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Learning English - Words in the News
26 January, 2007 - Published 11:35 GMT
Spain resizes clothes for women
Some models
Mannequins are likely to be made in more realistic sizes

Spain is to change its clothing sizes for women. This is part of a Government decision to prevent eating disorders in young girls and women. This report from Pascal Harter:

Listen to the story

It's a source of frustration for customers and shop assistants alike that in Spain women tend to go into the changing rooms with an armful of different sizes never knowing which one will fit this time or whether any will fit at all.

But by 2008 those days could be over. Spain's biggest fashion retailers have bowed to Government pressure to standardise their sizes and reflect the real size of Spain's growing population. For the first time ever the National Consumer Institute will measure Spanish females -- more than eight thousand of them to be exact -- between the ages of twelve and seventy. Spanish fashion houses will then try to fit them, rather than the other way round.

They've also agreed to decorate their shop windows with slightly bigger manikins. The Ministry of Health described the current ones as unreal dolls of alien dimensions which it sees as directly encouraging eating disorders such as anorexia. The move is likely to affect women and girls all over the world as international brands such as Mango and Zara have signed up to the agreement.

Pascal Harter, BBC, Barcelona

Listen to the words

a source of
a reason for (something)

customers and shop assistants alike
used after referring to two groups of people to show that both groups are included

changing rooms
rooms where you can try on clothes before deciding whether to buy them

an armful of
lots of, many

here, be the right size

bowed to Government pressure
agreed to do something (usually, unwillingly)

try to fit them
attempt to make clothes that are available in the same sizes as the female Spanish population

a model of the human body used in shops to display clothes (note: a more common spelling of manikin is mannequin)

eating disorders
illnesses in which people eat too much or too little food

signed up
agreed to participate in something

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