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In The Swim Blog

That's about the size of it...

 by swimwearplus on 02 Oct 2015 |
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Vanity sizing - it's an issue that has become so widespread (no pun intended, honest ;-) that we really don't know what size we are.

Also known as 'size inflation', vanity sizing is best described at Wikipedia as, "... the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing of the same nominal size becoming bigger in physical size over time... Some argue that vanity sizing is designed to satisfy wearers' wishes to appear thin and feel better about themselves."

Vanity sizing has become a common practice in Australia, but it's more prevalent and with greater differences in plus sizes, particularly with retailers that cater exclusively to the plus size market.

So... what size are you?  It wasn't so long ago that I could say, without fear of contradiction, that I was a 'standard' size 24.

That's because there was a size coding scheme for women's clothing (Australian Standards 1344, last revised 1997) until it was withdrawn in March 2009.  It was a voluntary code that designers and manufacturers could use, interpret or ignore.  It was far from perfect (more on that at a later date) but at least it was some sort of a guide.

Fast-forward six years to 2015 - sizing has become arbitrary and erratic... almost random.   Confession: I've gained a few centimetres since I was a standard size 24 (gained, lost, gained, LOL).  Enough to go up at least one 'standard size' - yet my 'size' varies from a 20 to 28, depending on where I choose to shop.  Yes, a five size label variation. Contrary to the notion that it "makes me feel better about myself", it only serves to confuse and frustrate.

Here at Swimwear Plus, we have continued to interpret sizes fairly closely to the measurements in the Australian standard.  We've noticed that other Australian swimwear-specific retailers and manufacturers have done the same.  Swimwear is, after all, intimate apparel and you'll have noticed that bra sizes haven't been a victim of size creep to any great extent either.

But - and this is where it gets tricky - the small ranges of 16+ swimwear from manufactured by/for many plus size specialty stores and department stores are vanity-sized (and, I guess, that's to stay consistent with their vanity-sized garments).

I'm sure we lose sales over our decision to assess size to the standard that was used (with little change) for over forty years.  It's why I sometimes agonise over responding to a Virtual Fitting request where, for example, the writer professes to be a size 18... with measurements in excess of my own, :-(

There's an argument that "Swimwear and lingerie are both a little behind the times when it comes to updating their specifications" (SMH, 30 Nov 2014) but we believe that, when the added element of body length plays an important part in the sizing equation, consistency is vital.

At the end of the day, it's numbers on a fabric tag.  But they clearly have the power to elicit an emotional response...we've fielded vehement contact messages, proclaiming "shock" at the size that our chart assesses the writer's measurements.  And it's that emotional response that the practice of vanity sizing plays to...

Tips for getting a great fit at Swimwear Plus: every swimsuit has a corresponding size chart... brave the tape measure and check your measurements.  If in doubt, consult our Sizing page and send us a Virtual Fitting request.  And, most importantly don't let numbers on a size label dictate your self worth.

Sizing variations, size creep and vanity sizing is occuring across all women's sizes in Australia - there's an interesting article at Choice that reflects the frustration felt by many women at the absence of a national size standard.

We unapologetically support that point of view.
 

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Swimwear Plus is located in Australia... for Australian plus size women.  We understand that shopping for a swimsuit can be daunting – change-rooms are often a self-conscious experience. Shop online for plus size swimwear in the privacy and comfort of your home, using our size charts and virtual fitting service.  Due to the stretchy nature of the fabric, getting a great fit is simpler than you’d imagine.  We offer personalised attention - we know women, we know plus size and we know swimwear.

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Swimwear Plus stocks a range of curvy plus sizes (18 20 22 24 26) and extra plus for full figured ladies (28 30 32 34 36) as well as a small range of standard sizes (10 12 14) for the woman who prefers a little more coverage.  Sizing is generous, and we cater for modest or sexy... sporty or glamour.

Our range features flattering styles and colours to accentuate your positives and disguise those other parts.  Colour, cut and style can help to minimise hips, cover thighs, enhance your bust and trim the tummy.  Some quality features include power net mesh for support, low cut legs and cupped bra or underwire.

Australian girls have a special connection with swimwear, and many different names for the Aussie Cossie: bathers, togs, swimmers, bathing costume, one piece, two piece, bathing suit, swimming cozzie.  Call it what you like, the swimsuit is a much loved part of our beach culture!

If you prefer the pool, you’ll find a selection of chlorine resistant swimwear and Speedo racers – perfect for aquarobics or hydrotherapy.  Whether swimming or sunning, a cover up is the perfect addition to your Summer wardrobe.

We have your favourite styles: swimdress, tankini, skirtini, shortini, maillot (traditional tank style), sarong front, legsuits, board shorts, separate pieces, swim dress... and plus size maternity.  Halter neck, bandeau, strapless, wide straps, racer-back, blouson – Swimwear Plus has got you covered.

All swimwear orders include a leaflet on how to best care for your new swimsuit... to make sure you get the longest wear from your quality garments.

Visit Swimwear Plus to find fashion swim suits and designer styles at reasonable prices – make the most of your curves and flatter your body shape with a well fitting swimming costume.