Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sizing Standards in Fashion: Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Find me a match!

Vanity sizing is one of the most horrific things ever to hit the market. It makes online shopping nearly impossible when you are not familiar with the brand. I mean yeah a lot of brands have easy return policies, but what do you do if you are under time and/or finacial constraints?

At times, it even turns in store shopping expierences into a marathon of wardrobe changes as you try to find the right size! I mean is it just me or is it insane that even brands with their own dedicated stores do not have standardized sizing? How is that in any way shape or form contributing to an enjoyable shopping expierence?

I mean it would seem simple enough for brands to make standardized sizes across the board for at least their own items. They own the store and control where it is sold. Unlike, lets say brands that are forced to rely on retailers to sell their wares. And yet, we still have the problem where you can walk into a store that sells only its own wares and wonder what size am I?

Unfortunately, I do know one of the reasons why this occurs and is so hard to prevent. Companies (especially global brands) outsource production to factories all over the world. These factories have different machines and standards of production. As such, the fits are not standard and this is how we find ourselves in a world where even brands lack universal sizing throughout their collections.

The reason I decided to bring this whole sizing issue up even though there really is no ready solution is because it impacts my life every time I shop. Last weekend, my husband and I recently got into an argument in Uniqlo over sizing. I picked up a pair of leggings marked LG and was sure they would fit. He was unsure as it said it was intended for those withe a 32 inch waist. To put it simply, I swoon at the thought of being that slender! Back and forth we went. I told him let's just buy it and see what happens. I got home, put them on, and guess what they fit! He apologized, and said the only reason he argued is that he did not want to me upset if they did not fit as the sizing measurements did not match my own.

As you can see from this example alone, being plus sized has made clothes shopping quite the creative enterprise. I've had to figure out what brands give me breathing rooom and what items can stretch literally and figuratively to meet my needs. I live for those moments when I can feel "normal" and buy something in a fashionable store. So, when brands add vanity as well as lack of standards in sizing into the mix it makes plus size shopping painful.

Why exactly is it worse than what straight sizes have to go through? At least, more often than not, you have the opportunity to try something on in a store. The majority of plus size merchandise has been pushed out of brick and mortar outlets and onto the Internet. Sure more stores have popped up, but it has made sizing so disparate. Like for example, I can be a size 12 in some items and in others a 22. It makes absolutely no sense, but this is the world we live in.

One way to combat it is to know your measurements. As much as it is a groan worthy expierence to assess one's girth, it can also be a really freeing expierence. You can look at size charts and know whether something will fit you! Well, to a point that is really.

What you truly get out of it is knowing that a number on a tag doesn't define your size.

1 comment:

  1. You're using the same Marilyn photo as was used in 2008, which claims that she was a size 12.