Measuring up…

Recently, a year after moving to Australia, our cash flow stabilised enough for me to indulge in some clothes shopping.

Like most things I do, having the money to go shopping was one thing but finding the time to schedule the shopping trip was another.

I finally managed to arrange an afternoon for Mr Mum’s gone 2 Aus to look after the children, and not wanting to mess around and waste time on the day, I decided to do some online research. My first questions was; what dress size will I be in Australia? Are dress sizes the same as the UK, US, Europe, or something completely different?

Women’s dress sizes in Australia

My research quickly revealed that when it comes to women’s clothes sizes, Australia suffers from the same affliction as other countries…women can’t rely on being the same size from one shop to another.

In theory, and according to the guide books I have, women’s dress sizes in Australia are the same as those in the UK (UK 14 = AUS 14), but several online conversion tools I looked at match Australian women’s dress sizes to those in the US (UK 14 = US \AUS 12). Inconsistencies like this didn’t bode well for my shopping experience…

Comparing Australian and UK women’s dress sizes

To try and make sense of it all, I compared Marks and Spencer (M&S – UK brand) with several brands over here: Target, Country Road and Jeans West. I can report that Target and M&S women’s clothing measurements tend to match. Country Road and Jeans West women’s dress sizes are often several centimetres larger than M&S which means they are closer to US sizing than UK; if you’re a size 14 in the UK you might fit into a size 12 in these stores. Confused? I was…

Mum’s verdict

After a successful shopping trip at Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney I’m certainly more familiar with women’s clothes sizes and brands than I was before.

My experience enforced my research; dress size measurements vary from shop to shop. I bought clothing from Target, Jeans West, Country Road and several different brands at Myer, and bought a pretty even mix of two dress sizes.

I hope this isn’t bad news for some readers but my feeling is that women’s clothing in Australia is often more roomy than the equivalent size in the UK; whilst I’d like to think I’ve lost weight I know that’s not the case!

On a positive note, trying to figure out the sizing didn’t bother me because I was having such fun exploring new stores. I’m no fashion guru but discovering all the new labels and designers has to be another perk of moving to Australia.

Shoes and Bras

Finally, some sizing conversions I found easier to understand.

  • Shoe sizes – if you’re coming from the UK just add “2” i.e. UK size 6 = AUS size 8
  • Bra sizes – cup sizes are the same but band sizes are labelled differently i.e. UK 36B = AUS 14B.
    UK 32 = Aus 10, UK 34 = Aus 12, UK 36 = Aus 14, UK 38 = Aus 16

Having bought shoes and bras since being here I’m confident these size conversions are correct – phew!

What do you think about women’s clothes sizing in Australia? Would you recommend Australian stores or designers that you didn’t know back home? Please share the knowledge in the comments below. Thank you.

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