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Monday
Feb202012

"Yes, We Carry Your Size"

Argentine Mannequins: Size 46 (L) vs. "One Size Fits All" (R) Photo Credit ©Sharon HaywoodBy Sharon Haywood, Director of AnyBody Argentina

In Argentina, I’m a size 44 (UK 16/US 14)[1]. I feel branded by this number. Last year when I was searching for a wedding dress, all I had to do was observe the saleswoman’s reaction when she looked my way and I knew that I wasn’t going to find anything. Almost always, I heard the same worn-out phrase, “We don’t carry your size.” In the majority of shops I’m lucky if I fit into the largest size. In other stores, they only offer “one size fits all”: sometimes it fits; a lot of the time it doesn’t. In spite of all this madness, I don’t have a problem saying that I use a size 44. I am one of the majority, I am part of the average female population. Even though I’m Canadian, I’m also of Italian descent and short in stature, so as long as I don’t speak, people think I’m Argentine. But many Argentine women have bodies similar to mine and they’ve said they would like to lose weight to be able to fit into a size 42 or even a 40. Others say that 38 is their ideal size.

This is what AnyBody Argentina’s[2] ongoing investigation has revealed after surveying hundreds of women between sizes 36 and 54. Through our research we discovered that more than 50% of women would like to drop a dress size. As well, approximately 65% have trouble finding fashionable clothes that fit. If we combine this information with the extreme lack of size law compliance[3], and the fact that eating disorders for Argentine girls and women are at epidemic levels, what we have is a profound health crisis.

When considering how to attack the issue of retailers not respecting the size law, we were guided by the quote commonly attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In this spirit, we decided to take a different route. Instead of punishing the brands with fines, we choose to congratulate those that are making a sincere attempt at complying. In July of 2011 we launched our campaign with the objective of positively contributing to the health of girls and women by singling out the brands that respect body diversity. Consumers can identify these retailers via the AnyBody sticker featuring the internationally recognized female symbol in shop windows. When we launched the campaign, we congratulated two Argentine brands, VER and Portsaid, and now we are extremely proud to add another national retailer, Yagmour, which now offers various items that range between sizes 38 and 54. Furthermore, Yagmour is committed to work with AnyBody Argentina until it achieves 100% size law compliance.

On a personal note, I am thrilled that these brands provide me with a wide variety of the latest fashions so I can now avoid the trauma of being rejected. It’s important to underscore that our campaign is designed for all women who fall within the average, in other words, women who wear up to a size 52 or 54. They only need to come across our pink sticker and they can be sure to hear, “Yes, we carry your size.”

 * * *

Página 12, a leading national Argentine daily newspaper, published the original article on January 13, 2012 in Spanish titled “65% of Women Have Problems Finding Clothes in Their Size”

 


[1] When shopping in North America I typically wear between a size 6 and 10, much smaller than is indicated in conversion charts revealing sizing issues are not just an issue confined to Argentina.

[2] Part of the global campaign www.EndangeredBodies.org.

[3] The current law in the province of Buenos Aires mandates that stores offer most clothing items in standardized sizes of 38 to 48.

Reader Comments (8)

It's not just larger sizes, but smaller ones too. I've been as small as a 00P (yes, double zero petite), but even then, it's possible that the piece is just a little bit too big. But apparently, I'm not allowed to complain because I'm slim. It's no wonder that petite bloggers, especially small framed petite bloggers don't get much press, even if we're growing in number.
February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia
You can learn more about our campaign (in Spanish and English) at www.AnyBodyArgentina.org.
February 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Haywood
Thank you Sharon for positively making a difference and a statement in Argentina so women can buy clothing that fits their body. It is beyond understanding why stores in Argentina would not carry all sizes, this is a terrible statement about the value of women. I'm so grateful that you are there doing this important work.

Becky Henry
Hope Network, LLC
Educating Families and Health Care about eating disorders
February 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecky Henry
Sharon (and I guess, Becky), just by not addressing MY comment says a lot about how shorter women (especially shorter, smaller framed women) are treated by body image activists and specialists.

Just saying.
February 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia
Dear Cynthia and Becky,

Due to a website glitch, we were only able to approve your comments (and many others people's comments) *just* now. Our apologies for the delay.

Cynthia, you have every right to give a voice to petite women who have difficulty finding clothes and we appreciate your concerns. In relation to my article about sizing in Argentina, the fashion industry glorifies smaller sizes in that up to 70% of women cannot find clothes to fit, which is clearly the majority of female consumers. We are not minimizing your concerns but rather focusing on issues that are affecting most women. Unfortunately, that may exclude people at the very extremes of the size spectrum, which I suspect is your case. We are more than happy to have you post your articles on our Facebook page to increase exposure but we also ask you to appreciate our limitations.

Becky, many thanks for your comments and ongoing support. Yes, you are completely right: by not addressing the needs of almost 3/4 of the women in Argentina, the fashion industry is sending a potent message - one that reflects the machista / chauvinist attitudes so integral to the culture.
February 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Haywood
The size epidemic is taking over every country in the world. I'm very sad to hear about yet another country being added to the list. I've never been to Argentina and I was not aware of the status of fashion and retail there. What a great thing you're doing. When you clean up there, you should come to America to help. If I see one more malnourished, boney model, watch as women below 100 pounds walk out of stores with the latest fashions, when I can find nothing to cater to my size (size 7 here), or feel as if I have to starve myself to be beautiful, I think I'll lose my mind. It's pitiful and disgusting that women who, clinically, are of average, healthy weight have to feel so terrible about themselves because society dictates it. This fad began so long ago and just grew worse and worse to the point it is now over the decades. I'm very sad to see that this is all over.
March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I'm very grateful for your initiative and totally agree with the change in the approach, however, there are some things that I would like to share.

I had the opportunity to buy clothes in the US and any 14 size of any store fits me perfectly. In Portsaid, Ver or Yagmour, nothing is even close to an American 14 or 16 size. The 48 of these brands is barely the equivalent of a 10 size. They just changed the numbers of their clothes and added some tags to make you believe they have normal sizes.

And in those really unusual cases when they have something like a 14, the clothes are plain, dull and basic; no design for curvy bodies at all. Just enough to get you decently covered.
April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCintia
Hi Cintia,

Sizing changes. If I bought true vintage clothing from, say, the 1960s that would fit me perfectly, I'd probably be buying a 6 or an 8. You know what that size is in 2012? ZERO, sometimes DOUBLE ZERO or even non-existent (i.e. sized out). The primary purpose of doing this is to make women happy. However, what does it do to those who are very small?

Cynthia
April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

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