Asia is a continent, in the main, of small, petite, good- looking people. Being a 5’ 1”, European size 8, 32B, little person myself, I love visiting this area of the world. I can hold a conversation without my head locking in a permanent upward position, I can see over a crowd of people and I can buy clothes that actually fit. Not so in my home country where size 10 - 12 is considered to be the norm. Even when I do find size 8 clothes they tend to bag somewhere or are way too long. Trousers, for example, tend to be 3 - 5 inches too long for me. Rarely have I met a size 8, 5” 6 tall woman and therefore wonder on what basis a standard 8 is developed. Manufacturers must aim for the anorexic teenage generation who have successfully been brainwashed into starving themselves into emaciation but cannot afford to have height reduction surgery (yet). In the past I solved the problem in various ways. a) shopping in the children’s section – it used to be tax-free thus saving myself some money as well. b) Buying three-quarter length trousers as they came down to my ankles. c) dressing in baggy clothing - so as to look like a deliberate fashion statement. Then at some point fashion buyers were alerted by their shop staff that there were an awful lot of small women trying and buying children's' clothes and a petite range was introduced. Unfortunately, the styles leaned towards Barbie Doll meets Cindy with a bit of Stepford Wives thrown in. So imagine my joy at discovering cheap, fashionable clothes in my size when I travelled around Thailand.
A recent development which has encompassed the world as well as Asia is the one size fits all range of clothing. Garments that expand and are supposed to fit women of all shapes and sizes. Back home these imported clothes often hang off me as they are based on a fuller sized figure. Conversely in Thailand one size fits all actually translates into one size fits small and even I struggle to get into some of the tops (in Asia I am considered to be a medium). So ladies, when shopping in Asia for a bargain and frustration sets in as you cannot fit your shapely bodies into teeny-weeny Asian clothes or you get upset at the cute, petite shop girls who eye you up and down horror, pronounce “no have in your size” in a way that suggests you are the size of a cow - the phrase "walk in other people's shoes" comes to mind. Another saying is "you can buy but not try". Because in Thai logic when "one size fits all" you could be a size 6 or 18 and the clothes will fit snugly. Now I will not buy unless I try. After all a girl needs to be sure that it suits. I did try to explain this to a Chinese seller once and got nowhere therefore, she got no sale. Now I have my own catch phrase "no try no buy". It rarely gets the right reaction but I like saying it anyway.