The Problem With Women’s Sizing

“To be a woman is to be warbound, knowing all the odds are stacked against you.” – Amanda Lovelace

All it takes is going shopping with a woman once or even stepping foot in the women’s area of a store to realize how messed up the sizing is.

When an extra-small in one store fits like a medium in another. When there’s a size two, large, and 25 all in the same store and they mean different things. You know you have a problem.

The sizing is all too inconsistent. A guy can look for jeans and say “Hey, I’m a size 38, 34.” and instantly find a pair of jeans that fit him perfectly.

On the other hand, a woman will go into a store and say “Hey, I think I’m a small, but sometimes a 25, could be a double zero, you never know”. Then it’ll take about five different styles and sizes to find a pair that fits, well good enough. 

Why is this?

The original sizing chart for women was based on malnourished white women in 1958.  It was more or less realistic for women back then but is even less realistic for today’s women.

Then there is the vanity sizing situation. This is when the size of the tag is lowered in an attempt to get the customer to buy the product, appealing to the person’s vanity.

Sizing = Marketing

In a way, sizing became a form of marketing.

Different stores size their garments to fit their target market. They also go about tweaking the information until they sell more products and lower the return rates. 

The harsh reality means that even brands that are owned by the same company. For instance how GAP owns Athleta, Old Navy, and Banana Republic but a size 8 at Banana Republic will be a 2 at GAP.


The sad news is that there is no quick fix for this situation. It’s a real problem that needs a real and permanent solution. This will require a lot of time, work and energy. Who knows how long it will take to come up with a real solution. For now, I’ll be stuck in the dressing room trying on countless different combinations of styles and sizes to find one that fits just alright.

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