Monday Musings: Dress sizes
Dress size . . . there was a time that I could walk into a dress shop and buy something off the rack without trying it on. I knew it would fit. Not anymore and it is very frustrating. I was looking at skirt sizes on eBay last night (these were for new skirts) and I noticed that waist bands for a size 16 can range from 80cm to 100cm (the brand name clothes tended to be the smaller measurements). That is a 20cm differences. However if I looked at a size 12 I could find waist bands that ranged from 70cm to 85cm and size 14 can overlap both the smaller and larger size. It would be like buying a litre of milk and never knowing quite how much milk I would get. That is why we have standard measures, expect for clothing.
Australia has been without a uniform standard for adult clothing sizes since 2007 (I didn’t know that!) when the most recent standard were withdrawn because it was considered no longer relevant. (and no one thought about replacing it with something relevant?) Established in 1959, the standard used was based on a 1926 study of women conducted by underwear manufacturer Berlei and some US Department of Commerce Standards. After 1970, several revisions were made to the standard by the Australian Women’s Weekly when 11,455 female readers measured themselves and posted in the results (I wonder how accurate that would be - I would pretend I was slightly thinner than I was). But despite a heavier population, thicker waist lines (I know all about that!) and changing body shapes, no new data was collected for the women’s sizing standard after 1975.
CHOICE Magazine says men generally have it better than women when it comes to clothes shopping because their clothing is generally measured using specific waist and neck measurements in inches. There is a standard for children’s clothing sizes currently used in Australia. So why can’t there be standard size for women, what makes us different. I think I know why — women don’t like to buy clothes indicating their “real” size, so designers and manufacturers often understate clothing sizes in a bid to flatter customers' egos and persuade them to buy. This is known as vanity sizing. “Vanity sizing” is a well-known practice in the $2.8 billion dollar industry, with generous sizes designed to entice the consumer into buying the garment because they feel flattered to fit into a size smaller than their usual one.
I just want to be able to look at a size and know it fits (especially when I am buying on-line) . . . it is very annoying and I am sure I am not the only one who has this problem. But I doubt it will be fitted any time soon. Anyone else who suffers from this problem? Is this a problem in the USA?