Just Sayin'
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Just Sayin’ – I’m Every Size – What size are you?

What Size Am I?

Just Sayin'



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?

Just sayin’.


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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Stevie Turner

    I think that one way stores encourage us ladies to buy their clothes is to add a size 10 or 12 label to what should really be a size 14 or 16. The average woman is probably a size 14 now, but might be happier buying something showing a smaller size on the label. I’m usually a UK size 12, but some size 12 clothes are really huge!

  • Adele Marie

    I agree with you, Debby. I purchase mostly online but only from those sites who have an actual size chart. Two beautiful lace dresses will remain in the wardrobe because I purchased from a site who said medium was a 14 to 16. xxx

    • dgkaye

      Oh Adele, I’m sorry to hear that your dresses will never be worn. Sadly, I know all about that. This is why I’m saying it’s important to give us women more info to help make our purchases successful. Often those return fees and shipping are great deterrents for us not to send things back and waste money. <3

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    Great read here Debby.. Alot is to do with overseas manufacturing of garments too.. Working as I have in the textile trade for nearly 30 yrs, the patterns which are being used are in fact I feel getting smaller.. To cut costs in material usage.

    I had to buy two sizes up in the label recently for trousers, and it wasn’t just a one off pair with a wrong label as I tried several pairs to make sure.. Now I know my waist line HAS expanded since my teen years, but thankfully Not that much.
    I do not know the difference in your USA sizes to ours..

    I would love it if they all got their acts together.. But I think many are also cutting down the size of patterns to save on material costs.. and wastage..

    When you put patterns side by side on top of each other there is not a lot in it.. But when you take it a size down, and then often materials are stretched laid and shrink back before being sewn..
    I was always putting pattern pieces onto card patterns and the shrinkage on some of the cheaper fabrics is huge.. Then you steam press them which again shrinks them..

    Jeans etc are often stone washed.. So again if they are not made to correct measurements first.. They will shrink back..

    Lots of room for errors.. So my two sizes that I had to go up just to get a pair to fit.. You soon see how this can happen..
    And the quality controls are not in place as much in overseas manufacturing .. And by the time they are shipped over here.. its too late to put right..

    Sorry for the waffle.. 🙂 but garments I do know inside out.. lol.. back to front.. and have made many a thing from designer to being packed using all the machine processors including cutting them out.. 🙂 lol.
    Hugs and Much Love <3

    • dgkaye

      Hi Sue. Thanks for chiming in here and sharing your experience. I do know well that many manufacturing facilities are overseas, thus allowing a differentiating in size control. But there are many brands of clothing that use their own size charts and one would think that whoever is doing the manufacturing would have to stick to guidelines by each brand. There are many lines of clothing out there that fit big too, not just small, so I’m not sure what goes on with those patterns. Is it any wonder sizes are all over the map? And yes, I know sizing is different in the Uk from us here in Canada. Canada sizing is similar to U.S. with a few exceptions. I sometimes find U.S. sizes fit bigger. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason. Hugs back my friend, xoxo <3

      • Sue Dreamwalker

        Agreed no rhyme or reason… We just have to keep going to the changing room with lots of sizes on hangers lol.. 🙂 I have learnt that, as my hubby is often sick of going to find a different size to go bring them to the changing room door lol.. ( as there is never an assistant about when you need one LOL ) <3

        • dgkaye

          Right on Sue. Everything you just wrote is so true. That’s the trick while in store I always take a few sizes with me to save me many trips back and forth lol because there never really is any assistance. Which brings me to my point of the post: If that’s how we have to shop instore, surely trying to decide what size we are online is a major feat! 🙂 xxx

          • Sue Dreamwalker

            Something Debby I do not do, buy on line or shop on line.. My hubby and I I guess are old fashioned that way.. Mainly its the process, and if I want some thing.. I give money to our daughter and she will purchase on line for us.. But I do not ask often as then she will often gift us what we have our eyes on.. Mainly for the garden LOL.. 🙂

          • dgkaye

            Well the reason I wrote this post was because I was thinking about how complicated it could be shopping online for clothing. But garden stuff, hey, there’s something you don’t have to try on. LOL 🙂 xx

  • roughwighting

    Ugh, kudos for bringing up a subject that is the bane of our existence at times. I agree and am enjoying reading the comments of others here. I end up buying clothes from the same manufacture/store since I can be ‘pretty much’ assured that I can stick to the size its says o the garment. But not always, of course. ;-0 And the few times I’ve shopped in England or Italy, mamma mia, totally confused. A universal sizing would be good. And it would be good to not call items Small, Large, Extra Large etc. What may seem extra large to a 5 foot 2 inch woman may be too tight to a woman who measures 5 foot 8!
    Fun post. xo

    Oh, and I just read Sally’s comment about mirrors in dressing rooms. WHY oh why would they want to use mirrors that are totally unflattering (as well as the lighting in those rooms), or on the other hand (or other body?) more like a ‘fun house’ mirror that makes us look narrow and tiny. Horrendous.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for chiming in Pam. Glad you enjoyed and concur, lol. Oh yes, mirrors are another whole topic but as you mentioned, they either leave us feeling worse about ourselves our fake us out with thin mirrors not showing how we actually look. It seems to be the style these days to confuse people from clothing to politics. 🙂

  • robbiesinspiration

    Oh Debby, you are so funny. Muffin tops indeed – I have seen your picture and you have a lovely figure. I generally stick to one brand of pants as I am long waisted [read as no waist what so ever] so I do struggle to find a comfortable fit. I think part of the problem is that clothing manufacturing is now international. I large Chinese lady is very unlikely to be remotely the size of a large South African lady. Good luck for the Bloggers Bash awards!

    • dgkaye

      Grr Cindy. I’m having problems commenting on some blogs being sent to spam. The gremlins are at work it seems. That doesn’t make me happy to hear the reader is ignoring me. 🙁 Thanks for letting me know. I’m not sure if you have signed up here to follow this blog or not? If you have you would be receiving an email once a week on Tuesdays with my posts from the previous week. But still I should be in the reader 🙁 xx

  • Tina Frisco

    Deb, it has been so long since I bought new clothes that this was like reading a foreign language. I had no idea that ‘rise’ was a clothing term. I won’t buy anything online anymore, after some of the experiences I’ve had. Well, almost anything – but especially clothing. You’re right about the sizing charts. I remember looking through a shoe catalog a few years ago and wondering where half sizes went. It gave no indication if you should size up or down. And don’t get me started on quality compared with men’s clothing. I rebelled in my 20s and bought all my shirts and jeans in the boys department! Jeez, buying clothing shouldn’t be a project; it should be enjoyable. Too many mega corporations and not enough family businesses, where people actually took pride in their work and strove for customer satisfaction 🙂

    • dgkaye

      I have to agree with you on the last statement. And yes, it’s a task alright. Lol, I could just imagine Tina the tomboy rebel shopping the boy’s department. <3

  • Hugh's Views and News

    Can’t comment, because I don’t buy ladies clothes, Debby (well, not anymore, anyway), but we guys have the same problem. I’ve seen polo shirts that say XXL and they’d fit perfectly on a broom handle. But, like you, I stick to manufactures and sites I know. Doesn’t only apply to clothes either. I once purchased a teapot online. When it arrived, it was the biggest teapot I’d ever seen. I could almost fit Toby inside. Still, it makes a nice display item in my kitchen and usually gets talked about when guests are here.
    Hang on, did I start this off with the words “Can’t comment”? ?

  • Mary Smith

    Yep! I’m pounds heavier than I used to be but still get into a size 10 or 12, depending on the make. I tend not to buy clothes online because I so hate the palaver of sending them back if they aren’t right.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Mary. It seems from many of the comments here that many women tend to shy away from online clothes shopping. Perhaps if the online outlets would give us better sizing detailed information and better their return policies, more women would feel comfortable shopping online. 🙂

  • Vashti Q

    Hi Debby! This is the reason I’m terrified of buying clothing online. I can’t ever get it right. I have to go to a clothing store and try on a bunch of stuff, because that’s life when you’re busty. I think you’re right about the sizes getting bigger in number and smaller in S, M, L. That’s so weird! I think our husbands are behind this to discourage us from buying clothes every other week. 😉 Loved the post! 100% 😀 xx

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    OMG I think you it a nerve here, Debby! At age 13 and 110 pounds I wore size 12 jeans and levis. How in the He** can I still be wearing size 12s (maybe 10s) 45 pounds later?? Vanity sizing is ridiculous! Do you shop at Chicos? According to their sizing I am a size 1!!! The sales clerk asked me how that made me feel and I said, “like a fraud” since I’m NOT, nor ever was, a size 1. Sorry I’m so slow to read your wonderful posts, just catching up!

    • dgkaye

      Never apologize, lol we’re all busy and we all get there eventually. And yes, I’ve been to Chicos and the sizing is so bizarre there! I think that chain was set up exactly as a pyshcological tactic to make women feel better about their size by using 1, 2, 3, 4. I also think they’re geared toward larger sized women and refrain from using size 16 and higher by using their single digit sizing. 🙂

  • Michele

    Sizing is frustrating. Just today I received two shirts I ordered on line. Since I found the size on my last order there fitting very snuggly, I ordered up. The shirts I got today are huge. Fortunately I can take them back to the physical store and not pay shipping!

  • olganm

    I hardly ever dare to buy clothes on-line because of that. Even from the same manufacturer and buying the same size I ended up with a top where three of me would fit in comfortable and another I couldn’t squeeze in. Trousers… I would never dare. I’ve heard that people might try to find a shop that stocks the item and try them on there to get some sense of the size, but it’s not always easy (and does nothing for the shop, for sure). You’re absolutely right about the style of clothes, but fashions sometimes don’t help. I remember trying to buy trousers for work a few years back and they were all very low on the waist and I thought not suitable for work. Thanks for the suggestions and I agree with your request.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for chiming in here Olga. I thought about writing this post when I heard rumors that one of our largest department store is cutting a few thousand employees because stores aren’t as busy as online. But I can’t possibly see a department store going full online because of the many people who refuse to buy online for reasons such as yours and many others. Sheesh, why does the whole world have to go digital? Human contact is becoming extinct! 🙂 xx

  • Sherri Matthews

    Ahh dear Deb, so good to be here again, if only for a flying visit until I get more on track next week hopefully. I bookmarked this post and was determined to get over here before the BB and before the end of the week lol! And oh how I hear you with the sizing. This is exactly why I hate shopping! I rarely find what I want, but then I also think I have become more specific as I’ve gotten older. I agree with every point you make here, and yes, I learnt the hard way about checking the pant’s rise on jeans and trousers. Great points and tips you give for shopping online, I’ve started to read reviews finding them very helpful. To the point that if I’m seriously considering ordering something and then read the reviews and they’re not good, I won’t order. Thanks for this and speaking out for all of us gals and our shopping woes! BTW…I used to be a size 5 in jeans. I won’t tell you what I am now, lol lol lol!!!!!! Catch up soon my friend…have a great weekend and ‘see’ you at the Bash in every way possible! 🙂 <3 <3 <3 xoxoxoxo

    • dgkaye

      Sher, you crack me up. And thanks for finding a moment to stop by in your current busy life, lol. I’m glad you’re checking reviews, they’re important. Often if I see conflicting reviews such as: pants fit small as well as pants fit big, I tend to leave the item behind because I get confused and don’t know who to believe, lol. Have a blast at the bash my dear friend, I’ll be watching for you captured by Hugh’s video sessions, lol. Oh, and don’t forget to check the Blogger Bash page on Facebook tomorrow. I’m posting a short hello video there for all of you. Huge hugs xoxoxoxo <3 <3??

      • Sherri Matthews

        Hi again my dear Deb…only a week later, ha! Barely had a chance since getting back from the BB as you know…but hoping I can catch my breath a little now and work on my BB post and of course get some visits in. As for shopping, I do exactly the same with reviews – if confused, ditch it! Will be back here very soon my dear friend…and again, you know how much I loved your video! I’m going to try to link to it on my BB post, if that’s okay with you? 🙂 😉 <3 xoxoxoxo

        • dgkaye

          Hi Sher. So glad to see you pop back here in your busy life, lol. I can’t wait to read your BB post and lol, if you want to plaster me on it, the more the merrier. Thank you. I’ll feel more like I was there among other photos and videos. Have a great ‘relaxing’ weekend my dear friend. 🙂 Hugest hugs xoxoxoxoxo <3

          • Sherri Matthews

            Hi again Deb! Ha…it takes me 4 days just to reply to your comment, never mind get a post up! But I did it, it’s up! Phew…and yes, you are plastered on it, lol!!!! You were there with us all my dear friend! Phew, it’s absolutely sweltering here with a heatwave and of course, we’re not geared for it. It gets humid but not too bad at the moment. No doubt it will turn into rain again soon! I hope you’re having a good week…I’ll be over again shortly…and you know I will when I say that! Much love and hugest hugs right back to you in the meantime 🙂 <3 xoxoxoxoxox

          • dgkaye

            Omg Sher, you crack me up! You pop up randomly, especially when you say you won’t be around. I love it! And OMG, you plastered me on your post? I can’t wait to see it. I’ll be right over after I finish making dinner, lol. You are so cute! <3 <3 xoxo

          • Sherri Matthews

            LOL LOL LOL 😀 You know me Deb, I don’t know from one day – no, one MINUTE! – to the next what’s going to happen, so I have to grab my moments when I can!!! I just replied to your fab comment on my blog…you can see you were plastered on my post, except I could only get the link, not the actual video to show up. I hope people clicked on it…but you are definitely there my dear friend! My turn to disappear now to make dinner…and another 24 hours goes by, but I will be back here tomorrow for sure!!!! Have a great day Deb… 🙂 <3 <3 <3 xoxox

  • Christy B

    Ohhh I feel your pain, Debby! I’ve order a few clothing online and only about a third of them actually fit well. I think it’s hard enough knowing our size from one store to the next – in person! – let alone going online to find a garment we’ve never tried on. I find similar with shoes, where I am one size with one brand and then another size with another brand. OH dear, no wonder we women are stressed!! Thanks for the tips for helping make online shopping at least a bit less of a headache. I do like how convenient it is – I can shop in my sweats 🙂

  • balroop2013

    Oh Deb! I have arrived here SO late yet I have my thoughts…buying clothes online? I always wondered how could anybody do that? And I have heard my daughter complain about the colors, which appear so different!
    Yet the convenience of online shopping and the vast variety we can browse through has hooked me on but I would never buy a pants or jeans without trying it, so I mix and match both the traditional and the modern methods of buying. What a luxury it is to order clothes while you are lounging with a device in your hands, which can be used at leisure! 🙂

    • dgkaye

      It’s interesting to find how many here try to refrain from buying online in such an online world, lol. But I just feel the day is coming when stores will begin closing with so much online and less overhead. This is what made me think about stating that if they want to sell more online, get with the program and give us more information! And you mentioned an interesting tidbit that does often happen, the color is often off.
      Thanks for chiming in my friend. Always nice to know what others are thinking. 🙂 xx

  • Kathleen Aherne (@CoolTweed)

    I don’t buy clothes online for that reason. Shoe sizes are also confusing. I did buy sports shoes online but I new the size and brand and it worked out OK. A chart and a tape measure would like you say release a lot of us to buy more with confidence that we will get what we want.

    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for chiming in Kathleen. And yes, you make a good point, if you’re not familiar with the shoe brand that can be tricky too. 🙂

  • Liesbet

    Buying clothes online is so time-consuming. Often, you might as well go to a store and fit the things to make sure they are OK. I only order clothes online, when there is a free return included.

    I rarely ever buy clothes (the ones I have seem to last forever and I am often given/donated clothes that others – who like to change their wardrobe often – don’t want anymore) – a perk of working from home and not caring about fashion. A few months ago (or was it last summer?) I ordered about 20 pairs of bikinis, to keep two! It truly is the only way it would work for me, since I never know my size, not in the US and not in Europe.

    And, that brings me to another pet peeve: why can’t we buy bikini tops and bottoms separately online? My body is so “oddly” shaped (I call it “out of proportions”) that my top requires a medium and my bottom an XL. Try to find clothes online with those sizes!! 🙂

    • dgkaye

      I agree with you Liesbet. Sometimes it is better to just go to the store. And you are lucky with all your travels and the people you meet you’re gifted with lots of apparel. But your problem with bathing suits shouldn’t be such a problem. Majority of women are 2 different size on top and bottom. I know for a fact that many swimwear brands sell separate tops and bottoms, especially department stores such as Macy’s and the like. Have a look online at Macy’s for example. Click on swimwear>two piece or bikinis. You will find an assortment of tops and bottoms. 🙂

  • Norah Colvin

    I do agree with your sizing woes, though a 6 or an 8 I’ve never been. I have never bought, and probably never will, buy clothing online. I like to try them on and see how they fit. How they look depends on so many factors. I have to say though, (but probably shouldn’t publicly) I’m tired of buying clothes that seem to have so much padding around the middle. If only I could figure out some way of getting rid of that! 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Lol Norah, I hear you on the ‘padding’. But it’s an eye opener here to find how many women don’t actually buy clothing online. As technology advances and I keep hearing on the news how so many stores are closing down and staff cuts, it may be inevitable soon to have to buy from online. I hope when that happens there will be more fair shipping and better descriptions. The beauty of shopping from my favorite department store here in Toronto is that I don’t pay shipping and usually order something in 2 sizes to make sure I’m happy with the fit and actually see how it looks in My own mirrors! Then I’ll take back what I don’t want to the store. 🙂 (Again, I fished you out of spam) 🙁

  • Deborah Jay

    Ha! I know exactly what you are saying, Debby. I’ve been putting on about 6 pounds a decade for the last 4 decades, and yet I only just reached the point of needing to go up a size. How does that work?
    Of course, the manufacturers have made clothing ever more generous while not changing the size on the label, and yes, it did make me feel better about my weight – until I measured myself. Ouch! Not so nice.
    In fact, the dreaded menopause weight gain has been the final straw. I’m a hoarder – I still have clothes that I wore in my twenties in my wardrobe, just in case I might ever get back into them. So when I faced the prospect of FINALLY having to go up a size, I decided enough was enough, and went to a dietician.
    I can report that I’ve finally discovered that wonderful scenario we all hear about – I’m eating more food, yet I’ve lost weight. 25 pounds of it, to be precise!
    I’ve been very good over the years at dressing to hide the increasing waistline, and now I don’t have to! I’ve lost 5 and a half inches off my waist and – you guessed it – I can finally get back into all those old clothes, and my new ones are a size down!!!
    Funnily enough, I had the very same discussion with my dietician earlier this week, when he signed me off and agreed I’d reached optimum weight if I didn’t want to lose all my remaining curves (my partner would be devastated). I can now fit into clothes in a size I never wore before – because they are so much more generous in measurement than they used to be.

    • dgkaye

      Wow Deb, thanks for sharing this info. It sounds like you and I have traveled the same weight path. Those menopause dragons have wreaked havoc on my body. Without changing my diet and exercising the spare tire magically resides around my middle. I’m so fed up with trying different tricks and not much of an eater yet the extra pounds won’t go away. So of course I want to hear from you what works!!!! FB me and tell me about your diet plan!!! Oh, I had to laugh, you’re so like me, hanging on to those clothes that we think we fit into again another time, lol. I’ve fluctuated through the years and found even when I did fit back in they fit differently because our bodies change shape even with weight loss. Damn old age, lol. 🙂

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