Poor fit responsible for three-quarters of perceived fashion crimes, survey shows

Three-quarters of the most common 'crimes against fashion' committed by women and two-thirds of the outfit offences committed by men result not from poor design or misjudged buying choices, but from poor fit, a survey from Fits.me suggests.

Forty per cent of women admit to having endured a VPL (visible panty-line) – making this the most common fashion faux pas – followed by displaying a 'muffin top' (33%) and showing too much cleavage (32%). Meanwhile, a quarter of men under 35 have fallen victim to wearing their trousers too high and over a fifth of men admit to wearing garments with inadequate sleeve lengths.

Britons abroad are well known for their taste transgressions, and it seems our reputation is well-earned: one in 10 women have worn bikinis that are too small, while a third of women admit to wearing skirts that are too short.  This summer's trend of denim shorts is only adding to the problem: a quarter of 18-24 year olds admit to wearing shorts that don't cover their derrière.

Common fashion faux pas that are the fault of fit include:

  • VPL: 48 % of women
  • Muffin tops: 39% of women
  • Too much cleavage on show: 44% of women
  • Skirt that's too short: 41% of women
  • Bikinis that are too small: 12% of women
  • Shorts that don't cover your bum: 7% of women
  • Ankle swinging trousers: 23% of women and 15% of men
  • Sleeves too long: 16% of women and 21% of men
  • Sleeves too short: 14% of women and 18% of men
  • Trousers worn too high: 13% of men
  • Trousers worn too low: 8% of men

Heikki Haldre, founder and chief executive of virtual fitting room solutions company Fits.me commented: "Research shows that once shoppers reach an in-store fitting room, conversion rates rise to 60%; we also know that retailers double their online conversion rates once they send their customer through a virtual fitting room.  But 36% of shoppers recently told us that they use in-store fitting rooms less than they did three years ago, because those spaces are untidy, dirty and shoppers dislike queues.  And we are buying more clothes online, where retailers have often still not made it possible to 'try before you buy'.

Haldre continued: "Given the obvious benefits to retailers – remember, it means fewer returns too – this all begs the question: why don't retailers put more effort into getting their customers into fitting rooms, online or offline? Yes, it would mean fewer fashion faux pas for us all to endure, but what retailers would really be doing is to close off another way of disappointing their customers."

About the research

Fits.me surveyed 2,000 people in the UK on the fashion crimes that they've committed. 1,000 men and 1,000 women took part in this survey. The data was collected by Redshift Research in July 2013.

The data about the use of fittings rooms comes from a separate survey of 1,000 UK consumers on their shopping habits.  The data was collected by Redshift Research in September 2012.


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