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Clothing size chaos

CHOICE says it's time for a national sizing survey to see how we measure up

04 September 2016

Consumer group CHOICE believes it is time for a national discussion on how to fix clothing sizes in Australia, with dropping a dress size currently as easy as swapping stores.

The call comes as the Australian representatives of the International Organization for Standardization's clothing size committee, ISO TC 133 Clothing Sizing System, are set to meet in Sydney next week.

"Clothing sizes in Australia are all over the shop, with consumers struggling, in the change rooms and online, with inconsistent and confusing labels," says CHOICE journalist Kate Browne.

While this may suit the designers, who can manipulate sizing to give an instant 'feel-good' factor or deter the 'wrong' body shapes, consumers usually have to try a range of sizes to find the right fit.

When you consider the data that informed our previous national sizing standard was gathered by Women's Weekly  41 years ago, it's clear we need to size up the nation if we are going to solve this problem.

If industry could agree on sharing the data from a national sizing survey, it would have measurable benefits for the clothing industry and help inform the development of infrastructure and transport.

The good news is national sizing surveys, similar to what is needed in Australia, have been successfully conducted in Japan, UK, Spain, France, China, Germany and the United States.

"While we don't believe a mandatory standard is the answer, a national sizing survey, similar to those conducted overseas, would allow manufacturers to better understand the modern body shapes of consumers," Ms Browne says.

"This could empower manufacturers to provide better-fitting, flattering and more comfortable clothing – a win-win situation for both the industry and consumer."

Media contact:

Tom Godfrey, CHOICE Head of Media: 0430 172 669


Set up by consumers for consumers, CHOICE is the consumer advocate that provides Australians with information and advice, free from commercial bias. As vital today as when we were founded in 1959, CHOICE continues to fight for consumers and uncover the truth. By mobilising Australia's largest and loudest consumer movement, CHOICE fights to hold industry and government accountable and achieve real change on the issues that matter most.