H&M to change Irish and UK clothing sizes after customer complaints
Customers in changing rooms to get a confidence boost as H&M address sizing issues
Modern fashion has a sizing problem and in particular H&M has been heavily criticised by customers
Dress sizing and incorrect labelling has long been a loaded issue for shoppers. Inconsistent sizing across the high street means we often have to battle with fitting rooms and multiple sizes all in the hope we can distil our size into one magic number.
“What’s your size?” has become virtually impossible to answer with many women changing sizes from store to store, rendering labels meaningless and frustrations high.
Modern fashion has a sizing problem and in particular H&M has been heavily criticised by customers who claim its sizes were considerably smaller than elsewhere on the high street.
However, the Swedish store has now announced it is updating its sizing to bring it line with standard UK measurements. Listening to customer feedback, they are due to address their inconsistent sizing across all their British and Irish stores.
“We are taking the steps to change our womenswear measurements to be in line with UK sizing. For example, the previous measurements and fit of a size 12 will now be the measurements of a size 10,” a spokesperson for the retailer said.
In a fight to take back the fitting room, shopper Rebecca Parker wrote an open letter to H&M on Facebook in March, dismayed at the fit of a pair of jeans. Parker struggled to fit into a size 14 at H&M despite being a 12-14. In her letter, she wrote: “I failed to be able to pull the jeans past my one thigh. Deflated and disappointed, I left empty handed. The more I thought about it, and those jeans, I realised it wasn’t MY failure that prevented me from pulling on a pair of trousers, but yours.”
And Parker wasn’t alone. After the letter went viral, reams of women responded online saying they experienced the same issue in the store.
Spanx, not denim
For me, shopping is a mixed experience. In my work as a stylist I can be pretty speedy in picking up pieces I know will suit and I love nothing better than bounding straight to the till.
But when it comes to H&M, I always have to try on, and always have to try on multiple sizes. In a fleeting moment where I was trying to channel an inner-French fashion blogger that I follow on Instagram, I craved a pair of red jeans, just like the ones she wore in a recent post.
H&M delivers when it comes to finding those trend-pieces, but where it lacks is one size doesn’t fit all. When I tried on those elusive red jeans, that I thought would give the insouciant air of said fashion blogger, my dreams were quickly scampered as I tried to squirm my size 12 shape into a size 16. It was so tight it felt like I was wearing spanx, not denim. Leaving drained, I hated that feeling like nothing fits, that some how it’s my fault that I’m not tall or short or curvy or skinny enough to match the clothing in store.
It was recently revealed the reason so many customers find themselves experiencing this – and going a size or two up at H&M – is because of the way its UK sizing relates to European ones. While a UK 12 is usually labelled EUR 40 on conversion charts, at H&M it differed and was labelled as a EUR 38, which is actually a size 10.
The proposed changes from the brand will now mean that a dress which would have been labelled as size 12 will now be labelled size 10. With 14 stores in Ireland alone, the brand admits it will be a gradual process for the label of every item to be updated and haven’t given a specify timeframe.
“This will be a gradual process whereby customers will experience a transition period and are encouraged to use our sizing guides online or ask our store staff for advice when shopping.”
When it comes to sizing, this isn’t the first time H&M has come under fire by customers. In 2016, H&M removed their entire plus-size range from all 11 of their New York city stores, to make room for their homeware range.
And last year, Andrea Horan of Tropical Popical and The Hunreal issues, took to Twitter to voice her dismay at the store cutting their size range down to a size 14. In a response on Twitter, H&M advised that customers could find a full size range online.
“Since our product range has grown not all stores are able to stock all concepts and sizes,” they explained.
High street stores have often been criticised for the dearth of in-store plus-size options making it notoriously difficult shopping for clothing in real life. It’s a category that usually falls under a separate tab on e-commerce, or like H&M, it’s missing from the brick-and-mortar stores.
That makes it hard for shoppers not believe a message: if you’re over a certain size, you don’t belong. But with H&M valuing customer feedback regarding inconsistent sizing, this will hopefully crossover to change with regards to plus-size options in the near future.
The news of H&M’s sizes update has had a positive reaction on Twitter this week, with many shoppers commending it as a boost to their confidence, making the fitting room battle a little less traumatic. And maybe I’ll finally get into my red jeans.