Ever tried shopping for ladies clothes, or even shoes at exclusive showrooms of international brands in India? No? Well, you are lucky. Don’t. Chances are, you will get out of the shop feeling like a baby elephant, a pregnant blue whale or a combination thereof.
Scene 1 – A few months ago – Attempted retail therapy – Reebok showroom, Nungambakkam
I walk in, eyeing the cute tops on display. After all, what better way to get over depression that to go shopping? My conversation with the salesgirl is something like this.
Me: I would like to see that purple top there.
Salesgirl: (With an air of nonchalance) Sorry ma’am. We don’t have it in your size.
Me: But, can’t I just look at it? My size is L.
Salesgirl: (Now, annoyed with me for having interrupted her afternoon siesta) I told you. We don’t have it in your size. The maximum we have is XXL.
Me: And I told you, I am only an L.
Salesgirl: But Ma’am, our size L won’t fit you. You can take a look if you want.
I pick up the size L, and indeed, it wouldn’t fit. How would it? The size L you find here is equivalent to size S in Europe, and size XS in the US.
Scene 2 – Levi Signature Showroom, Spencer Plaza, Chennai.
As soon as I walk in the salesman comes over.
Salesman: Welcome ma’am. May I help you?
Me: Uh, yes. I am looking for lycra jeans. Mid-rise. Boot cut.
Salesman: Sorry ma’am. Ladies jeans, the maximum size we have is 32.
Me: What the &!#&%#!!
Scene 3 – Woodland showroom – Anna Nagar, Chennai
Me: I am looking for sandals. Suede finish. Size 40/41.
Salesman: Sorry Ma’am. We don’t have that size in ladies’ footwear.
Now, tell me! What am I supposed to do? They don’t have bigger sizes in clothes nor in shoes. I realise that this is mainly because we, in India are clubbed along with the Chinese, the Japanese and Koreans as Asians. Reebok, Nike and other big brands import Asian sizes. This, is a huge problem because most Indian women are bigger, and larger-framed than the average Japanese woman. Why can’t these brands get this? It’s bloody annoying! And no, I am certainly not obese, or even overweight! I don’t appreciate being made to feel like an elephant!