Crimes of Fashion, Skirts

Secret Police: Vanity-sizing at La Redoute

Fitting room review: green mini skirt

The Fashion Police’s undercover officers are infiltrating fashion retailers around the country in order to bring you honest, unbiased reviews of the clothing and footwear they find there. Today, they visit Le Redoute to investigate a bright green mini skirt…

Officer: The officer’s identity has been concealed in order not to blow his cover. We can, however, reveal that our officer is 6ft tall, with a waist size of 34″-36″, and is a MAN. Note: THIS IS NOT YOUR CHIEF OF POLICE!)

Green A-line skirt, £15, La Redoute

Where do we start? This skirt is a UK size 6, which, in my experience (this is the Chief of Police speaking, by the way, although, once again, I feel I need to stress that I am NOT the gentleman in the photo!) corresponds roughly with the much-maligned US size 0. Most size charts will tell you that this is not the case, and that a US 0 corresponds to the rarely-seen UK size 4, however, as someone who shops a lot in both countries, I can tell you that while that may once have been the case, these days a UK6 = US0. Typically, you’d expect an item of this size to have a 24″ waist: our officer’s waist is at least 10″ larger than that, and while the skirt is obviously tighter on him than it appears on the model, that still tells you that the sizing here is seriously off.

green mini skirt

What it SHOULD look like

In fairness to La Redoute, our officer didn’t zip the skirt up all the way in these photos, purely because it will (obviously) have to be returned, and we didn’t want to risk damaging it. However, although it would’ve been a bit of a squeeze, it could have been done without too much difficulty. I’d say that if you wanted to wear this, you’d have to go down AT LEAST two, maybe three sizes, to get anything like the right fit. If you normally wear a size 6, meanwhile, that’s too bad: Redoute do offer a size 4 in this particular item, but it’s currently sold out, and given how far out the sizing of this one was, I wouldn’t think one size down would be that much better.

Man in a mini skirt

Oh, dear...


OK, now for the positive part: sizing aside, this was a really lovely skirt. The material is thick, high quality, and looks like it would wear well. It’s fully lined, and is very nicely made, with concealed pockets, a vibrant colour and a nice, 60s-style design. For £15, I’d say this would be excellent value for money IF the fit was truer to size.

Officer’s comments:

I was really disappointed with the sizing issues with this skirt. We’re all used to variations in sizing between brands, and even between different items from the same brand, but for something to be several sizes larger (or, indeed smaller) than it should be is just ridiculous, and, as I said above, sizes people at the smaller end of the scale out of the market altogether. If a UK6 fits more like a UK12, then you’re excluding everyone smaller than a size 12 from shopping with you, (I’m not saying this skirt would fit a size 12, by the way: I actually have no idea what its true size would be.) which seems pretty short-sighted.

Is this just a one-off? Sadly, I don’t think so. To answer the obvious questions, I double and triple checked both the size label and the dispatch notice to make sure I’d been sent  the correct size, and they both labelled the skirt as expected. I guess there’s a chance that the wrong label was attached in the factory, but, having just returned a La Redoute order a couple of weeks ago – this time because items labelled size 4-6 were too large – I’m inclined to think they’re being generous with their sizing, although I’d be very happy to be wrong about that: they’re one of the very few retailers in the UK who stock size 4, for instance, so it would be a shame to see vanity-sizing take away that variety.

VERDICT: Returned.

Anyone else ever shopped with La Redoute? How did you find it?

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