We all experience this at some point in our lives. Our weight going up and down like a yoyo. On top of this, we all worry about it but what is the point when you really sit and think about it? The average women’s dress size will change at least 31 different times in her entire adult life, whereas men experience this at least 24 times. As we get older, experience health conditions that can have an effect on our bodies, as nature changes our bodies when we get pregnant or just the natural changes for a women’s body as we get older, our bodies adapt to a lot, so surely our clothes should be adapting with us.
Designer Anyango Mpinga recognises this issue and how women’s bodies change all the time. “Strict sizes are not realistic. I make shirts loose-fitting, with extra allowance around the hips; certain shirts button at the sleeves or waist; a dress might include internal drawstrings. It just takes a small adjustment,” Mpinga cleverly points out, however a lot of women don’t realise how these small changes can help.
We might not even know about this but Anyango Mpinga isn’t the only womenswear designer engineering clothes to fit more women for a lot longer. Alexandra Waldman is the co-founder of the brand Universal Standard, where sizes range from 00 to 40. There is also Mara Hoffman who carries a 00 to a 12, but she came out with an extended range that includes sizes XXS to 3X, inside the shoulders there are lingerie loops, for women who have bigger bra straps to help hide them, as well as having detachable belts so you can adapt the waistline to suit you and elastic sleeve openings.
Now adaptable design is the new way forward, where a garment is created thinking about who is going to own that garment in the end. For designers who make adjustments in their designs to suit the people who buy them, it can create a feeling for consumers that designers know they exist and want them to wear the clothes.
Last year, Aja Barber created an adaptable capsule collection and collaborated with independent designer Lora Gene on the collection. Adaptability has always been a part of Aja Barber’s idea of creating sustainable fashion. “Giving people space to change a size or two allows them to keep the clothes for a really long time,” and this is true, if people can’t ft into their clothes after a month, they will more than likely end up in a landfill. Jess Sternberg created the size inclusive brand Free Label, for her “it’s an important aspect of sustainability to offer clothing that will work throughout your life. It will still work if you have a child, if you want more or less coverage with age, and if you lose or gain weight.”
For some adaptability could be seen as a pit stop for brands to create more inclusive sizes, rather than being treated as an alternative. What changes would you make to have a more size inclusive industry?