Have You Been Body-Shamed By The High Street?

Fashion, Uncategorized

Sifting through the racks in your favourite high street store, you feel that buzz of excitement at laying your hands on what appears to be the perfect garment. There’s an instant connection. It’s love at first sight. The elation, however, is short-lived – you get to the changing rooms only to discover that you can barely get the item over one limb. Yes, it is definitely your usual size, you’ve checked the label three times by this point. You wrestle with it for a bit before giving up, broken-hearted and half the woman you were when you walked in. I can assure you, you haven’t gained two stone over night, you are not fat, you are yet another shopper who has been body-shamed by the high street. It’s not you, it’s them.

As a human, who occasionally buys clothes, you’ll probably be familiar with the situation I am referring to and if you read the news or have a Facebook account, you’ll probably have heard of student, Ruth Clemens, who became a social media celebrity last week when her Facebook post to high street store H&M went viral. Ruth shared a photo of herself trying on a pair of supposedly size 16 jeans in the Manchester store, but despite only usually being a size 14, the photo clearly shows that the jeans barely make it over her hips. She posted the photo on the company’s Facebook page, alongside a strongly worded comment addressed to the store, bringing a number of issues to light, when she asks, “Am I too fat for your every day range?” and “Why are you making your jeans that are unrealistically small?”

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/student-slams-hm-sizes-jeans-11477647

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Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident. It seems that being body-shamed by the high street is a regular occurrence for women everywhere, as Ruth’s post was met with messages of support from high-street shoppers across the globe.

Hollie Wilson replied saying, “I’ve had the same problem. I am a size 10 (sometimes a 12 on the bottom, usually in Topshop) and couldn’t get their size 10.”

Emma Hall wrote, “I’ve had the same trouble in H&M. I’m a size 14-16 and can never find anything that fits. Their size 16 is like a size 10!! X.”

While Louise Fairbrass hit the nail on the head, writing, “So glad it’s not just me. I don’t ever buy bottoms from H&M as they are TINY sizes!!!!! It’s quite disheartening to fail fitting into a pair of trousers 2 sizes above what you normally wear. Such a shame H&M because some of your clothes are really nice….. i guess you only want single figure sizes wearing them?!”

I can wholly relate to these frustrations, as I’m sure many can. This post went viral just as I had returned from my own shopping trip, on which I found myself on the verge of tears in the changing rooms of Topshop, when the struggle to get a tank top (in my usual size 10) over my head left me in a rather compromising position. I will also admit to owning a pair of size 10 H&M jeans, which only make it out of the wardrobe on very slim days.

While I understand that sizing can vary depending on style, fabric and cut – the very excuse that H&M offered in their half-hearted apology to Ruth – it seems that this is an ongoing issue with certain stores, making their clothes in unrealistically small sizes. As the average women’s dress size in the UK is a 14, a hell of a lot of women are being persecuted, however unintentional it may be.

What saddens me is that it seems a lot of us have readily accepted the fact that in some stores, such as H&M (although they’re not alone in this,) the sizes are renowned for being too small and simply choose not to shop there. While some may think that this loss of custom is the comeuppance the store deserves, what I can’t help thinking is, why should we accept this? We should be able to enjoy the pleasure that shopping and clothes can bring, in any store, confident that when we head into the changing rooms with that great pair of jeans the sizing will be accurate and realistic. We shouldn’t have to forgo our favourite stores because the sizes are so ridiculously small. The high street is supposed to be the go-to place for real women of real dress sizes, affordable and accessible to all – sort it out please.

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Taking On Stoptober…

Features

stoptober1

I like to think of myself as a relatively healthy person. I eat my spinach, I drag myself out for a run a few times a week and of late I’ve even ditched the coffee. I make a conscious effort try to maintain my health as best I can in both the physical and mental aspects of my life, but as I sit here writing my blog, a blog which ultimately stands for the health of the body and mind, I feel a touch hypocritical. There is one thing about me which is not healthy in the slightest, I am (or was – can I say that yet or is it too soon?) a smoker. We all have our bad habits and this one has become mine.

Before I go on, I should set the scene a little. I’m not a packet-a-day smoker, I smoke on average maybe five a day – more if you give me alcohol. I have never really seen my smoking as an issue, I’ve never been one of those people who religiously tries to quit every Monday morning, I’ve always felt that if the time came when I didn’t want to do it anymore I could just, not do it anymore.

That time came the other day as I inhaled on my rather pathetic looking rolled up cigarette on my way home from work, and I thought, as I often do, “I’m not even enjoying this.” Later when I was scrolling down my Facebook timeline the advert for Stoptober popped up, it was decided.

There are endless reasons to give up smoking aside from the three choices the Stoptober App gives you, those being health, money and family. Of course I want to look after my health, save money and make all my Mum’s Christmases come at once, but I also wanted to set myself a challenge.

If I’m being totally honest, I suppose I wanted to see how easy it would actually be for me to stop, and at the end of day one I can tell you that the answer is not very, not very easy at all. It’s been an emotional day, I’ve gone from super positive and motivated, to pure self-hatred, to pretty much mourning the loss of cigarettes. It’s okay though, my app tells me that the first day is the hardest.

Robyn Lawley – Fashion’s Breath of Fresh Air

Fashion

Robyn Lawley

 

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Vogue-Australia-Features-Plus-Size-Model-Robyn-Lawley-3

 

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Robyn Lawler: chair

 

The strikingly beautiful model in these photographs has modeled for Ralph Lauren and appeared in Vogue. She is Robyn Lawley who, at 6ft 2in and 12st is classed as a “plus-size” model. Since appearing on the cover of Vogue Italia, Robyn has won various awards for her work and now has her own swimwear line and food blog. She has defied all obstacles of today’s fashion industry to become a supermodel who is recognised for her jaw dropping features and indisputable talent, rather than her size zero frame. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that she is a downright inspiration to all women alike.

However, it would seem not everyone agrees. When a photo of Robyn wearing a corset was posted on Facebook recently, users replied with an array of hurtful comments such as “Pig” and “too fat.” This is because, despite having more sex appeal than all the models at fashion week put together, Robyn doesn’t have a “thigh gap.” Yes, like the most, her thighs touch, but according to the latest women’s body craze this is just not acceptable, even though, for most women, a “thigh gap” is a physically impossible body shape to achieve.

Robyn’s response to the comments was sensational, writing on the Daily Beast ‘You sit behind a computer screen objectifying my body, judging it and insulting it, without even knowing it’ and ‘The truth is I couldn’t care less about needing a supposed “thigh gap.” It’s just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying to use to keep me from loving my body. Why would I want to starve and weaken my natural body size?’

It is responses like these which lead me to believe that Robyn truly deserves to feature on the fashion covers she has graced and has every right to travel the world enhancing the truthful idea, that healthy is beautiful. These are the exact views and attitudes that the fashion industry should be encouraging.

The fact that Robyn Lawley is classed as a “plus-size” model means, shamefully, she might never be “perfect” in the critical eye of the public, but in my eyes she is the most refreshing supermodel out there.

 

The Tracking Debate

Fitness

In an age of ever expanding technology, are fitness trackers and Apps a motivational tool for monitoring our progress or an express ticket to obsession?

 

 

This is a question which is difficult to answer and a great cause for debate. Like anyone, I have found myself filled with excitement when downloading calorie counting Apps to my iPhone and I can’t leave the house for my run without setting my Nike Running App first – it is a great motivator! However I feel that, as with everything, it may have been taken too far.

UP by Jawbone, is a new health monitoring bracelet which is with you literally 24 hours a day. Finally! A 24/7 personal trainer! You might think, but as well as motivating you with high fives and encouraging “Amazing”’s and providing you with great accuracy on how long you’ve slept, how long it took you to fall asleep, whether you’ve reached your step goals, to name just a few, UP also has the potential to torment you with guilt, obsession and quite possibly make you lose your mind.

It is quite simple, all you have to do is sync the bracelet with your iPhone a few times a day and you    can see your sleep patterns and step count compared with what you have ate and drank and if you like the thrill of the game, you can even monitor your UP friends progress on a Facebook-like feed.

The primary aim of trackers and Apps like this is simple, to improve health and fitness, which I believe is of the upmost importance. Is this healthy though? Where it might have an – at least short term – impact on physical health (anyone being tracked 24 hours a day will surely make a conscious effort to be the best they can be), I seriously doubt it can have any positive impact on mental health, in fact, I’m pretty sure any impact it has on the mind, will be quite the opposite. 

UP isn’t the only one of kind by a long way, with $800 million sales of wearable sensors in the US last year, and for the many who aren’t willing or simply can’t afford the prices that bracelets like these cost, there is an ever growing collection of mobile Apps to download which do more or less the same thing, just less accurate and intensified. 

 

Nike Running+ App

Nike Running+ App

Argus App

Argus App

 

Argus App, water reminder

Argus App, water reminder

Constantly checking what you have eaten, excessive exercise in order to meet goals, comparing your fitness progress with other people’s. These are all things which in the real world are considered unhealthy, obsessive and disordered eating behaviour. Like it or not, the trackers are here to stay and the boundaries or self-tracking are only ever expanding, but if you want my advice, I would tread carefully.