I tried the same size jeans from eight shops to prove how ridiculous women’s sizing is

They say 28 inch waist and they’re lying

We all know that feeling, you’re now in the sixth changing room of the day, trying to find one simple pair of jeans that fit your waist, bum and legs equally whilst still being semi-comfortable and a style you like. Why is this so impossible? You start in Primark and you’re suddenly two sizes up, you then move to Zara and now you’re seven inches too short, then you go to Monki and they’re drowning you. How can a size 10 be so varied when they’re all apparently 28 inches?

It is a widely known fact that women’s clothes sizing is utter bullshit. One shop’s size 10 may be another shop’s 8 or 12. And sizing generally fails to take into account that women come in a wide range of shapes and sizes that don’t conform to a rigid set of measurements.

Enough is enough. If there’s this much difference between shops someone has to be lying. So I did a full investigation into eight UK retailers to find out once and for all: just how fucked is women’s clothes sizing? The answer is very fucked indeed.

Both L28 W28, and both sold on ASOS

I tried on jeans from eight UK retailers: Primark, M&S, Zara, H&M, Monki, Topshop, Levis, and ASOS. I’ve ranked them from most to least disappointing in sizing and how they fit. They were all either a size 10 or equivalent (so 28 waist or EUR38).

It is also important to note that I’m 5ft1 and probably a bit curvier than the average gal. I like to think this means that if I can find jeans to fit, then so can anyone. But also, this should not be taken as representative for all women as a pair of jeans will probably fit differently on every woman who tries them on.

Topshop (W28, L28)

Rating: 0/10 – these jeans objectively not a 28 inch waist

I was so relieved when ASOS bought out Topshop because for years I was a Joni jean addict. My inner rah was also thrilled when I saw that ASOS had started making flared Joni jeans. But then I tried to try them on and I couldn’t because they were so damn small.

These jeans looked tiny out of the bag but I knew Joni jeans stretched. However, being stretchy doesn’t compensate for jeans that are straight up too small. I measured them and they were just 12 inches wide when laid flat – so 24 inches in total.

H&M (Size 10)

Rating: 0/10 – also too small for the sizing

Again, these were so small I couldn’t even get them on! They looked small on the hanger but the label said super stretch. However, yet again, no amount of stretch will compensate for a pair of jeans that are objectively too small for the size. They were only 12.5 inches wide when laid flat, so 25 inches in total. It’s a no from me.

Primark (Size 10)

Rating 3/10 – they’d have looked great had they actually had some stretch

I used to work at Primark and there are three things I would NEVER buy from there: shoes, lingerie, and jeans. The denim used in Primark jeans is, in my experience, simultaneously thin and stiff which is a risky combo. Even though I tried to pick out the thickest pair, they were still unbelievably stiff and had no stretch in them whatsoever. I couldn’t quite manage to pull them up high enough because of the lack of stretch. So even though they looked quite wide on the hanger, they didn’t button which was very disappointing.

Zara (EUR 38/UK 10)

Rating: 4/10 – stiff and way too long but I love the colour 

I’ll be honest, I was very apprehensive about trying on size 10 Zara jean and even had a size 12 backup pair. The width sizing was less bad than I was expecting – still a bit snug, but better than I thought they would be. The material was also very stiff so they took took a bit of wiggling into.

Don’t worry, I’m aware how ridiculous the length is. Yes, I am 5ft1 and I knew straight leg jeans like these would be a challenge. But, they were an entire 6 inches too long. So, you’d need to be at least 5ft7 for these jeans to properly fit. However, average height for women in the UK is only 5ft4, so who are Zara making these jeans for? (If you’re interested, there’s an entire TikTok trend dedicated to it – and the answer is no one.)

M&S (10 Short)

Rating: 7/10 – great jeans but hard to get on

I was expecting M&S to be much further down the list. However, these jeans had shape enhancers in them and so were quite tricky t0 get on even if they fit well once actually on. Even though no one under the age of 55 has properly shopped in M&S in years, their basics – including jeans – are great quality. These jeans look and feel like they’d last a very long time.

ASOS (W28, L28)

Rating: 8/10 –  comfy and stretchy but the sizing definitely runs too big

Oh my goodness gracious me! These jeans were so unbelievably comfy. They’re mom jeans (which naturally sit a bit bigger on the waist anyway) but the waistband also had stretch in it. This avoided the dreaded problem all girls with a big bum know too well: knowing a pair of jeans will fit your waist but you just can’t get them on properly (I’m looking at you, Primark).

However, the reason they were so comfy, is probably because they were about an inch or two too big. I measured them and they were 15 inches laid flat – so, about 30 inches in total and six inches bigger than Topshop even though they’re from the same online store. I even wore these jeans out for dinner later that evening and they were still at least an inch too big even after the post-food bloat.

PS: they’re from a range called ASOS Design Hourglass and they’re the comfiest jeans you will ever own.

Monki (EUR 38)

Rating: 9/10 – fit well and colourful

A solid offering from Monki! They fit just right and had just the right amount of stretch in them. They also weren’t too long and didn’t need rolling up.

Levi’s (W28)

Rating: 10/10 – the perfect jeans with the perfect fit, and in a fun style and colour 

I love Levi’s jeans because you know what you get. They’re fab quality and you can tell they’ll last forever. The sizing was also great. They were comfy without being baggy or loose. Consistent af!

So, after trying on eight pairs of jeans from different stores, I feel like I can conclusively say that women’s clothes sizing is truly fucked up.

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