Health and weight

Clothes, shopping and weight

Shopping is a popular activity for teenagers in the UK. But for people who are overweight and don’t take a regular clothing size, shopping can be stressful and humiliating. Both girls and boys said shopping made them feel miserable because nothing seemed to fit and it reminded them that they were different from their friends.
Asking ‘stick thin’ shop assistants for large sizes made some girls feel very embarrassed. One girl’s way around this was to get her mum to ask for bigger sizes pretending the clothes were for her. Another was never to try anything on and guess which size might fit. Several young people said that, although they liked the idea of shopping, in reality it made them feel like ‘crap’.
Losing some weight made some young women feel much better. They could buy the latest fashions from high street shops and no longer needed to borrow things from their mothers or wear clothes made for older people.
Parents felt that their children were let down by fashion designers and high street shops. It was difficult for their teenage daughters when shops only stocked small sizes.
Some parents said they felt sad when they saw their child trying to squeeze into clothes that were too small for them. They wondered whether they should tell their children the truth about how they looked, or pretend they looked OK.

Last reviewed July 2017.

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