A Guide to Clothing Imprisonment?

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ASOS, usually the answer to all of our styling woes and fashion emergencies, now has to answer to much more. Owing to the brand’s latest sizing feature, it has become the victim of a harsh, although somewhat warranted, backlash.

Assumingly in a bid to ease the shopping process and avoid the awkward struggle that is tackling sizing, ASOS now recommends a size for its shoppers.
This suggestion is based on data it has collected from previous orders and returns. So it could, in fact, be a very helpful tool. Some users have welcomed the process. It is comforting to know that ASOS values our custom and has taken note of changes we’ve made to returns.

However, the vast majority are very disgruntled by the new instrument. True, it could save a few seconds, not having to select your own size. But really, are those extra few seconds really worth the possible offence they may cause? Not to mention that users will probably actually spend the same amount of time ensuring the computer has formulated the correct size.

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Considering the database calculates the sizes you have previously bought, you might imagine that the suggestions are very much in line with your body and how comfortably you like to dress. However, customers have already found multiple inaccuracies with the tool.

One customer took to Twitter to convey her bemusement. She told followers that despite a size 12 being far too big at the waist, yet comfortable on her hips, ASOS was suggesting a size 14. And there are so many women that are in (or certainly would be if they attempted to use the new feature) the same position. We have reached a state in society where the female body is finally being celebrated as a unique and marvellous form. So, despite whatever ASOS’ intentions were, it can seem a little backward.

All women are different, and very few are blessed with the opportunity to simply order one size, knowing it’ll fit and compliment all her assets perfectly. There is generally a level of acceptance now that sizes are quite arbitrary and shopping is just a relentless struggle and exploration of style and size. Therefore, it seems bizarre that ASOS are almost fighting the progression within society. Surely by predetermining sizes for its customers, they are making themselves completely responsible for ill-fitting clothes?

The idea that a computer generator may be able to select the fit of your clothes better than you can yourself is to some, quite offensive, rather than a time saver or buying enticement. But selecting one’s size could actually go one step further and be quite damaging. It may sound ridiculous to imply that this tool could have such an adverse impact. But consider an eating disorder sufferer in remission. Owing to their current wardrobe, they would circumscribe a certain size. If in recovery, they may be moving towards a much healthier size, but the suggestion that they should be retaining their old body may be extremely damaging. This is, in fact, true for anyone, not just those susceptible to eating or body dysmorphia.

Being bound to a past figure is not healthy. It is not a celebration of femininity and it does not align with progressive liberating fashion. It is a great shame that something implemented as a mere shopping tool may have such a significant impact on the way women choose to shop and view themselves.

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Who knows, maybe this will be the future of online shopping. Although it seems unlikely, maybe ASOS’ function will prove to be an exciting revolution. We’d love to give them the benefit of the doubt, but sadly don’t imagine many brands to follow suit.


Words: Steph Ryan

Hashtags: #ASOS #sizing

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