Toward a Different Language of Size – New York Times

I’ve raved on about this issue in a lot of past posts … my problem with brands who have stupid sizing, and one in particular, that has on its site “model wears M” that leaves those of us that are usually a size M scrambling around looking for an XL. this article in the New York Times is spot on … hit the link to read the full article.

It’s a fraught, intensely personal discussion. But one way to begin to address it may be to ask whether, as far as the size issue goes — the way bodies are numerically labeled — it’s time to rethink the whole thing. After all, as we all know, it long ago ceased to make any sense.

“Women’s sizing is arbitrary,” Janice Wang, the chief executive of Alvanon, a Hong Kong company that uses technology to update fit patterns to adapt to contemporary body types, wrote in an email. “Each size sort of falls within a range of 1 to 1.5 inches, in the smaller sizes, 2 to 2.5 inches in the larger sizes. The range varies depending on the age demographic of a brand, depending on the lifestyle tribes that the brand is aspiring to, depending on the silhouettes of the creative designer.”

Lots of articles have been written about the absurdity that any given person can be a size 0 in one brand, a 4 in another and an 8 in another (or a 32 or 38 or 40 if we’re being European, or a 6 or 10, say, if in England). Despite the silliness of that, the fact that the sizes can be anything at all is indicative of what Cora Harrington, the founder of the Lingerie Addict, recently called out in a viral tweet storm as “thin privilege.”

Because annoying as it is, that person is still able to find clothes that fit in pretty much any place they wander into, even if the sizes vary, which is not true of women size 14 and up. Which is itself ridiculous given that the average American woman now wears clothing in size 16 to 20, according to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education.


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Comments 1

  1. The sizing system is ludicrous even when parts of your body are a size 10! What happens when you’re a big-busted woman with tiny hips? You end up being a size 14 in the top half and a 8 to 10 below the bust-line. In reality, hardly any of us are neatly in proportion.

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