Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What's my size? The wacky world of women's clothing sizes

A question crossed my mind over the weekend as I was doing some online shopping for clothing. When it came to size selection, I had NO idea what size I should order. I am a person who usually has to try everything on to make sure it fits.

I'll let you know when I receive my orders. I might even post them here on the blog since I have not done a fashion shoot since I moved to Costa Rica. Stay tuned...

The women's clothing size issue has caused problems for me most of my life.

Men’s clothes on the other hand, seem to be labelled with pretty reasonable sizes. Shirts are labelled with chest sizes or collar sizes; trousers tend to come with measurements for the waistband and leg length. 

Unlike men's clothing, women’s clothes are a minefield. No matter what the item, whether it’s a blouse, skirt, pair of jeans, or a dress, it comes with a single size on the label: an apparently arbitrary number that refers to none of the item’s measurements. And as an additional complication, that size isn’t standardized across different brands, so someone who wears a UK size 12 in one shop might be a 10 in another, or an 8, or a 14, and the only way she’ll find out is by trying things on.

Have you ever wondered why?
“True sizing standards didn’t develop until the 1940’s,” says Lynn Boorady, fashion and textile technology chair and associate professor at Buffalo State University. “Before then sizes for young ladies and children were all based on age — so a size 16 would be for a 16-year-old — and for women it was about bust measurement.”

As American girth increased, so did egos. And thus began the practice of vanity sizing. Hence, there really is no standard sizing and the stores and manufacturers are free to choose whatever sizing they choose.

So, if you’re a woman, what all of this means is that you’re doomed to continue trying things on, or obsessively checking sizing charts online, until you find the size that’s right for you – most of the time, the number on the tag won’t tell you what you need to know. And as long as women’s clothing is mass-produced the way it is right now, that’s not going to change.  source
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