Campaign For Clearer Clothes Sizing – The Response

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yep, this again!

Back at the beginning of September I urged you to write to your local MP about the issue of Clearer Clothes Sizing.

In case you’re not familiar with my witterings on the subject I’ll explain. Currently the number inside your skirt means nothing, for a lot of people it’s a totally random number. The aim of the Campaign is not to make all shops produce their clothing to standard sizes. Bodies aren’t standard sizes. It’s to get them to actually tell us WHO they are making their clothes for. We want them to print the measurements the garment was cut to fit on the label, and publish accurate charts, easily available online and in store that show what average measurements each size is cut to fit.

We can all work out that a flared skirt, cut to look it’s best on a 28″ waist 38″ hip, might still fit us if we are 28″-40″, but with a pencil skirt we might be best going up a size. But without that basic information we’re working in the dark. This isn’t only frustrating and psychologically damaging as you struggle to pull a size 16 over your knees, convinced you were a size 12, but for people who can’t try on clothes in shops it can make shopping such a chore it’s barely worth bothering. Read the original campaign post for more of my rantings, but be sure to read the comments too for other’s viewpoints!

Anyway, onto the point of this post. I actually DID write to my MP, Simon Wright. I edited the standard letter that Emily from Sugar & Spice wrote to include my concerns about the effect that a lack of clarity might have on disabled shoppers and it winged its way via the wonderful medium of the interwebs to the hands of someone who can tell someone who can actually do something about it. About 2 weeks later I got this through my door.

By this time I’d actually pretty much forgotten I’d written. So my first thought was “eek!”. Letters from official government offices are surely rarely welcome if they’re unexpected? Well it turns out this WAS expected, I just have a memory like a sieve.

Inside the response was a standard type-written reply, but across the bottom was a handwritten note “Thanks for making me aware of this campaign”

I will retype the important part of the reply…

Thank you for your recent email in regards to your support for the Campaign for Clearer Clothes Sizing. I appreciate you making me aware of this matter.

I have referred your correspondence to Business Secretary Vince Cable MP, whose department has responsibility for retail business, to make him aware of your concerns and have asked him to respond to the important points you have raised in regards to this issue. I have enclosed a copy of this letter for your records and as soon as I receive a response I will be in touch with you again.


I’m not really expecting the response from Vince Cable to be speedy. I’m fairly sure he’s got a lot on, but I look forward to seeing what he has to say.

One letter from me really isn’t going to make much of a difference. So if you DO care, even a little bit, about this issue and would like it to be clearer what those sizes actually mean while you are stood at a clothing rail in store, then I do urge you to write to your MP. It’s really simple to do (so simple I forgot I’d done it!) using the site Write To Them.If you want the standard letter to cut and paste, or edit with your own particular concerns then you can find it here.

Another thing you can do is write a post on your own blog about the Campaign, and add the Campaign for Clearer Clothes Sizing badge to your sidebar.

If you do write about the campaign then let me know, as I’m collecting them into a list on the original Campaign for Clearer Clothes Sizing post and I’d love to add your opinion!

8 Responses
  • Perdita
    October 10, 2011

    That’s very heartening to hear.

    Let’s hope they realise that in these straightened times, measures that encourage people to buy (sensibly) are extremely good for the economy.

  • Helen
    October 10, 2011

    Oooh well done you! It is quite scary when something official like that drops through the door & you’ve forgotten about it!

    Just wondering – I suspect the wording of the Disability Discrimination Act (paraphrasing) “make reasonable adjustments” could work to our advantage here. I think displaying accurate size charts would be a reasonable adjustment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if I can do it working full-time at a different job, on my own, providing a size chart for each item, then M&S, TopShop, Miss Selfridge, Next etc etc etc etc can damn well do it. Lazy bastards.

  • Lori Smith
    October 10, 2011

    Thanks for the reminder (and all the handy links). I have now emailed my MP about this.

  • Kerry at His Girl Friday
    October 10, 2011

    I agree with Perdita, it is heartening to see that at least one person who could help has read your letter – and the handwritten note at the bottom makes me think he might have actually taken it seriously.

    Now, I’m not in the UK so have no idea who Vince Cable is (although I do think it sounds like a superhero’s alter ego) but at least the campaigners now know who to go straight to. You can ignore one letter but you can’t ignore 100!

  • Paperdoll
    October 11, 2011

    Oooh!! A letter from “The House”, how exciting!!! X

  • Louise
    October 11, 2011

    Oh yes, clothing sizes, the bain of my life. I have to say though, since I started making dresses I’ve realised how different sizes are even between patterns. Great campaign though.

  • Sara Hook
    October 21, 2011

    So yeah, this campaign is one I really believe in….I’ve gotten quite down lately as I felt like I was losing weight, but I’d go and attempt to buy new clothes and they fitted even less than the ones I’d got…..having now done a bit of legwork/research, I’ve realised that its not me, its the clothes and I shouldnt worry about what’s in the label….well, apart from the fact that my natural size is towards the end of the size scale, and it means if sizes are now two or three sizes bigger than you are, I’m sized out of clothes completely!

    Keep up the brilliant work!