I hear this from so many women! Women who are a size 4– to women who wear a 16—I say it myself –a lot! What the heck is going on? Who’s in charge of making our clothes? Who decides how small a small is? Why are you a 0 at Banana Republic but a 10 at H&M?
Well, I can’t tell you specifically, as it varies with every manufacturer, but, I can tell you this: In 1947, a size 10 was the equivalent of a size 2 today! So, yes, we have grown bigger, but we are healthier, stronger and more gorgeous. Today, the average measurements for American females over the age of 20 are:
- Height: 5″3″
- Weight: 163 lbs.
- Waist: 37.5”
60% of American women are plus sizes (N.Y.Times says this is size 16 and up). The most common size worn in America is 14.
If most of us wear average sizes, why can’t we find them?
Well—the bottom line, of course, is money. Manufacturers spend less to make things faster and more inexpensively. They don’t last because of cheap fabric and poor workmanship. On top of that, if you cut every seam a quarter of an inch smaller, you’re saving money, but the fit of the clothing changes. Duh. A 6 is no longer a 6….and we beat ourselves up because things don’t fit.
Another factor is that most of our clothes are now made in China! Interestingly, the fabric may be made somewhere else, but, the clothes are cut and assembled in China. Somehow, a size 10 is really about a size 6, maybe even smaller. They have no idea about the build of American women.
More than half of women are more likely to ditch a potential purchase than opt for a larger size than what they believe they are (or want to be). Over the years, that’s led many designers to adopt “vanity sizing,” which has made what was once a size 10, for example, into a size 4. Some brands have acknowledged that their sizes run large so women “feel skinny” when they fit into what appears to be a smaller size. Designers often have to tell clients to ignore the label.
I tell my customers that all the time–it’s not fair, and it’s discouraging. I find most of the things I wear by trial and error. You are probably the same. We kind of know what size we are by just looking at a piece–go with your instincts, not the number.
There’s another type of sizing out there–we”ll talk about that next time. Meanwhile–don”t give up. As long as we care, there’s hope. Maybe we all have to go on strike and stop buying?!?
Think happy thoughts.. Love Bren