I popped into M&S the other day and noticed a piece of POS encouraging women to ‘Drop a Dress Size’ in their new range. The body copy explained that you should buy the dress in your usual size and its cut and support would make you appear a dress size smaller.
M&S have quite clearly run with the dual insight that ‘women want to look thinner’ and ‘women want to fit into a smaller dress size’ and tried to kill two birds with one stone.
But I bet they won’t make a song and dance about their biggest marketing advantage of all – their women’s clothes are all a size bigger than the label states. I’m a size 10/12 everywhere on the high street except M&S, where I comfortably fit into their size 8. And for many women I’m sure there’s a certain satisfaction and feel-good buzz in fitting into a size smaller than usual.
I’d love to know whether this has been a happy side effect of tweaking their standard cut for a more apple shaped customer (for the benefit of my male readers I mean women who are thicker in the middle rather than the traditional hourglass shape), cutting more generously because their core customer wants a loser fit – or a calculated attempt to appeal to women who want to feel thinner and therefore better about themselves.
This false sizing simply serves to annoy me as there never seems to be any size 8s in stock, but I suspect there are a lot of women out there making the store their first port of call so they can stay (or drop to) that all important happy dress size number.