It's supposed to be the safe haven of realism after a few minutes in a Topshop changing room can turn a well-adjusted woman into a quibbling wreck over the fact that nothing fits, your boobs are squelching out the sides, and the minuscule clothes make you two sizes bigger than you actually are.
Yet M&S, hailed as the classy brand for real women, have triumphed in attempting to be the Anna Wintour of high street chains by pioneering a new product that dog leashes the female species on their continual quest to be near-skeletal clones of one another by striving for that 'perfect' size nothing.
The age-friendly, affordable-chic store has welcomed the arrival of their 'Flatter Me Crop Top'. For £22.50, said top claims to banish bingo wings by offering a 'sleek look' while the lace fabric hides underarms for 'complete shaping and coverage'.
Choice is paramount, and if someone is self-conscious about a particular body part, it is up to them how they inject their personal style into their wardrobe choices to enhance their individual shape.
However, there are a battalion of tops, coats, shrugs, shawls etc. on the rails to choose from so as not to feel pressured into buying a piece of clothing designed solely for 'coverage' - to project an item like this onto an already image-obsessed society harbours the ever-present message of 'You're not good enough as you are'.
Not only is the concept of this another bullying tactic from the fashion world to remind us we need Spanx, minimisers and optical illusion prints to look 'better', but the model in question is a cruel and patronising casting trick.
Firstly, I would bet a KFC family bucket that the ultra slender twentysomething not only doesn't suffer from the oh so sinful bingo wings, but there isn't even an inch to pinch.
Therefore secondly, buying this garment will NOT make you look like this girl. In a nutshell, she had no excess flesh to begin with for this armwear to have anything to suction in.
Several ladies on the messageboard for the department store highlighted that the top came up 'snug' and they were left having to buy sizes bigger than their natural build.
This exacerbates the problem that a trim size 8 now heads into double figures, a perfectly average size 12 questions if they need to diet and a larger 16 heads towards the technically 'morbidly obese' category.
Yes, it's only one lone piece of clothing in our be-thin-to-win world. Yes, you shouldn't worry what size you take to the cashier if you decide this top would give you confidence. But it's just another cog in the machine to make us feel like we must strive to be smaller or else cover our flesh in sheep's clothing to look ever more svelte and idealistic.
What next... sunglasses that suck in our cheeks, corseted T-shirts, dresses that make us disappear.
Also on HuffPost UK Lifestyle:
This body sculpt control top from Asda claims to slim loose skin (or bingo wings) using compression fabrics. See full details here
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These caffeine-infused tights by SkinKiss Caffeine Tights claim to stimulate the blood circulation and burn fat around the thighs, buttocks and waist. See full details here.
Made with high-tech, heat compression material, these Zaggora hot pants promise to shed inches of upper thighs after a work-out. See full details here.
These waist-cinchers from Slim n' Lift not only gives the appearance of a slimmer slihouette, but claims to tone flabby abs as well after just six weeks. See full details here.
These Proskin leggings are made of compression fabrics which stimulate fat burning properties in the skin. See full details here.
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