A Fashionable Dilemma: Sizing and the City

When I moved from England to Singapore, one of the things I was pleasantly surprised by was its cosmopolitan vibes and westernised culture. It’s truly a shoppers paradise, filled with all the familiar brand names from home (Zara, H and M, Mango) as well as American brands that were not so easy to get hold of, such as Forever 21, Sephora, Victorias Secret – (spare me, I moved away from London before VS opened it’s stores in Westfield). Shopping malls here abound with a frequency you just don’t find in England – there are retail centres and outlets in virtually every small town (think every tube stop for London). To cut a long story short: for the girl who loves for shop, I was spoilt for choice….

However, my fantasy retail heaven was short-lived. I discovered a BIG problem…ME. All 52 kg, 114 pounds, British UK Small of me. Now, you may think I’m joking or exaggerating here but seriously, come to Singapore and find out for yourself. As a UK dress size 6-8 and 26-27 waist, I’ve always pretty much been sample size back home, and had no real trouble finding my sizes in shops apart from during sales. All of a sudden, I am considered virtually plus-sized!

(Cue angry face) 

Here in Singapore, sizing is a completely different kettle of fish. I feel like I’ve stepped into another world. Suddenly, all the normal labels don’t fit me. I’d be lucky enough to find a pair of size 8 trousers, let alone get them up past my knee. A dress size small in Zara? Here, equivalent to UK size 4-6. Teeny tiny. And please, don’t even get me started on my shoe size. In South-East Asia, my (once) modest size 38 feet are now of gargantuan elephant proportions – I pound the streets looking for a shop that even bothers to stock THAT size (the average shoe size in Singapore is 35-36…*rolls eyes*)

I know – some of you readers may be thinking – ‘well, this is a bit of a superficial thing to write about, just ignore the label and be done with it’ – indeed, I’ve also thought along the same lines, ‘Oh Susannah, just suck it up and buy that pair of Nike running shorts in a size large’, but its easier said than done. As a woman, I can be quite sensitive about my size (although I’ve become a lot more relaxed over the years). And yes, I know I’m stubborn, but I think having to adjust to a completely whole new wardrobe size is taking things to another level.

After a month of this same scenario reoccurring again and again, I’m stuck at a dead end and starting to feel pretty desperate.

Readers, I ask for your help! How would you cope if you were stuck in this sizing rut? Please cast your votes on the poll below.      


How would YOU cope in Singapore?
Lock myself in the gym
Keep calm and eat a doughnut
pollcode.com free polls 


  1. Anonymous
    October 14, 2012 / 3:11 am

    I'm a local here in Singapore and just a teen and I absolutely hate the size of clothes and shoes here. It's like it's expected for everyone to be a super small or you're just extra big!! I just shop whenever I'm in Australia or online, they have better sizes in a way. Hope this problems for you can be settled though! 🙂 xoxo

    • October 18, 2012 / 11:59 pm

      Thanks for the comment and information! It is very annoying that different countries seem to tailor their clothes to different sizes. If only there was universal ground!


    • October 19, 2012 / 12:01 am

      (And its also comforting to hear there are Singaporeans out there who find the same problem as I do!)

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