Human inflation

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The first British sizing survey for half a century is a serious threat to the self-esteem of almost every man and woman in this country.

The first British sizing survey for half a century is a serious threat to the self-esteem of almost every man and woman in this country. That your average Briton has grown bigger and taller with each year is a matter of record in which we can all take a measure of pride. That we are also fatter is something we would rather keep to ourselves.

We prefer to imagine that bus and plane seats have mysteriously contracted, that jeans have shrunk in the wash, and that everyone else has filled out, not us. The clothing manufacturers, well aware of the power of flattery, have fostered our self-delusion.

As bodies have got bigger, so they have adjusted their sizing accordingly. No "extra-small" for men; no "outsize" for women. A woman size 12 of only a few years ago now fits effortlessly into a size 8; the corresponding dimensions in centimetres and inches on the labels are in print too small to read. Completing the conspiracy are the fitting-room mirrors that show us as tall and as slender as we fancy we are.

The sizing survey presages a hard landing indeed. Self-knowledge and honesty are admirable qualities, as is a national standard for size 12. So long as everyone calls it an 8.

Comments