Friday, 8 April 2016

How clothing sizing has changed over the decades : the modern ladies sizing dilemma

In this modern day and age you can't be sure whether that top hanging so daintily in a shop window will fit you, and if it will what size will you have to get. It's not a simple case of every designer and company following the same size guide, in the modern world we have a silly thing called vanity sizing which has quite frankly done away with common sense when it comes to clothing sizes.

It didn't used to be that way though, clothing sizes were completely different going back to the 1940's as an example, what we view as an industry standard size 8 today was a size 14 then. It's astonishing to see how sizing has changed over the decades, some would say in a pace to keep up with growing body sizes and trends. The average woman in the 1940's would have had a 27" waist and 39" hips compared to an average of a 34" waist & 40" hips today, the difference does seem quite vast and although most statistics can always be a little off, it may still go some way to explaining the difference in sizing today. Even looking closer to the 1970's what's regarded as a size 10 today would have been closer to a size 14 then with a 4” difference in the measurements.

This change to 'vanity sizing' certainly has thrown much confusion into the fashion industry with no two retailers sticking to the same sizing guide, a size 8 with one company may be a size 10 with another. It also throws another spanner in the works, the issue with the fit of clothing which as most women have experienced at one time or another is never perfect, statistically speaking around two-thirds of women fail to find clothing that fits perfectly, with the change in sizing it would also appear that many in the industry just can't get the average women's size right.

If vanity sizing were to be thrown out of the window and an industry standard sizing stuck to we may just see a wonderful change in the industry, sadly it seems nobody is a rush to fix this but at least we can trust some companies and independent designers to get our sizing and fit spot on. It's certainly astonishing to see the difference in sizing over the decades, a simple rummage through the rails at a vintage shop will reveal a wide range of sizing differences from history.

So how does the modern lady ensure that those new items of clothing will fit? The best advice is to try a variety of sizes closest to your sizing, some retailers do stick to and display the industry standard of sizes so you can find your size and go from there. If you're shopping online check those size guides, and where you can look for retailers and sites who list the exact measurements of each item, not everybody does this unfortunately but there are some wonderful retailers who do and it certainly saves disappointment when an ill fitting item arrives in the post that you couldn't check the measurement on prior to ordering.

For now it seems as if sizing is still a landmine to navigate where we have to make the best of a rather confusing sizing situation.

Images: Flickr commons

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