Does Wacky Clothing Sizing (and 'Vanity Sizing') Drive You Nuts? (a Pet Peeve Rant)

  1. This rant is Inspired by some comments Syntagma made in the Fashion Crimes thread, to the effect that the sizes that fit her can range from 3 to 9.

    This has been one of my Pet Peeves since I was a teenager: the complete lack of sizing standards for women's clothing.**

    We have all seen inexperienced or careless eBay sellers, for instance, who list an item as size "L" - what does "L" mean? For that matter, what does "10" mean? Or "3?" or "24?"

    We all know the answer to that question: It depends on where you go and what brand you are buying. In other words, it means absolutely nothing.

    With no standards, each manufacturer, each retailer, whoever pays to have the size label sewn in, is free to put anything there they wish.

    In my own personal experience, in just the course of a few months, for instance, I have seen the term "XL" applied to tops with bust measurements ranging from 34 to 48!

    So I guess the eBay sellers who don't put the measurements could be considered a sub-Pet Peeve, part of the larger Peeve that Syntagma, and you, and everybody else, should be able to count on a size 6 or 13 or 18W or 12P referring to actual dimensions and measurements of a garment, whether we are shopping at Wal-Mart in our local mall or the most foo foo designer boutique on Rodeo Drive or anywhere in between.

    We should not have to try on 6 different sizes of something to see what size is "ours" according to this or that particular manufacturer or designer or retailer.

    Jeans that are labelled 4Petite should have the same inseam and waist and hip measurements whether they are Sevens or Levis or Sears' House Brand.

    This is not a new thing. Although since there is no standard whatsoever, there will be exceptions, but generally speaking, the custom in the industry is to insult women by putting smaller size labels on more expensive clothing.
    So as Syntagma points out, her size in cheaper clothes is likely to be a higher number than the item that will fit her in a costlier line.

    As if she, or you, or any of us, are stupid enough to believe paying a higher price for clothing will make us smaller!

    But I bet everyone who reads this can confirm what she says.

    There is even a term for it: "Vanity Sizing."

    Go to the high end retailer and you can be a size 2. But go to Wal-Mart, and suddenly you have ballooned to a size 12!

    Add to this the closing of the quality gap between clothing sold at "low end" and "high end" stores that has taken place over the last few decades, and the insult becomes even more blatant!

    (But that is a whole nother rant, which at some point, I will probably commit)

    As regards this particular Pet Peeve, however, I will close by observing that with all the things that are regulated and legislated in this country, there is no excuse for not having even the most basic and common sense standardization of clothing sizes, so that Syntagma and all of us, if asked what size jeans or sweater or dress we wear (especially if asked by a friend or family member who is on their way to the mall a week or so before our birthday) :smile: we can answer with ONE number, instead of something like "Well, in Brand Z, I wear a 6, except for their new GottaHave line, and in that I need the 4 Long, but if it's Brand Y, I take 8 Short, and..."

    **(While mens' sizes are not standard either, they get something of a break since so much of their clothing is sold by measurement - chest for suits, waist and inseam for pants, etc. - But in the land of S-M-L they are in the same boat with us!)
  2. in theory this is great. but people's proprtions aren't the same; some people have big hips compared to waists, others have small hips but are thicker around the middle. some people have bigger thighs, slimmer arms, wider ribcages, skinny legs........... so if sizing were completely standard, how many people do you think would find clothes to fit?
  3. I do think it would be best to have the same waist and hip measurements for a size in every brand. That seems to be more common in vintage. Yes, people are not shaped the same, but they can size up or down-knowing a standard measurement can help eliminate buying issues. And WalMart is the worst offender for sizing all over the place!!!!!! I haven't bought there since I was a child- the few times I have tried they never fit right.
  4. but then what about the people who have large hips compared to waists? they'd all end up with gaping waist bands, it's hard enough to find non-gaping ones as it is. and those with more narrow hips don't necessarily suit cuts that are more curved. i think a little variety in cuts is necessary, although a huge discrepancy in sizing is obviously ridiculous.
  5. I usually fit in to the same size pants and tops all the time - but sometimes (and some brands) I have to go to sizes that are either normally way too big or way too small for me.

    Take for example when I bought my Cord jacket. I normally wear size L-XL in tops. Usually around a size 46. I've got big boobs and big hips, so some shirts won't fit in the hip area. Anyway. I went to H&M (which I am usually very consistent with, sizing wise) and wanted to buy a Cord jacket from them. I went into the "normal size (32-46)" department and picked up a jacket in size 46....Couldn't even get my arms in it. I then went to the plus sized department (46-56/58) and started trying on a size 48. Couldn't move my arms. Size 50, couldn't button it. Size 52, could button it, but still couldn't move freely. Size 54, could button and could move! Wheee! Finally found one that fit! The waist was a bit big, and had it taken in - but it finally fits.

  6. I agree.

    ShimmaPuff, As for vanity sizing, it's ususally the opposite for designer clothing ... they are sized smaller....

    There is a strong correlation between how expensive a label is and how small the sizes are marked. There are exceptions though -- BCBG, Ann Taylor -- that indulge in vanity sizing.
  7. I am Against arithmetic on general principle, but you make the very good point that some might be called for in this case, and I believe that these proportion issues should be figured in to the standard sizing, just as little boys's jeans used to be sold as slim/regular/husky or something, and even as it is pants are sold in petite/regular/tall.

    There is no reason that they can't figure in the proportion between hips and waist, so that size 4 Petite Hourglass could be counted on to have a certain waist and inseam, and fit larger hips than size 4 Petite Coke Bottle, etc.

    I know that the other main argument against it would be financial, if I am a manufacturer, obviously I can move more units if there is a certain level of sizing uncertainty.

    However, I believe that we would buy MORE clothing if we could have a greater degree of certainty that it would fit us!

    sonya most people here will be able to speak much better than I can on the subject of what different designers do in what is considered to be the world of haute couture today, but I have definitely noticed that in terms of retailers, the higher-end ones are more likely to consider my own personal size to be 2, whereas the low-end ones, which are the ones that I can actually afford :p call me a size 6. Of course in some cases, it is prudent to buy the 8, and once it has had a visit to one's Personal Fabric Care Center, it will come out of the dryer a 6 :biggrin:

    But that's a whole NOTHER rant....
  8. i hate vanity sizing. for example, about half the jeans for R&R this season run 1-2 sizes big which means unless you are a 26+ you can't even wear them. i can't even buy these jeans i love so its quite upsetting.
  9. YES! I want to order clothing from online stores, but I'm always skittish about the sizing.

    Re.: R&R - Really? The last time I went out jeans shopping was back in August, and it looked like they'd only gone up by half a size to one size.
  10. R&R has been horrible latley, I have gone from my normal size 26 to 24 in the newer cuts and styles:sad:

  11. ITA. :yes:

    If someone has narrow hips compared to their waist, it is no good just saying 'size up', as they will look like they are wearing old-fashioned jodhpurs! :wtf: Either that, or if it's a thick fabric, they will end up looking bigger than they actually are and who wants that?

    I have recently discovered that I am slightly bigger in the bust than I am in the hips (about 1 1/2") and since almost all modern clothes are cut the other way around (about 2" bigger in the hips than the bust) I already find it nigh-on impossible to find a dress that fits both my bust and hips. :shrugs:

    Ultimately, I think it is far better to buy garments through exact measurements; rather than arbitrary sizes.
  12. The internet in general can be the best place to buy some things, and the worst possible place to buy others.

    If you already know that size 6 in BrandX fits you, and you have a black one and want a brown one, you can probably find it on eBay for half what you would pay in the store where you bought the black one.

    However, if it's a brand you've never owned or even tried on, if the seller does not list the measurements, ask, and I'm talking more about simple tops than pants, because pants can be so tricky! I don't think I have ever bought any pants online unless they were a brand AND model or style, that I already had in one color, and knew they would fit!

  13. The vintage sizing (and pretty much all sizing up until the late '90s) used to have the same bust measurement as hip measurement and for a short while I lived in blissfull ignorance of ill-fitting clothes.

    Then they did a survey, found out that most women were pear shaped and everything changed. :sad:

    The thing is that I actually think this change was a bad move, not just for women like me, but for pear shaped women as well, because if you are pear shaped and a dress is slightly too large on the top half, it generally looks fine and may even balance out your figure. But if you are hour glass (by this I mean equal bust and hip measurement) and a dress is too big in the hips/butt; it looks awful and doesn't balance anything (it just makes you look like a larger pear shaped person!).

    On balance, I think it would be much better, for almost everyone, to return the standard proportions to an even bust/hip measurement, particularly as voluminous tops are back. :yes:
  14. I always have trouble with brands like Zara, Banana Republic because their zeros or 2s are way too big. I stick to 00 or 0 from Theory because they fit great. I like seven jeans. I am a 24 in them.
  15. This sizing thing has been a pet peeve of mine for a while. Shopping at the suburban mall has become nearly impossible for many women who are even within their ideal weight range. I know that at about 5'4" and 115 pounds, I wear a 0-2 at the mall (Express, Gap, other generic stores). It blows my mind that anyone slightly smaller than me is sized out. My grandma loves shopping and has exactly one store within driving distance of her condo and that's Kohl's. She loves to buy stuff for me but she needs to shop juniors to do it since I am sized out of everything in the women's department there. According to every medical chart I know, I am smack dab in the middle of the ideal weight range - and I'm sized out of some department

    As an aside, I am kind of glad to be mostly sized out of LL Bean, though. My family is from northern New England and loves that store. I agree with my good friend's gay boyfriend who once said, "Sweetie, I love New England for its commitment to individual freedom but I could never live somewhere where LL Bean is considered fabulous."