Dear H&M

March

I went to H&M and got peeved about a pair of jeans. So I wrote them a letter…

Dear H&M,

I have always felt pretty cool telling people I buy my clothes in H&M. I was thirteen when I first started shopping in your stores and have always found your clothes to be stylish, ethically- minded and affordable.

Unfortunately I felt considerably less ‘cool’ when I tried on a pair of jeans in the changing room a few weeks ago. On the contrary, I felt angry.
The jeans in question were a beautiful light wash denim with pearls down the leg which were retailing at £34.99. After trailing to the back of the rack to find the only size 14 pair in stock, I nipped into the changing room ready to feel like a woman with a very snazzy pair of jeans which I had already styled in my head (red blazer, white shirt, PEARLY jeans- ooft!).
However, upon trying on said pair, I failed to be able to pull the jeans past my one thigh. (Please see photographic evidence attached). Deflated and disappointed, I left empty handed.
The more I thought about it, and those jeans, I realised it wasn’t MY failure that prevented me from pulling on a pair of trousers, but yours.

I am very proud of my body. It has taken a long time but I am thoroughly content with my large hips, squishy thighs and little tum, thank you very much. I’ve always been a 12/14 and pleased with it but when I tried on your jeans I was annoyed, hot and frustrated. The pair of jeans clearly were not made for a woman who is a size 14. Why is that?

Why is it ok for a brand to label an item of clothing as a size which it clearly isn’t? I’m not writing to complain about the impact it had on me. Admittedly, I’m annoyed but I didn’t need another pair of jeans and the pearls were a nice feature but I’ll manage without them. It’s more about what it might mean for someone else.

I’m a (nearly) 25 year old woman who has been very used to a fluctuating body size and shape for over a decade and am comfortable with what I look like. My thirteen year old self wasn’t comfortable with being curvy. I felt fat, podgy and sad when I had to reach for a garment that was labelled with a number in the high teens.

I have taken my encounter with the pearly jeans and tried to imagine what tween aged Rebecca would think. She’d be disappointed, like I am now, but confused as to why the size I was certain I was didn’t seem to be for me. Surely, in a shop in which I can buy a glittery pencil case with #GRLPOWERwritten on it or a t-shirt with SISTERHOOD emblazoned over the chest is the very place that should be glorifying women of every shape and size and making them feel amazing. How can you expect women to feel empowered if the clothes you try to sell to them do the exact opposite?

I appreciate the response you might provide me with will likely be dismissive.
The style of jean was a straight cut, the denim doesn’t have stretch, and unfortunately the style just is not right for you. Why didn’t you try on another type of jean and I’m sure you’ll find them satisfactory?

I’m afraid that doesn’t cut it. I’m asking you to be honest, not just for my benefit, but for all the women and young girls who come in to your shop to buy from a brand that is seemingly so cool, hip and right on. A brand that openly sells products that claim and, probably aim, to praise and please women.
If a pair of jeans says it is a size 14, please make it a size 14.

I hope you take these comments on board. Please do your best to ensure that H&M carries on being somewhere I want to buy clothes. Please strive to make your brand and the sizing of the products you sell truthful.

I look forward to your response and I am ever hopeful that one day I’ll be able to pop in to H&M, pick up pair of jeans in the size I know I am and they will fit me perfectly. Every single wobbly, wonderful bit of me.

Yours sincerely,

Rebecca Parker

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