General Question

peedub's avatar

What is up with the variation in sizing these days?

Asked by peedub (8703points) April 11th, 2008

From experience I’ve found that one store’s size 31 (waist), is another’s size 28. I can under stand the psychology behind a manufacture wanting to make someone feel like they have a smaller waist than they do so that people will like buy their clothing. What I don’t understand is why:
a. some do the complete opposite
b. this can vary so much among different designers.

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15 Answers

TheHaight's avatar

I do see this happening too!! And sometimes mirrors can make you look different! You know what? I bet sizes were wayyy different back then too. Like, medium was a large back then… Or just like food portions- there way bigger now then back then. Its just whats happening to our society.

Randy's avatar

I think the designers, and chefs being as TheHaight brought up food, male things sizes that fit them. Like if a designer is a med, but think they are a large, then their clothes will tend to be slightly smaller to accomodate, and vice versa. I think its happening with everything that is sized.

peedub's avatar

@TheHaight- You are right. Actually it was one of your responses that reminded me of this old enigma ( ). Yeah the Gap, for instance, has amazingly warm lighting that makes their sub par clothing look acceptable, whereas a store like H&M has bright lights that make the already tight pair of pants look like you have even bigger muffin tops than you do. I just wanted to say muffin tops.

Randy's avatar

Sorry to get off subject, but Mmmmm. Muffin tops are the best part. Not on people though…

TheHaight's avatar

haha muffin tops. Yeah, I agree. Or that horrid store abercrombie and fitch… Its completely dark in there and sizes are small. I really just think that as a society we are way bigger now than before, and its getting worse. God it takes forever for me to type on my iPhone! :-/

eambos's avatar

In any one of the stores that you mentioned, the mirrors are concave. They make you look just a little bit skinnier while you are in the store, which is why nothing looks as good when you get home.

jonno's avatar

Wikipedia calls this Vanity Sizing, I thought the article was interesting. It says it happens mainly in the US as they don’t have standardised clothing sizes there. So of course the manufacturers manipulate the size numbers so that people feel better about their size and are therefore more likely to buy the product. It’s the same deal with the mirrors that make you look smaller.

mcbealer's avatar

Yes, CBS Sunday Morning News did a segment on this phenomenon. They showed how mannequins have changed over the years, especially in ladies clothes. What used to be a size 8 is now a (gasp) 12. That is why casual, yoga style pants and track suits are so popular these days.

Breefield's avatar

Personally I’m a 30 – 36, but 38 would be veery nice. The best I’ve found is 30 – 36 on but generally clothing that fits me fight is way hard to come by.

FlutherMother's avatar

Funny thing. When I was a teenager (back in th stone age), I had a 24 inch waist at 5 foot 9 and most of my clothing was labeled as a size 10. Yesterday, I was chatting with my friend who I work out with and we were talking about this. I just checked the sizing charts of various stores online and if I were to be the exact same measurements of my high school days, I would wear a size 2. So when people tell you that they wear the same size as they did in high school, you know exactly how they manage it! :-)

cwilbur's avatar

A lot of it is poor quality control. One of the reasons I like shopping at L. L. Bean is that their sizing is extremely consistent: I can try on one pair of pants of a certain size, and then every other pair of pants in that size will be exactly the same size. (Well, allowing for intentional variances like “relaxed cut” on jeans.)

Other stores, you have to try on every pair of pants, and there can be a difference of an inch or two in two pairs that are allegedly the same size. And these are men’s clothes, where the measurements are supposed to be the waist and inseam measurement in inches—it’s not redefining women’s sizes to be flattering.

gailcalled's avatar

And what about trying to get a bra that is both attractive and comfortable (meaning that you won’t have a punctured lung by dinner time) and washable.

FlutherMother's avatar

@gailcalled, you made me laugh. Thanks to a menopausal weight gain, I am popping out of my bras (I wish that was ALL I was popping out of). Just last week, I measured for the first time since I stopped nursing 8 years ago. I plugged the exact same measurements into several of those online calculators. Playtex says I need an A cup and Herfit says I needed a D!!!! How do they figure that one? And the last time I was able to shove these babies into an A cup was back with the 24 inch waist! I hate shopping for anything now-a-days because all the sizes vary with the manufacturer and it is difficult to find the correct sizing without hours of dressing room time. That goes for pants, shirts and bras – it’s such a pain.

gailcalled's avatar

@Fluthermother; tell me about it. Since I had a small lumpectomy, I have one girl (surgically perkier B) and one old lady C. And there is the issue now of where the boobs stop and the underarm -erm – material starts.

So, can I blame it all on the mirrors? I will probably be in rags before I shop again in a store.

And how did you from nursing to menopause in 8 years?

@susanc; feel free to chime in. (My bra guru).

FlutherMother's avatar

@gailcalled, it is a mystery to my doctor and me. It kind of swooped in on me. A short while back, while exercising 1 hour every day and being pretty active (as in a I’ve got three sports nuts so I am always at the field and not in front of the t.v. with a donut kind of way) and not really changing my eating habits, I started to gain weight particularly in the waist – I seriously gained about 8 inches in about 6 months out of the blue. Prior, I only gained in my thighs and nowhere else. My monthlies stopped completely right before that happened and quite often I was having these mild (they didn’t bother me) heat waves where I would feel all tingly and I would perspire around my hairline. My mom’s mom had her first child at 41 and my mom miscarried a baby at 40, so at 39, that was the last thing on my radar. And despite my husband being fixed when our youngest was born, and the fact that I never cheated on him, I ended up taking about 20 pregnancy tests. I ended up going to a woman’s specialist and she did every test known to humans on me and found out that I hit menopause early and fast (I recently turned 41). She said that I was in amazing health – better than some of her average weight patients! She can’t figure what happened. I don’t really miss the monthly stuff and I am kind of glad my hot flashes didn’t keep me up and soak the bed, but I wish it had waited until I was like 50 or something. It scared the crud out of me when I didn’t know what was happening. I had my last child at 31 and I nursed for over a year – so probably the difference was 7 years between the last nursing and my first symptoms. My twin was getting hers twice a month while I was missing mine – we still joke about it.

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