Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is Standardized Sizing Too Much to Ask For?

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)

Solution one:
Be brand loyal to the jeans that do fit, and hope that they don’t discontinue the line.
Solution two:
Make my own pants. I have a plan for this…
Solution three:
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?


~ Regan said...

Tell me about it. Its maddening, isn't it??

Since I had my kiddo, my hips have never gone 'back'. It's not bad having a curvier figure- if I'm wearing a dress 24/7. I have two pairs of jeans. Two. I can't seem to find jeans that fit my hips and legs and not sag in the waist or be high-waters. I get so mad trying on jeans I usually give up with in 20 minutes or so.
(And, when I do find a pair that fits, I will put them back if theyre too expensive.)
What drives me nuts is that you can get three pairs of the exact brand name and size of jeans, and they all seem to fit differently!

WolfSong said...

Oh my. Clothing sizes. Yeah, clothing sizes cheese me off to no end. Store bought clothes in general piss me off-to be blunt.

Unless you have mega bucks to spend-and I don't!-buying new clothes is a waste of time and energy. 99% of the clothes that fit a modest budget are the crappiest quality ever. I mean, since when did thread bare become a fashion statement? And don't get me started on the really bad assembly. If I sewed clothes together like that, I would be embarrassed to wear them! Most of the clothes are done on a serger now, so why is lining up seams so damn hard?!?

So, my solution? Thrift stores. I shop a lot of thrift stores. Especially for jeans. As a family, we are very hard on jeans-Hubby is a welder, Kid is a normal 10 year old, and I work in the yard/garden daily-so we need quality. I find that in older, worn jean. The denim is heavier, the sewing is superior, and even if I have to patch a pair or 2, at $4 a pair, so what!

I also make 95% of the Kid's clothes. Partly because of sizing-it starts early! Kids clothes are just as out of whack for sizing...I wonder how many 10-14 year olds have eating disorders due to manufacturers shitty sizing systems...I just make the Kid's jeans, and she gets to choose the fabrics, and the embellishments. Sometimes, it can be a bit more pricey, but her self-esteem, and positive body outlook, is worth it.

The other reason I make her clothes is because the styles that are out there to buy for her age group are...hmmm, how to say this...well, they are bordering on Junior Whore. I cannot, and will not let my Kid dress like a Prosti-Tot, just because big business says that's the new style for girls.

Not that I'm a prude. I'm not. However, Kid doesn't need shorts where her bum cheeks hang out, or tops that are cut low enough to show non-existent cleavage. She's 10, she doesn't need to be sexy. She needs to play in the dirt, and the rain, and enjoy her youth and freedom while she can.

So, to sum up...Clothing manufacturers piss me off because:

1. Sizes are screwed up.
2. Low to middle cost(and even some higher priced) clothing is cheap in quality, and doesn't last.
3. Construction of the garments is shameful Simply shameful.
4. Prosti-tot wear for kids/tweens makes me want to puke.

I daresay it shows I have issues with clothing manufacturers. LOL! ;)

Jessie said...