you mean I haven't lost weight? sighing over size tags

 This past spring an article that appeared in the New York Times considered the sizing of women's clothing. This chart (shamelessly copied from the article and slightly imperfectly joined where the technology here at Flintstone Towers didn't quite - well, you know) - this chart, as I say, sums up the reporter's findings. The conclusions will come as no surprise to anyone who shops on the web, or who wanders from store to store on Madison Avenue. Here is a link to the article itself, which is worth reading.

What the article doesn't discuss is the variation in sizes at the same merchant where items are produced in different countries, or in the same country but at different manufacturers. I have come home from Lord and Taylor, a perfectly respectable department store, with 3 pairs of Ralph Lauren Collection pants (not known for cost-cutting, but still) to try with a jacket, each pair in a different size. And with yet another size for the Calvin Klein pants that might work with that jacket. I think they cut costs at the factory by putting the size tags on in the dark. Or it could be another example of that old saying, "First you pick the order, then you put the size tags." 

Thoughts? Has your size changed "effortlessly" in the past few years? 


  1. Mine certainly have. I'm 5'9, with a 27" waist and a 37" bust. I should NOT be fitting into sz. 0 anywhere and yet, I can at several different retailers. At Lands End, I can even fit into sz. XXS petite! I have J Crew cords from various years in sz.2 thru 6 and they all fit the same.
    It's maddening. And I think it's a symptom of the times-- like where everyone gets a gold star even if they failed, every team wins, no child is left behind, and everyone get's to be a sz. 0.

  2. It is bizarre- in 1992 at 110 lbs I wore size 29 jeans, and size 4 or 6 pencil skirts. I weigh about 15 lbs more, but now I wear a 0 pencil skirt at J Crew...

    I mean, heavens, those svelte California twins from Sweet Valley were size 6 in the 80s!

    Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to ask the size opinions of 15 different people just to get an idea of the fit on something before ordering online!

  3. I don't care about the numbers, I just want some consistency darn it! My size has changed but it's never consistent as you mention, even in the same brand.

    Recently overheard in the fitting room, what sounded like a daughter complaining to her mother that she did not want the size 2, she wanted the size 0. Mother said she should get the size that fits, never mind the number. Of course I was feeling anonymous and piped up, "After you buy it, just cut out the size tag - problem solved." Crickets.

  4. What I don't understand is that, if I, as someone on the north side of 125 pounds, can wear a size XS or a size 0 or size 2 at J Crew, then where do the real size 0 people shop? At Crewcuts?

  5. Hi, Egyptomaniac, if we were all perfect would it be boring or do the perfect not succumb to boredom?

  6. Hi, thatdamngreendress, our luggage got lost on a flight to the Keys a while ago, and we were directed to a mall with Sears and Penney's to find replacements pending the hunt. Now those were sizes.

  7. xoxo, you've reminded me of my favorite patient mother shopping with teen story: 3rd floor of Bloomingdales (juniors, logos, denim), and teen is patiently explaining that everything in the whole store (9 floors, 1 city block) is for old people, pointing at me. What a brat, think I. What do you mean, sighs the martyred mom. Well, says the darling girl, that woman has to be almost 30. They wouldn't let me bring the kid home with me.

  8. dinster, your guess is as good as mine. Although I sometimes treat myself to a flannel shirt from the boys' section at the RL outlet.

  9. I don't get hung up on size as there is so much variation among brands and garment shapes. I grab my typical size in that label and go up or down accordingly.

    I do wear a smaller size in than I wore in my late teens/early twenties. As I understand it, somewhere along the line, manufacturer changed their sizing to keep medium (8-10) sizes in line with their expanding mid sized clients and the other sizes were scaled up or down proportionally. Since this sized out some of the smallest women, smaller numerical sizes were added. This isn't vanity sizing, but scaling your offering to the needs of your average customer.

    I am 5'4" and have weighed from 120 to 126 pounds for my entire adult life (excluding pregnacy) and my measurements and body comp have not changed much over the years. I feel like I must be a complete cow when everyone whines about J Crew's vanity sizing in their pencil skirts as I have purchased the same size 6 I have bought for over a decade. I do think sizing on some of their tops is nuts, but I just don't see huge variations in bottoms as I never go up or down more than one size and chalk most of it up to differences in cuts.

    As far as variations across manufactures goes, every one cuts to a different ratio of bust, waist, hip, etc. If Ann Taylor didn't favor a smaller waist/larger hip fit, I wouldn't have very many skirts at all. Also, I know many people complain about JC's jacket and shirt shoulders been tight, but they are one of only places I can find fitted jackets and button fronts that fit my narrow upper body. I appreciate that fits and sizing vary as womens' body shapes vary and this gives the potential for something for everyone.

    I do find it annoying with two of the exact same garment fit differently. For example, I tried on 7 pairs of the same jean a few weeks ago to find a second pair that fit like one I has just purchased and loved enought to want a backup. Also, it is irritating to find that the JC hacking jacket I just purchased in the berry color is a much smaller fit than the tipped one I went to the store to try on for sizing.

  10. Hi, kitsmommy, you're one of the lucky ones. I could feel my face turning green with envy as I read your comment. With you on the inconsistency issue - 7 pairs of jeans is too much! OK, now I will go apply concealer all over my face. Wish I could apply it to my hips.

  11. LOL @ hip concealer! If we could make and bottle that you and I could shop anywhere we want.

    My form of hip concealer is 30-40 minutes in the gym 3-4 times a week since I was in college. Still, I would love to be able to give away 5 pounds of my too ample booty.

  12. I was a 36 European or a 6 here for years. Now I am anywhere between a 0 to a 4. It's constantly a guessing game.

  13. Hi, Rose, my size - well, pick one. Pick two. I have sizes. Lends new meaning to the thought that true beauty transcends size.


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