ploy to make customers think they are thinner than they actually are.
FCUK: A size 30in jean measured up at 36ins
Among the leading clothing chain culprits were Next, Gap and Zara, with the worst offender being French Connection where the waistline of men's jeans were up to six inches bigger than advertised when they were measured.
Researchers also found that designer names in fashion, such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana were guilty of understating the true sizes of their trousers by a couple of inches, although the discrepancy tended to be smaller than at some High Street retailers.
The practice known as "vanity sizing" first began in women's clothing in America.
Two years ago, Topshop were one of the first firms in the UK to announce that its sizes had been made bigger around the waist and bust for women.
The move saw customers who would normally regard themselves as a size ten or 12, fit into a coveted size eight.
But fashion experts have been surprised by the scale of the recent changes in men's clothing. Designer Jeff Banks said: "It's deluding customers. Changing things by one size may be sufficient, but to do it by this much is something the customer does not like."
Research by the Sunday Times found that French Connection had the biggest discrepancy in its actual and advertised sizes.
On one range of men's slim-fit jeans, a size 30in measured 36in and a size 32in was found to be 37in.
Women's jeans were also wider than stated by as much as 4in.
At Zara, the Spanish-based retailer, a pair of regular-fit denim for men labelled as a size 32in waist was measured as 36in.
In designer brands such as Gucci and Calvin Klein the margin between the actual and label sizes was much smaller and some garments were the same measurements as advertised, experts found.
According to the most recent National Sizing Survey, 44 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women in the UK are either overweight or obese. The average male measurements are now a 42in chest, 37in waist and 40.5in hips.
Whilst for women, average waist measurements have increased six inches since 1952 and gone up 1.5in in height.
Retailers have defended their sizing policy, claiming that the discrepancies were justified by styling differences. French Connection said: "We will look into the claims. We don't practice vanity sizing."
Gap said that the discrepancies might be due to the different shapes of their ranges.
Zara and H&M claimed that the actual size of their garments should be virtually the same as that stated on the label.
A spokesman for H&M said: "The labels on our garments are the actual sizes. H&M do not practice vanity sizing. "Our quality-control department and buying department are looking into this issue."