There is a real problem when it comes to the subject of size.
Not only is there no standardization of sizes between one designer to the next but there can also be no consistency of size even within a particular brand. Couple that with the “plus size” labeling of anything larger than a 12 and we are looking at a perfect storm for hysteria when it comes to shopping.
But sizing wasn’t always as crazy as this. Standardized sizing has been around since the 40s. And in 1958 the National Bureau of Standards re-examined the sizes of women. From this study they developed a newer standardized size chart using the measurements of women in the Air Force.
This study was flawed as this group did not represent the average measurements of women. Service women tended to be more physically fit. But it was a step in the right direction as it attempted to create some sort of consistency in sizes throughout the industry.
It is worth noting that size 0, 00, and 000 did not exist 15 years ago even though the average woman was smaller and shorter than the average woman is today.
According to a Times Magazine article, The Bizarre History of Women’s Clothing Sizes, “In 1958 . . . sizes ranged from 8 to 38 with height indications of tall (T), regular (R), and short (S), and a plus or minus sign when referring to girth.” Here’s a fun fact. In 1968 a size 14 was measured as 36-28-38 for someone 5’3” to 5’6”.
Fast forward to the 70s when some genius figured out that if the size label reflected a smaller number then more items would be sold. This was the beginning of “vanity sizing”. Today a size 14 from 1968 can be anywhere from a size 4 to a size 8 today.
To make matters even more fraught, the marketing minds of Madison Avenue delivered the final offense by defining standards of beauty not only by age but by size. Anyone above a 12 (whatever that size is today) is labeled “plus size” which adds yet another layer to the body shaming of women.
Sizing is very confusing—no wonder shopping has become so painful. Not only can we not find our size but we judge ourselves too harshly when we don’t fit into clothing labeled with smaller sizes.
There are a few things we can do to defuse the agony of shopping for the right size. Here are 7 tips to get your fit right!
-Find a good tailor. It is rare when a fitted garment sits perfectly on you right off the rack.
-Know your bust, waist and hip measurements—memorize them. You will need to invest in a tape measure. It will be the best investment you make when it comes to shopping.
rag & bone size chart[/caption]
-Before you purchase anything online have a look at the size chart. Never purchase anything based on what size you think you are.
-If the online store offers minimal or free return shipping it is worth ordering a few different sizes.
-It is very difficult to get pants to fit perfectly right off the rack. Choose a pair that closely fits your largest area. Then take your pant to a tailor and have the pant taken in where it is too large.
-If you are shopping at brick and mortar establishments take a few different sizes into the dressing room with you.
-Remember different fabrics will fit differently. Simply put, a pant with lycra added to the fiber will fit differently than the same pant with no lycra.
-Never buy the size you think you are, buy the size that fits!!