Three things that are wrong with the fashion industry

As you can probably tell, I love clothes. I think of what I wear as decorating myself – I love to be creative and to show my personality with the things that I put on my body.

BUT (and here it comes) I loathe fashion. Hate it (ever noticed how we have a style section rather than a “fashion” section?). Fashion magazines, for example, are designed to make people on normal salaries with normal bodies feel like shit. Every time I pick up a fashion magazine, I feel like I’m repeatedly bashing myself over the head with the not-good-enough stick. So here are the things I think are inherently wrong with the fashion industry right now (excluding the big questions of ethical production and that side of things – that’s a whole other post).

Sara Gibbs - vintage floral cardigan - Darling Lovely Life blog - Three things that are wrong with the fashion industry

Clothes are designed for toddlers

No, seriously – the fashion industry churns out clothes for one body type only: straight up and down, completely proportional and (most of the time) entirely flat chested. Here’s a typical changing room dilemma for me:

“Should I get the ten or the fourteen? The fourteen will fit over my boobs but drown my waist. The ten will hug my waist but oh DEAR GOD it looks like I have one, giant, flat boob! The twelve is a happy compromise, I guess… It’s a bit too tight on the bust and a bit too loose on the waist but I guess… oh man I’M A FREAK *hysterical tears*.”

The truth is I’m not a freak – I’m a normal person with an average body type. Lots of women have a larger bust than the rest of their body. I barely know anyone in perfect proportion. In fact, most women I know hate shopping for that very reason. Yet the fashion industry continues to flood shops with identikit bizarre samples for the minority of people with a model’s body.

Sara Gibbs childhood photo - Darling Lovely Life blog - Three things that are wrong with the fashion industry

My personal style may not have changed much, but my size has! (That’s me on the left)


Need I say more? What exactly is the point of trends? The most stylish people I know are the ones who have cultivated their own, unique and personal style. When I polled my readers, 80% said they have their own sense of style and will only incorporate trend pieces if they fit in with their wardrobe.

That’s why I love shops like Anthropologie, Free People and Monsoon – I’m sure they have to subscribe to the trend monster in some way, but their own brand identities surpass the need to desperately fill their floors with the latest must-have item – when I think Anthropologie, for example, I think of a look – their distinct brand look, regardless of what’s in season. I wish all shops were like that. Love the whimsical, lace thing? There’s a shop for that. Love tulle skirts? There’s a shop for that. How great would that be? I reckon it would drastically increase sales AND that shopping would be a much easier and happier task if you know where to look for the type of thing you love.

Cats - Darling Lovely Life blog - Three things that are wrong with the fashion industry

The pressure to be perfect

It’s summer. I’d like to wear some sandals. Except holy shit, I haven’t had a pedicure. What about those shorts? Crap, time for a leg wax. For every item of clothing I even think about wearing, there’s another consideration – camel toe, VPL, armpit vaginas (seriously) and all the other disparaging, disheartening things the fashion media have invented to make us feel crap enough to buy more crap that’s supposed to make it better.

For me, wearing clothes is all about feeling good and projecting your personality through your own, unique sense of style – not squeezing yourself into badly fitting sample sizes and creating more anxiety. That’s just no fun.

So that’s what’s wrong with the fashion industry – let’s start a fashion revolution, one where individuality is celebrated, not quashed, clothes are made for all sorts of body shapes and you can find the stuff that you like in places that specialise. Wouldn’t that be grand? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box!

18 Comments on Three things that are wrong with the fashion industry

  1. Tjasa
    May 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm (5 years ago)

    Why do you think all the models look like 14-yr old boys? My wild guess is because most of the designers are gay…*disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against gays, quite the opposite, i am big equality supporter* But when they use a guy to present women’s clothes and make it sound as if ‘this is the new normal’, i’d like nothing more to slap them and send them off to fantasy land where they belong.
    There is a reason why the most enduring sex symbols are curvy and not walking skeletons.

    Rant over…

    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      May 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm (5 years ago)

      Hmmm I disagree that it’s anything to do with sexuality. I think it’s much more worrying that body types come in and out of fashion rather than the industry accepting that people just have different types of bodies… x

  2. Laura M George
    May 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm (5 years ago)

    I’m really sorry if this already posted but I couldn’t see it even awaiting moderation.

    Thank you for this post. But can we please discuss the cost of fashion (which you touch on briefly at the start!) It’s ridiculous. For example Glamour magazine costs £2 (I’d say thats pretty affordable especially compared to other fashion magazines) BUT then you open it up and advertised in there is fashion with price tags that read £POA. I can just about afford the odd Topshop purchase (that’s as a student with next to zero income/reserves so I know I’m not necessarily reflective of the general public) but most of my fashion comes from New Look, Primark and actually. charity shops and yet we never see them advertised in glossy magazines?? Sorry, i’ve been sat on this a while!

    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      May 30, 2014 at 8:37 am (5 years ago)

      Hi Laura, welcome to our little community :) I completely agree with you, the prices of fashion are ridiculous, but I didn’t get into that because that brings up a whole load of questions about ethical production, sweatshops, labour and so on that I didn’t want to address in this article as it would have been about ten pages long. However, it’s a really interesting question – how can we bring down the price of clothing without doing so in a way that exploits people? Definitely a question for another post. Thanks for the comment, please do come back and visit :) xx

      • Laura M George
        May 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm (5 years ago)

        Thanks for your comment Sara. I think obviously I’m concerned about the ethics behind fashion and the prices workers are being paid. But my comment was more in agreement with your first line “fashion magazines are designed for people on a normal salary… to feel shit” Why sell an affordable magazine and fill it to the brim with expensive/unobtainable clothes? I’ve written a blog post which I’ve yet to publish but wil share it with you when I have. Thank you for your lovely blog.

  3. Nikki Ward
    May 29, 2014 at 6:07 pm (5 years ago)

    Totally with you on almost every point in this article hon … the only thing I would point out, having worked in the retail industry and studied fashion illustration at university … is that shops really do try their hardest to cater to as many people as possible, but in the end to offer clothes at the price points that most people can afford they have to create some sort of ‘average’ to work to. It is incredibly frustrating .. I myself have a tiny bust but big hips so can totally sympathise with that awful feeling in the changing rooms … however, high street stores can’t financially create clothes in shapes and sizes to suit all shapes … this would essentially be ‘couture’ clothing and this of course is why you pay massive amounts of money for tailor made fashion.
    Other than that I’m totally with you on not following trends but fitting those you like within your existing style, and I also completely agree that the models many shops use are not proportionally representative of their target market. Yes Topshop’s target market is 14-21 year olds but not all 14-21 year olds are sporty beanpoles as you say so they should use a wider range of models.

    (Sorry for the essay by the way!) x

    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      May 30, 2014 at 8:35 am (5 years ago)

      Haha Nikki I was expecting something totally offensive after your tweet. Yes, a pipe dream, I know, but even a “busty” section or making clothes out of stretchier, more malleable fabrics would help. If brands like Pepperberry can do it on a small scale, I wonder how clothes could be made more accessible on a wider scale :) and never apologise for your opinion or for an essay – we like essays here xxx

      • Nikki @KnotsAndKisses
        May 30, 2014 at 8:41 am (5 years ago)

        Here’s hoping a high street store finds some way of doing it in an affordable way in the future xx

  4. Lottie
    May 29, 2014 at 11:47 pm (5 years ago)

    I have to ask… What is an armpit vagina?!?!

    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      May 30, 2014 at 8:36 am (5 years ago)

      Haha apparently it’s when your armpit creases in a way that looks like a vagina. A concept clearly invented by geniuses the world over. xx

  5. Nova-Nu Bride
    May 30, 2014 at 9:27 am (5 years ago)

    Lol! Your last comment made me chuckle.

    Ok. Lots of juicy points to discuss….. I think in reality asking high street stores to be more inclusive with their sizing would be an impossible feat at a realistic price point. However, since we have bras in a huge variety of sizes I wonder if there could be a clothing range introduced by bra size rather than waist? I have no idea if that could work just popped in my mind!

    Trends in any industry are made up by said industry and planted in the consumers mind like robots. I have a habit of not following trends and just buying what I like and more importantly what makes me feel good.

    I have various frustrations with the fashion industry, the main one being their arrogance at refusing to speak to a diverse and wider demographic of beautiful women; some of which you can read about here: This is one of the reasons I don’t buy fashion magazines.

    I have endless issues buying clothes that fit my flat chest and curvy bum . Another assumption that anyone with a flat chest has no other curves on their body. My solution? I usually have to get lots of clothes altered by a seamstress and recently I had a couture piece made by Susie Stone which I dress up or down with accessories. An expensive option but it was nice to put on a dress that fit every curve and bony bit without feeling completely inadequate in a changing room! xx

    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      May 30, 2014 at 9:41 am (5 years ago)

      Haha thanks for the comment lovely – yes I think a bra-sized based system from a consumer perspective would be great but I’m aware I’m lacking in the behind the scenes knowledge and infuriating my fashion friends haha. But then a bra size system wouldn’t help people with curves elsewhere I guess. It’s a hard question! Xx

  6. Beth
    June 3, 2014 at 11:48 am (5 years ago)

    I always found the random sizing on the high street frustrating, but I found this great tool a while ago – you put in your measurements and it will tell you which size you are in most of the major high street and online retailers, and which shops make garments that will fit you best :


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