How often do you hear the question: “What dress size am I?” When was the last time you could effortlessly find a well-fitting outfit? What about the other women around you?
In most cases, the verdict is clear. Despite knowing our body measures properly, we have to sift through piece after piece in search of The One. This can go on for hours.
We often complain about it, true. Rightfully so. However, have you thought about why are women’s clothing sizes so all over the place?
Why on Earth is it so hard to find clothes that simply fit?
Throughout our years as practice as fashion designers, we have identified three main reasons why this happens. Let’s look at the secrets behind one of the biggest frustrations for any modern woman.
Firstly, clothes might be the same size, but their pattern is different!
If we asked you what size do you typically wear, what would you answer?
You would probably say something along the lines of “Well, most of the time I’m [your specific size]”
A surprising number of women think they share a universal size, despite the differences between brands we outlined in another article of ours. There’s one very fundamental reason why they’re wrong:
Clothing size depends on both the fit of the clothing and the elasticity of the fabric.
People rarely take this detail into consideration when they order clothes. This intricate combination of factors is one of the main reasons you see yourself jumping between different sizes all the time.
For example, think of a straight shift dress that’s not elastic at all. You try on a couple of different sizes and in the end you find out that the Large fits you the best.
However next time you go ahead and try on a cocoon oversize jersey dress. It’s not only stylish – you can stretch the fabric quite a bit, as it wraps your body in a warm kiss. You try on the Large and it’s enormous.
In fact, even the medium size dress is a bit too much. Eyebrows raised, you find out that it’s the small size of this dress that fits you perfectly.
Far too many women put too much trust into size labels, instead of keeping the fabric in mind.
And they think that the answer of the question: “What dress size am I?” is one and the same for every brand and every clothing fit.
There’s one more thing that is crucial – and that’s how you yourself feel in this dress.
Is it comfortable or uncomfortable?
This is the real question. Instead of worrying about size labels and sticking to “the one”, grab different sizes, try them on, experiment! Take the one that really fits you – according to your body measurements and body shape, not a slave to inaccurate labeling.
This is exactly what our Fit+Inch” algorithm does. Instead of confining you to sizing labels, we give you the best clothing options, based on your unique body shape and measurements. In addition, the Fit+Inch” algorithm not only factors in fabric elasticity and clothing fit, but it also keeps up with how you like to wear your clothes – fitted, regular or loose.
It’s a quick, easy and fun way to reinvent online shopping and help you find clothing that fits you as it should.
Secondly, garments might be the same size, but women’s bodies are different!
Do men have a problem finding well-fitting clothes?
Yes, they do…but certainly not as much as the amount of frustration a woman shopping for clothes experiences!
It’s no secret size inconsistency is largely a women’s problem. Men’s fashion usually involves fewer variations. Specialist Jessica Murphy who has helped many ladies find their size across brands has pinpointed the issue in this interview:
Men typically vary between two sizes at most. For women, this changes to at least three sizes! This is what fashion researchers call size migration.
One of the main reasons? Well, there are so many different body types among ladies!
Here comes the problem: a lot of the sizing labels don’t take into account the shape of your body. This is especially easy to see with dresses.
We totally agree with the observations of fashion expert Janice Wang, who says the following:
“…the root cause of many ill-fitting garments is the industry misconceptions that the hourglass figure is the dominant body shape today”.
Do you want to be shocked?
The actual number of US women with an hourglass-shaped body is around 8.4% according to SizeUSA data. Compared with other main shapes like the rectangle shape (46.12%), spoon shape (20.92%) or inverted triangle shape (13.83%), this is a minority!
Yet this minority still drives industry standards – something we covered in our article on why shopping for apparel is simply a pain.
So what’s the solution? What is the answer of “What dress size am I?”
Well, not every brand can cater to every shape and its beautiful little details. Some of them don’t even try. Many brands adopt a niche strategy by simply specializing in a specific target group and produce their garments around this demographic.
We’ve seen this in our years of practice as designers. What we do as a platform is helping you identify your brand – the one that makes outfits for other women with the same body shape and similar body measurements. Instead of glancing over your unique body like mainstream fashion, we find you the best clothing options for a lifestyle full of excitement. And we help you find the answer of the question: “What dress size am I?”
Thirdly, clothes might be the same size, but the suppliers are different!
As we have previously discussed, there is no universal “template” for size charts. Therefore, it’s up to brands themselves to devise their own systems and they do so readily…
…at the expense of female customers.
Was it different before?
Well, if we’re talking about the beginning of the 20th century, yes. Companies back then were required to be consistent with their sizes. The purpose was simple: everyone had to be able to buy garments without the need to actually try them on or wonder “What dress size am I?”
As time passed, populations got more diverse and lots of new types of clothing were introduced to the market. This made it increasingly difficult to stick to only one standard. At one point, regulatory authorities gave up and let sizing tables stay only as voluntary guidelines for firms.
This is why you can see variations in anything from dresses to jeans.
We’re not talking about an inch or two either!
In addition, brands are non-stop engaging in the infamous practice of vanity sizing. In short, vanity sizing means that many firms are ready to slap a smaller size label on a piece of clothing that’s of a larger size. That 6 you see can easily be an 8, or even 10! So finding the answer of the question “What dress size am I?” gets even more difficult to be found.
We’ve condemned this deceiving practice in a previous post of ours. Unfortunately, vanity sizing still remains one of the driving forces behind the fashion market.
There’s a harsh truth supported by research:
Many women are ready to buy outfits that make them feel good – and a smaller size garment is proven to have such an effect.
Therefore this stimulates brands to continue with their vanity sizing strategies, but ultimately the result is more confusion around the elusive matter of sizing labels. So next time when you go shopping, instead of asking the question “What dress size am I?”, just find the dress in which you feel most comfortable. Do not worry about size labels!