Musings: Clothing sizes and who buys them

I have long been jealous of how men’s clothing is sized. Specifically, men’s pants – waist and length. Women’s clothing is NOTHING like that. It’s an arbitrary letter (S, M, L) or number (8, 14, 20) – which really has no external verification for “accuracy.”

So I am sometimes a Large shirt. Sometimes Extra-Large. In some brands I am an XXL. And even then, it might be huge around my stomach/shoulders and tight around my breasts. Despite being a “woman’s cut.” Have they MET any women???

It’s why I’m such a huge fan of eShakti (see my review here) – they acknowledge and market that women are different sizes and shapes and make the customization more affordable. Looking at other women, I know I’m not that weird in shape and size. But somehow clothing manufacturers – even relatively “high end” brands (ok, I’m not talking Prada here or anything, but even Calvin Klein) can have the weirdest sizes and shapes for women.

I thought it was just women. I’ve recently learned it’s not just our clothes.

Remy is barely 2 months and well out of the 0-3 month old clothing. Oh, and supposedly he’s 50th percentile. HALF of all children are bigger than he is. So something is just wrong here.

Here’s my theory: Clothing makers figured out they don’t have to use real numbers on women’s clothing. Women tend to be the ones buying children clothes. Viola! We’ll put fake numbers on kid’s clothing too! Especially the stuff parents might be buying before baby is born! Mwa-ha-ha! (yes, I think they actually DO have an evil cackle)

For babies, like for men’s pants, we really need 2 measurements: maximum length and maximum weight (normal). “22I, 12L” – 22 inches max length, 12 pounds max weight. Not quite as good as men’s pants since I haven’t decided if that max length needs to be “neck to crotch” (as a lot of onesies don’t do legs) or “neck to bottom of fabric” – for my example I chose head-to-toes. BUT if you don’t have legs on the clothes, do you need the length of neck, head, and legs? You almost/basically never need head and neck…

Still, it would be better as long as everyone was giving the same standard of length. I would take any of those three options over the made-up sizing they use now!


2 thoughts on “Musings: Clothing sizes and who buys them”

  1. I’m so with you. My youngest is transitioning from kids clothes to Juniors size, and it’s bewildering. Sometimes she fits a juniors size small, sometimes it’s a medium. Sometimes the youth XL is way too big, sometimes it’s not long enough to cover her belly button. It’s infuriating to have to try on every single piece of clothing, and it makes online shopping nearly impossible. Do you think that’s part of it in some way? Keeping the big box stores open?

    Yesterday she bought 2 bathing suits, same manufacturer, same size, same cut. One fit very well, one was 2 inches too short and the bottom was way too tight. I just can’t. Ugh.


    1. I don’t think the clothing DESIGNERS (or manufacturers) necessarily care about the box stores. They DO care about their sales so I guess the ones that are exclusive to a box store might.

      I think it has more to do with the idea that we’re “supposed to” try things on so they don’t HAVE to be better. And until we hold them to a higher standard, why do they need to?


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