The Sizing Game: Women’s Fashion and How it Makes No Sense

I posted the following status last week on my personal facebook page:

“So yesterday, I went and tried on clothes. I tried on a size 2 dress, a size 4 skirt, a pair of size 5 jeans, a pair of size 9 jeans, a skirt marked XS, and some capris tagged M. They all fit. The moral of this story? Women’s clothing sizes are all bullshit.”

The response was overwhelming.

This got me thinking: why are women’s clothing size charts like some sort of evil science experiment or sadistic math problem?

I read this article on, which a friend of mine shared with me and it offered insight to a lot of things about women’s clothing in general. My favorite section though, was what it had to say on Women’s clothing sizes:

“This isn’t just a recent trend. Women’s clothing manufacturers have been making up sizes as far back as sizes have existed. According to one fashion historian, a 32-inch bust would have come out to a size 14 in a 1937 Sears catalog, while being labeled a size 8 in 1967, and coming down to a size 0 in today’s terms.”

The question is why and the answer is simple.

Ladies, look in your mirrors right now, this is your entire fault.

The obsession with being a smaller and smaller size, especially in today’s culture, has caused many brands to not only change their sizing scales, but also assign completely arbitrary numbers to articles of clothing which have no meaning. It is utterly baffling to know your size without trying something on, and the worst part is that even once you know your size, the store may adjust their scale a few years later to accommodate younger and smaller size customers….like Forever 21 did for example.

I noticed size disparity when I worked at the Timeless Trends booth at Otakon on Saturday as well. The sizes some women gave me were just laughable in how wrong they were.

Why can’t we have a regular sizing chart with numbers reflecting our actual measurements?

Because women don’t like knowing their actual measurements. Some women will think it’s the end of the world to hear they have a 28 inch waist instead of a 25 inch waist, or 38 inch hips instead of 36 inch hips.  Having a smaller number size makes a woman feel better, and when women feel better about their size, they buy more clothes. It’s as simple as that.

But maybe it’s time we stop caring about the numbers. There’s so much pressure on women to be this shape and not that shape, be this size and not that size…..we should just embrace what we have, as long as we are healthy. Isn’t that all that really matters?

But until then, I guess my size range is anywhere from XS-to 11 and L-0.


2 responses to “The Sizing Game: Women’s Fashion and How it Makes No Sense

  1. I used to own a vintage clothing store. The question ‘what size is this?’ drove me insane because there is absolutely no logical way to explain how sizes have changed over the years or why a 1960s size 13 fits perfect when I’m a 4 in Calvin Klein. Vanity sizing sucks!

  2. I just bought some bras last night. And it was the same kind of situation. What should have been a size, say 40 D, depending on manufacturer, the give in the material used to make it, and what appear to be the randomly assigned numbers you’ve mentioned made the whole experience ‘interesting’ to put it politely, and usually wound up being what I would call a 44F or 38B. Add to that the fact that, like many females out there, one of my boobs is bigger than the other, and you can see why I was minutely examining each and every one to try to determine if it was even worth trying on. “Hmmm….. is this a true D cup? And if so, will it be a ‘tight’ one or one that has some “give” to it? Will i be able to squeeze the larger boob into it? *sighs* So yeah, interesting. And you would think that bras supposedly being strictly made to certain measurement ratios of so many inches per cup size greater than the band inches, that they would be the one female clothing item actually made to a true scale. Not so much!

    And yes, it is due in a large part to vanity. However, I would GLADLY give up all the nice happy lower number sizes in the world to don nothing but size 50’s or 87’s (or whatever) if I could just be guaranteed that the numbers were uniformly standard and actually meant something. I actually hate clothes shopping. I’d love to be able to walk into any store and grab the correct size in an item that doesn’t offend my casual nature too badly and get the heck out without a lot of trying on of clothing items. I’ve never been one to be that into vanity so perhaps I’m alone in that. But seriously, I think it would be worth it!

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