The last time I got excited going into a dressing room was when I was five and I was playing hide and seek with my cousin while my mother tried to find a decent dress for herself. A dressing room is where our self-esteem goes to die. It’s where light bulbs settle when they give up on ever being used as important stage lights. Dramatic? Sure, but tell me dressing rooms are not the worst?!
It’s not just the bad lighting, the heat and the tiny space to change that makes us feel like monsters. It’s also the constant pressure from the media to be super skinny. Curves may be making waves but let’s face it, skinny arms and thigh gaps are, sadly, still leading.
Lowri Byrne from the UK experienced these same feelings when she was changing in one of H&M’s changing rooms. More than the usual factors, however, Byrne got frustrated with the brand’s clothing sizes. This girl went from changing room frustrations to becoming a viral star.
The issue concerned H&M’s clothing sizes which were far different than regular sizes. This seems to be a common problem for this store. It happens that H&M’s clothing is much smaller than regular clothing.
Posting a photo of herself in the changing room on Facebook, Byrne sent H&M a sarcastic message on their Facebook page. The photo showed Byrne wearing a dress that fit too tight. What’s unusual here is that she was wearing two sizes bigger than her usual size and the dress still hadn’t fit her.
On her Facebook page, Byrne wrote, “Please sort your sizes out because this is absolutely ridiculous! I'm a size 12 and small busted and today in an H&M store I had to ask if this dress came in a size 18 (it didn't...). The dress I have on in these photos is a size 16, and I could barely breathe.”
She went on to write, “Not only was this annoying because I wanted to buy this dress, but so many women take what size dress they buy to heart. If I was one of these girls (thankfully I'm not) requesting a size 18 dress would seriously devastate me!”
In her Facebook post, Byrne showed how this seems to be a common problem among shoppers. “When I asked if this dress came in a 18 the store assistant said ‘ahh yeah you have to go up a couple of sizes with these.’A couple?!?” Byrne added. “Going up 3-4 sizes surely should make you realize that you need to seriously sort out sizing!!!”
Sizes do differ from one shop to another, and one country to another, but three to four sizes is an extreme case.
Byrne then shared the size of the dress she was wearing in the photo. “The dress I have on in these photos is a size 16, and I could barely breathe.” She added how annoying this was because she really wanted to buy the dress but this goes beyond the simple annoyance of not finding the right size that fits. Byrne writes how “many women take what size dress they buy to heart.”
Most of the people who reacted to the post gave positive comments. They agreed with the sizing issue possible making some customers feel bad about their body. Some also expressed agreement in the sizes being way off.
With the post going viral, the giant that is H&M could not ignore the post and a statement was issued. “H&M hugely values all customer feedback. It is only ever our intention to design and make clothes that make our customers feel good about themselves, any other outcome is neither intended nor desired. H&M’s sizes are global and the sizes offered in the U.K. are the same in all the 66 markets in which we operate in and online.”
The statement goes on to say how “there is no global mandatory sizing standard, sizes will differ between brands and different markets. Our dedicated, in-house sizing department works according to an average of the sizes and measurements suggested by the markets we operate in. H&M sizes are continually reviewed by our in-house sizing department.”
The company has not promised any changes in sizes and we can’t really sit and wait for them to do so. But what Byrne has done is bring awareness to the difference in sizes at H&M. More than that, this viral post can help make others who have tried buying clothing from H&M to not feel too bad about having to wear a bigger size.
There isn’t anything wrong with having to wear a bigger size. The fit of the clothes is more important than wearing a size 10 or 16. But the reality is that for some people, a bigger size can mean the difference between a good day and a terrible day.