I found myself with a couple of hours to spare on Saturday so thought I’d do a bit of (child-free) shopping.  Have to be honest, not my most favourite hobby … find it more frustrating than fun these days.  And the following story is why.


It was a shop called Select – one of the shops on the High Street that sell cheaper clothes, but they do go up to the size 18 and beggars can’t really be choosers I suppose.   I had chosen a nice handbag and scarf for work then thought I’d attempt looking for some clothes.


Bearing in mind they do stock my size, why was it that everything I liked wasn’t available in an 18.  Literally everything.  The biggest size they had was a 16 and there were only a few of those.


As I took my items to the desk to pay, I debated whether it was even worth saying anything to the lady that served me but as she was a bigger lady herself (not as big as me) I thought that maybe it would be worth it.


I told her that there didn’t seem to be any clothes in the store that were a size 18.   She replied that would probably be because it was one of the most popular sizes and always sold out first.


Right.  So the shop recognises that there are women who are a size 18 that are interested in buying reasonably priced, moderately fashionable, clothes … and yet they only order such a small amount that they sell out immediately and aren’t therefore in stock for very long.


Now unless I’m being particularly thick (quite possible) this just makes no sense to me at all and only serves to highlight my fundamental issue with the whole ‘plus size clothing thing:’


A)  This particular store know that a size 18 is one of their most popular sizes (along with a size 8) so therefore why not just order more of that size?


B) Does this not prove that there is a definite shortage of clothes that fall into this demographic on the High Street ie. reasonably priced, moderately fashionable and in a plus size?


C) Is there anybody that feels like I do??   I sometimes feel like I am the only woman frustrated by this.


D) Do companies actually care that there is a frustrated demographic out there, of plus size women who have the money (albeit not a great deal) to buy clothes but struggle to find anything suitable?


I explained to the lady serving me that I was a freelance writer and often wrote about this subject and she suggested speaking to someone ‘up top’ but could I please be kind and say that the staff were very nice (which they were,) … but I would imagine she’s as frustrated as me.  I was the fifth woman THAT DAY to say the same thing to her.


So what’s the answer? I think I’ve moaned about this subject enough now – I reckon it’s time I put my money where my mouth is and see what the people ‘up top’ have to say about it. I’m genuinely interested because the solution just seems so simple to me I can’t believe companies are deliberately missing a trick.


I will keep you all posted but if anybody has any of their own stories to tell, please drop me a line – it will all help The Cause!







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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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  1. I so agree! I’m a size 16 and often find that many of my size doesn’t exist – especially in shops like New Look, River Island, Dorothy Perkins – you know, those middle of the road, supposedly trendy shops that we women are supposed to shop in because they are good for our image. Well they’re not good for our image because when you’re a size 16 and the biggest clothes on the racks are 12’s with an occasional 14 that you wouldn’t be seen dead in, you start to wonder if you’re in the minority and the fashion magazines that we are supposed to read and devour, are really for our own good, in order to make us feel like failure-fatties. I do like New Look but I hardly ever shop in ‘trendy’ shops these days. One of my favourite shops is Marks and Spencers because they stock my size and the quality is good.

    I do feel for some of these assistants, but they aren’t really trained to answer customer queries and to tell a customer their size is the most popular is just a very standard reply. If you’d have asked for a size 12, they’d have said exactly the same thing.

    Take it to the top. I’d be interested to see what they have to say, though I won’t my breath!

    CJ x
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  2. Hi Kate. This is one of the reasons I actually hate shopping. Looking at the sizing before the style or colour. 🙁

    I have bought some lovely dresses here recently (my fave is the midi dress in the bird print.

    Its sized a bit bigger than high street, and I have had to send a couple of bits back as its not all made well, but try the dresses – they are lovely, and make me feel beautiful.

  3. You know what gets me at times? The smirk, that nasty smirk that some shop assistants do when you ask if they have whatever in your size. Even though they have other items in that size…. The awful “I’m a size 10, you’re fat.Go wear a binliner” smirk. Or is it just me that gets that? I@m awfully polite when I ask as well *sigh*

    Yes 18 IS a popular size so order more in! It is not rocket science, it’s called supply & demand. People want it, you supply it.See, simples!

    Personally I refuse to buy any old thing just cos it’s the only thing that fits, this may make me fussy, but I know what I want and being on a severe budget I don’t and won’t buy just because.

    Gosh I should be in retail lol

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