What Size Am I?
How many women are confused about what size we actually are when trying to buy clothes? I know I sure am.
How many women are confused about what size we actually are when trying to buy clothes? Click To Tweet
If I go back in decades to the years when I worked in the fashion and clothing industry, I can remember when clothing was made mostly of natural fabrics as well as some in polyester. Spandex was mostly reserved for articles such as leotards and dancewear. Regular sizing began at size 2 (although often not an option) and size 0 was unheard of. Seriously, what is size 0? It denotes to me a non-existent body. If someone is a size zero wouldn’t that make them invisible?
Back in the day, sizing was pretty much universal and if the pants didn’t fit, we went up a size until that zipper zipped or that button fastened. And with the nowadays addition of spandex and it’s relatives, elastin, lycra et al, sizing has become more geared toward an individual brand as opposed to universally across the board. Sizing has also become more generous in cut compared to past decades and due to the often added spandex, there seems to be a somewhat psychological tactic used to make women feel better about themselves.
The size 6-8 I wear nowadays would certainly never have zipped up around my ample hips back in the days of the 80s. I wore a consistent size 8 in those days and I weighed 125 pounds! Fast forwarding to the added 10 pounds that found me through the decades, I have to wonder how I am wearing size 6-8, my same size and sometimes smaller than I wore decades ago?
Okay, thank you to the garment industry for trying to make me feel as though I’m still sporting my same girlish figure from days of old, but the mirror doesn’t lie. And along side with these now Spandex added materials to put our esteems and waistlines at ease, there is still sizing at the other side of the spectrum too. Many brands that size their clothing as small, medium large, etc., I find that I sometimes will find an XL small! If I currently wear a size 6-8 and XL is tight, what are all those gals wearing size 10 and bigger supposed to think?
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m grateful that Spandex is now a major ingredient in many garments, especially comforting after suffering through the the dredges of menopause, comforting to know I can indulge once in awhile and my pants will allow me breathing room, but a size small still shouldn’t be able to stretch to an XL and an XL should still be able to fit a curvier girl of size 16 which is often not the case.
Online Shopping Woes
If you’re anything like me, ordering clothes online can be daunting. Eventually when I become familiar with a brand I can gauge what size I’ll need to order. But heaven help me if I dare to venture into trying a new brand and after paying shipping charges to receive my purchase and discovering the item doesn’t fit thus having to return it, paying shipping again can become quite costly.
I’m often asked by people who know me, how I can buy clothing online with the wide variance in sizing differences. How do I know what size I am? This indicates to me that there must be many of us in the same camp. How many women worldwide are intimidated to order clothing online fearing the size charts if applicable aren’t accurate, thus causing returns and eating shipping charges both ways.
Occasionally I will come across a garment I may be interested in purchasing which may be a brand I’m not familiar with. If I love it enough I may take a chance on ordering it, in hopes that it will actually fit me when I receive it. Here are a few things I look for before hitting that ‘buy’ button:
- Reviews – I always look at reviews to see what other buyers have to say about the product, particularly the ones who share their size and height and reveal their actual size and share how the size they ordered fit them.
- Reading the description of the item I’m contemplating buying is important. Pay attention to the material content, the length of a pant, the rise in a pant to find if that pant won’t sit too high up on your waist or too low on the hips.
- Look for keywords like: Low rise, mid rise, high rise and ‘rise’ which is a good clue as to where those pants will sit. If you have acquired muffin-top over the years like me, I like a pant that has at least a 9 inch rise.
- If I don’t find enough info in the garment description to make me feel confident in the purchase I visit some other retailer’s sites selling the same garment to see if I can garner more info and/or more reviews.
- If I still can’t seem to get enough information to make me feel confident about my purchase and the site offers a fair return policy, I’ll sometimes order 2 of the item each in a different size so I can see which will fit me better then send one back.
With that said:
Here’s a thought for clothing manufacturers, and particularly retailers: if you want to cash in on the amount of women who are hesitant to buy online, the women who don’t have the time or desire to physically come into your stores, perhaps you might consider making accurate size charts to display beside a product. Just showing sizes available doesn’t give us enough information and your ‘generic’ size charts are not helpful. It would be more helpful if the garment being advertised had specific measurements listed with the photo, ie: garment measures: bust , waist, hips, as opposed to a generic size chart showing measurements of sizes the garment will fit. This would enable us to better gauge how the item will fit us according to our own measurements.
Merely stating small = 4-6, medium = 8-10, large = 12-14 when in fact that ‘large’ may barely fit that size small woman, doesn’t cut it. So hey manufacturers of womens garments, why not get your measuring act together and make your sizing accurate. And hey retailers, how about giving us more product detailed information? Maybe more women would venture into the online shopping market if they had more confidence to purchase. And while you’re at it manufacturers, how about going back to the days of universal sizing?
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