Imagine a scenario.
You see a cute outfit online, you find the price reasonable but then you realize it says “free size.” What is your reaction?
“They are ridiculous,” said Noe Noe, who is tall and thick and tired of seeing online shops selling garments that come in one size. She continues, “I mean, those so-called free size clothes are generally very small.”
I don’t disagree with her. In fact, I’m not even as tall as Noe Noe in real life but I don’t normally fit in “free size” garments unless they are baggy shirts. But, it’d be unfair if I didn’t include a voice from counter perspectives (my inner journalist woke up) so I asked another friend of mine.
May, petite in figure, usually skips free sized garments when shopping. When I asked her why, she said, “They never fit me – they are big for me most of the time.”
This was a bit of surprise because I reckoned she would say that they fit her since she was obviously way smaller than Noe Noe and myself. So it’s true. There is no such thing as “one size fits all.”
In recent years, people across the globe have campaigned positive body standards with the rise of plus size and curvy models. The idea is for women to not be ashamed of and uncomfortable with their bodies but to embrace extra layers of their skins.
The concept did travel even to Myanmar that we could see actress Phway Phway’s clothing line produced large sized numbers named in “A Kate” which was Burmese slang for curvy women, which I really appreciated. Just like Phway Phway’s clothing line, I notice that Honey & Hannah Couture has various size options for customers to choose. Among many homegrown clothing lines, H&H offers sizes from XS to XL, where the former is equivalent to EU 32 and the latter to EU 54, which is a pretty wide range I must say.
Being an experienced and active online shopper, I have seen a couple of local fashion houses that only produce one size for each clothing piece which literally make me angry. In my opinion, when running a fashion business, producing same garment in different sizes is a must; it shouldn’t be an option if the owner respects women with various body types. One might argue that free size garments are usually made of elastic, stretchy materials so that every body type can fit but the loophole is even such stretchy materials have a point where they can no longer stretch.
To see things from a different perspective, it is eventually a risk for a local fashion startup or retailer to produce/invest in larger sized clothing when majority of Burmese women are small-boned. But again, just like Noe Noe mentioned above, clothing in the market these days are generally small, and I agree with her based on my personal experiences. I usually wear EU 36/38 or Small in US sizes but when I go shopping in some local shopping centers, I can hardly find a pair of pants that fits my waist. One time hunting a pair of denim at Taw Win Center, I was told by sales girls that they didn’t have my size and that they only sold Small and Medium sizes, and it was not even the first time that I was treated such way in presence of other customers in the shops. Little did those sales girls and shop owners know was that their responses mentally ached me very badly.
I was not even a plus size person but such verbal responses, judgmental looks over my body size had negative effects on me. There was a point in my life where I desperately wanted to lose weight that it stressed my daily decisions. There are countless girls in the world, struggling about bodyweight, having self-esteem issues and eating disorders just to meet the society’s beauty standards. Medically, having extra fats is not healthy for one’s body but what if our minds become unhealthy while trying too hard to keep our bodies “healthy.”
It’s important for a person to feel that they belong to the society they live in. That’s why “inclusiveness” and “diversity” are hot topics in democratic and liberal societies. We love it when international fashion industry is politically outspoken on such matters so maybe it’s time for some of our fashion startups and retailers to pay attention on all kind of women.
Fewer free size garments and more options for different body types. Less judgments and more appreciations for every woman.
Disclaimer: This article is NOT sponsored by both SYKO Collection and H&H Couture.