I’m getting on my soapbox here. Is standardized sizing too much to ask for?
I’ve worked in the Halloween costume industry, technically a clothing industry. We needed to be pretty rigorous with our sizing, especially for children, so that we would match the industry standard. Parents in particular didn’t want to buy a size M for their kiddo and then get home to find out it’s too small. That sucks for the whole family, and can hurt sales.
Why, oh why, can’t the clothing industry follow suit?
It’s not like standard sizing hasn’t been done outside of Halloween costumes. We have pretty standard shoe sizing. You generally know your shoe size – mine is a size 7. When I pick up a pair of size 7 shoes, I usually know that my foot will fit. The shoe might be a little loose, or a little tight, or not fit quite right in the heel, but I at least have a reliable point of reference.
Shirts aren’t horrible. I’m top heavy (read, I have a big rack) so I know that if something fits in the chest it’ll be loose around the waist. Or at least that was the case before baby… But in general, I know what to expect, and reach for L or XL shirts with particular cuts or some stretch.
Then there are pants.
What the heck.
The other day I tried on 6 pairs of pants. Four pairs of size 18 pant, 1 pair of size 16, and one pair of XL. I have a big bum, and pre-baby I always had trouble finding jeans to fit my very-hourglass shape (I miss my waist, btw). Now I’m a bit more normally proportioned so I’m a pretty consistent size 16/18. Or, I would be if the pant sizes were also consistent.
The size XL pants were yoga pants – no big deal, they stretch and form to my proportions. I could have gone with a L, but I wanted extra rise to the waist.
The size 16 pants (cords) were a little snug, but in the encourage-me-to-lose-five-pounds way, where I can still comfortably wear them even while on the floor playing with Max.
The size 18 pants on the other hand… two pairs (cords and jeans) are a little too big in the waist and I’ll probably have to dart them (I’d rather buy a little bigger and alter them to fit me correctly). The other two pairs (jeans and khakis) didn’t even remotely fit. As in, barely made it past my knees.
How can it happen that two pairs of the same size jeans can be so far off that one can be slipped off without unbuttoning and the other couldn’t even make it to my thighs? They’re both wide leg, regular fit at the waist.
Oh, that’s right, they’re different brands.
And there are no sizing standards.
There are supposed sizing standards, but they aren’t followed. And that pisses me off. I have enough negative body image issues as it is (and I’m sure millions of other people do too). I don’t need this “will it fit, or will I feel like a fat failure” every time I try on an effing pair of pants. I don’t need to wonder if I’ve gotten so fat that I’ll no longer fit into a size 18 (which I already dislike, as I was a size 8 when I graduated high school) and have to move up a size. Or move up several sizes, in the case of the pants that only go up slightly past my knees.
I’m trying to think of solutions that will make me feel better. What makes me happy? Pants that fit. Keeping my business local. Creating. Handcrafts. Flipping the bird at industries that make me feel like crap. (Ok, that last one doesn’t make me happy per se, but it makes me feel better)
Be brand loyal to the jeans that do fit, and hope that they don’t discontinue the line.
Make my own pants. I have a plan for this…
Check out the recommendation I got for a talented local seamstress to see if she makes clothing as well as doing alterations. (I’ll need her for zipper installation, and maybe she’d even make me jeans)
Would you like to join me up on my soapbox? What are your gripes about clothing sizing? What are your solutions?