Why are we so afraid of going a size up in clothes when boys literally don’t give a shit?


It happened last month and it had been a very long time coming.

I’m a size 14. Hear that everyone, i’m a size 14.

That feels like a massive thing to say and as I type it I’m flooded with disgust at myself. Last thing I remember I was a 15-year-old crying because although I wore size 10 Topshop jeans (FML, I can’t even imagine), my belly wasn’t toned like my friend’s (she was a national gymnast, and I was really good at Mario Kart 64, so you can sort of see how the difference in our stomachs MAY have occurred…). And now i’m here, only a size away from being the biggest size both Topshop and Miss Selfridge stock and it’s fucking terrifying.

I won’t lie to you, I would rather break an arm or lose my job then go up a dress size. And yes, I know that sounds pathetic and petty and idiotic, but still. The idea that people I went to school with could be Whatsapping each other full of LOLZ about how chubby I look on Instagram, or that my best friends will pull faces at each other after i’ve left them and say ‘so, err, is it just me or has Hannah gained weight?’ That. That thought is what kills me on the inside, I don’t want to be the chubby one. I want to be the cool, slim, pretty one, not the chubby, funny one.

Going up to a size 14 hasn’t been a sudden thing – I have this belief in my head that i’ve suddenly doubled in weight in a very short space of time and everyone will notice – the truth is that size 12 jeans have been gathering dust (and probs a spot of mould and cat hair) at the back of my drawer for nearly two years, many of my size 12 dresses will only do up if there’s three people helping me into said dress, and my size 12 pants have been digging into the band of fat around my midriff rather than sitting gracefully on it for quite some time.

It’s always been the way for me, and i’m sure for a lot of you out there, that you have this innate drive to eat healthily and go the gym when you’re single – maybe it’s because you have some stupid insecure belief that boys will flock to you if you drop a stone (this is me all over BTW), or maybe it’s because you haven’t got someone constantly whispering to you from across the sofa about ordering in an Indian and popping to the shop for snacks. FFS. But I am always at my heaviest when i’m in a relationship.

But now being in a place where i’m a ‘small’ 14, means that my clothes fit. I can eat a three course meal and not have to undo anything. They just fit regardless, and you know what? It feels like an absolute fucking relief – like taking your bra off at the end of a very long day. And I reckon I look nicer too, because there’s no back fat trying desperately to escape through my too-tight clothes.

The point of this post was actually not to go into so much detail about my growing body shape, but to compare our desperation at staying a small clothes size against the way men treat clothes sizing.

I wanted to pick up my boyfriend some new non-holey pants (soz, Chris for that share) and he has the tiniest bum known to man, so I was like ‘do you want small or medium?’ and he was like ‘no I want large, they fit better and don’t dig in’.

What a nice mantra we should all live by. The idea of going up a size because it might be more comfortable is something most of us would never consider. Fuck being a size larger than you need to be. But why? Why are we so afraid of it? Firstly, no-one else needs to even know that we’ve done it, and secondly, why does it even matter? Going up a size doesn’t change the body underneath the clothes, or for that matter, the person – so why are we so ashamed by our changing bodies?

I think, in a world where women are constantly being told to be greater than men, here is a situation where we should follow their lead. We should stop being afraid of what size clothes we’re wearing and stop wincing with horror every time something in our ‘size’ doesn’t quite zip up in the changing rooms. We should st0p defining ourselves as unattractive and disgusting just because we don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model naked (I mean I definitely do, I was just talking about you).

There’s more to life than hating your body.


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  • Kit

    My mother once told me the secret to happiness is going up a size. Since then she had been buying me clothes in a size bigger than I actually am and wear and they don’t fit! The mantra works for her. Saying that I often but jumpers a size or two bigger as I like them baggy. What frustrates me is when two items in the same shop in the same size come up different. For example Accessorize knickers. All this proves is that clothing sizes are arbitrary and should be used as a guide not a rule.

  • You are absolutely right. I would say I’m practically recovered from anorexia but the thought of going up a dress size (as I have a few pound left to gain) TERRIFIES me. Why?! I have no idea. It’s just a number. It does not define my happiness, and I really am happier than I have ever been right now. If I am buying clothes, why would I want to waste money on something that doesn’t even fit so that I can be a certain size. You fella is spot on with this, and if I go up a dress size – well, my body is obviously healthier there x

    • Lynn

      If you are looking for great support in recovery, check out youreatopia.com. I am now over nearly 4 years recovered from EDNOS/orthorexia.

  • Katie

    I have just had the same realization. As it turns out your clothes aren’t supposed to leave you with red indentation marks all over your body and trying on jeans in topshop is not actually supposed to make you cry.

    Going up a size has actually made me feel better about my body.

  • Rachael

    I also think you are spot on with this blog post. My mum has always been between a size 14-16 but feels some kind of embarrassment at the idea of purchasing a size larger. I tell her that no one needs to see the size that’s on the label except for you and if it fits well and makes you feel happy when you’re wearing it, then that is all that matters.

    I feel as if men have it a lot easier with their clothes being sized in S, M or L – as if there isn’t a stigma attached to it. I don’t think it bothers them if they have to pick up a size M or L as long as it fits. I know that’s the case with my husband. I do feel the fear however of going up a dress size. I remember the first time I had to buy a 10 in jeans from Warehouse at age 16 and feeling mortified by the thought! I have realised as I’ve got older however that what is a size 8 in Topshop would be a size 6 in Next; sizing differs by the shop.

  • Sammie

    I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the size of my clothes isn’t everything. So what if I buy a jumper or top a size bigger? Maybe I want it to be baggy! And you know what, I love it! There might be someone somewhere that would love to be my size. I have a boyfriend who loves my size. What more could I ask for?! 🙂

  • India

    I had this realisation moment in January that I was a size 14. Not by much, but basically my size 12 stuff was too tight – I think jeans don’t tell us lies like other pieces of clothing do!
    I decided I didn’t like it, basically because I felt sluggish and unhealthy. So I decided to do something about it – after a long 10 months of paying attention to my health and fitness, I’m 1.5 stone down, a size 10 and a dress size 8. But am I any happier than when I was a size 14? NOPE! Do I feel healthier? Yes…
    I made the choice back in January for health reasons, and although it’s lovely to get compliments, most people have said that they have only really noticed a difference in my face, as I didn’t look fat at all when I was a 14 or a 12. So….I guess what I’m trying (and failing) to say is that we shouldn’t be ruled by clothing sizes (which vary from shop to shop anyway – I swear French Connection have teeeny sizes), but how we feel and whether we are happy.

  • Gemma

    I am a 5.2 girl who has to wear heals to not feel like a total hobbit next to my friends. I remember when I was 16, one of my friends told me that I would look perfect body proportion as a size 6 for my height. I was size 10-12 at the time and I immediately stopped eating and became a size 8 within a few months. I have always thought that if I went back to size 10 clothing I would be failing at having the perfect body. Even when I gain weight, I just wear my size 8 dresses and leggings which stretch so I don’t have to buy size 10 for comfort. No matter what I do I can’t get my friends voice out of my head. My boyfriend is always telling me that I could become a size 16 and it would not make any difference to him. I read your post today and I really shouldn’t care about a number, I should care about my clothes being comfortable, and being content with my body for the way it is.
    You have changed my perspective. Thank you Hannah

  • Louise

    This is amazing! No girl has ever come up to me and complimented me on the size the label of my clothes says I am and nor have I ever done that to another girl! If you look and feel good in something, nobody gives a stuff! We can learn a lot about positive thinking from guys since they don’t overthink anything! I love your blog hannah, you talk so much sense! Keep making me smile xx

  • Fran

    Amen! <3

  • Harriet

    This was a relief to read! I love your work, Hannah, this article is certainly no exception!
    Thank you for being so darn real!
    I’ve gone up two sizes since my partner moved in with me and so had he haha! But we are happy in ourselves and each other, and pretty healthy too.
    Thanks again,

  • Kim Lucas

    I started buying clothes a size or two bigger a few years back as I like loose clothing, it also meant that when I started gaining the weight, I could still wear the clothes I loved without spending more money! I’m now a 14/16 and although I’d rather be a 10/12, I enjoy being happy so much more. I don’t want to read a blog by someone who isn’t realistic. I applaud you for being yourself and embracing it publicly!

  • This just cheered me up SO MUCH, I’ve gone from a size six (at seventeen) to a size 14 (at 22 after having two kids) and I always feel ridiculously self conscious about the label size, it’s nice to read a post like this (:

  • This is so important and something that I suspect just about every woman experiences at some point: one day, we wake up, realise that hey, our bodies HAVE changed since high school and maybe, just maybe, we should stop buying size 8 because “I’m a size 8, it’s WHO I AM” and actually take note of what our body actually looks like and buy some clothes that fit THAT body. The one we actually have. Not the one we wish we had, or the one we did have 10 years ago. The one we have. Right. Now.

    Now, I’m going to be a grown up and toss clothes that I will never, ever fit back into because I’m a 31 year old woman, not a 21 year old woman and, let’s face it, I could really use the closet space…

  • I’m totally with you, it’s a hard thing to come to terms with – but it’s because society says being chubby/fat is wrong and therefore people probably DO talk behind your back… it’s horrible but true! you look gorge whatever!
    new post; goo.gl/fb/4H9dqr

  • Catherine

    I’m 22 and am still struggling with accepting that I am never going to have the body that I think I want. I was born with boobs and big hips, not long legs and a slender waistline and the clothes I want to buy look a lot different on me than they do on the model wearing them. But this article makes me feel better, coming to terms with body shape and size is hard, especially if it’s been a struggle all your life – whether that’s being a little under or overweight – however, realising that your health is far more important than your looks is a much bigger and better understanding. Plus, my boyfriend who is naturally tall and slim says he loves the fact my body “jiggles” in places..hahaha x

  • First, and I know this is a cliché but meh, I think you’re beautiful.

    Secondly, if your friends would say those kinds of things behind your back then they’re more like ‘friends’.

    Lastly, did you see this article in the news this week about the Australian male news anchor who wore the same suit for a year to see if anyone noticed? Spoiler: no one did. Yet another difference between how men/women are judged in this world.

    Becky :: accooohtrements.wordpress.com

  • Iv just stumbled across your blog and loved this post! Im a size 12 and im not toned at all! Its true we worry too much x
    Emma | Emmys Blog

  • Oh this post is so full of truth! We put far too much pressure on ourselves. I find that I am also my heaviest when I’m in a relationship and it worries and depresses me that sometimes I feel envious of the days where I literally cannot stomach food because I am so emotionally un-happy. When I can basically feel the fat melting away because I haven’t eaten in 3 days and my stomach starts to feel concave…

    It’s sad that being skinny is such a big deal to so many people no matter how silly they know the notion is.

  • Alyce

    I love this post! You’re stunning!! 🙂
    I’m a size 8 (well I was) but size 10 fits so much better now. I cant let go of my size 8 clothes though, I keep telling myself I will train hard & eat better to get back to my old self. I cant even wear them though, they are too tight! 🙁 I love how your blog puts it all into perspective. We stop beating ourselves up about our weight when we just buy the right size clothing that looks great, instead of trying to squeeze into a smaller number that looks horrible. <3 to you!

  • From a fellow small-size-14-er (or rather – a 12 will fit in a nice stretchy New Look dress but LOL at Topshop jeans) – love this. You know what I hate? When people say ‘oh but you don’t LOOK like a size 14.’ What does a size 14 look like? A baby whale? Fuck off, it’s a dress size and it’s meaningless and I’m not clinically obese and I’d rather not be cut in half when I sit down to pretend I conform to some Cosmo’d up version of attractiveness.
    Rant over ! xx

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