Why do women’s clothing sizes seem to vary between different shops way more than men’s clothing?

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I am tall and plus sized and it is a nightmare to know what size I am supposed to be of anything. I am anywhere from a size UK 12 to UK 18 depending on the brand / item etc.

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13 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Lots of advertising aimed at women is designed to create insecurity, and then sell a product as the cure for that insecurity. By labeling women’s clothing in meaningless terms, and by having absolutely no standardization for sizing, more opportunities are created to exploit that insecurity.

So “because marketers are assholes”.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In addition to other comments- women also buy clothes to fit differently with many more measurements. Whereas men buy based on waist and inseam, women buy based on rise, waist, hips and inseam, which vary drastically per person based on body shape. One clothing size can’t capture these differences. A size 8 at one store may have a smaller waist and larger hips than another store, because it makes clothes for a different shape of woman.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In the US, women’s clothing sizes are pretty much arbitrary. Men’s clothing sizes are nominally based on inches. So a women’s size 12 jeans isn’t anchored to any specific measurement, while men’s size 34 jeans are supposed to be 34 inches around the waist.

I say “nominally” for men’s sizes because in casual clothing, there has also been a certain amount of creep, and size 34 men’s jeans may be 36 or 38 inches.

The reason for this creep is vanity. As we age, we tend to put on weight. If you’re shopping for jeans and you “know” you’re a size 34 and you fit in one brand and not the other, you’ll buy the size 34 instead of admitting you’re a size 36.

In men’s clothes, the measurements are still accurate in more formal dress; men’s dress clothing is often customized to fit, and so the sizes are accurate representations.

I presume that there is similar pressure on the women’s clothing market as well, but that is further compounded by the fact that the original sizing was pretty arbitrary to begin with.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Between *shops*?

My wife has bought the same *brand* of clothes – the same *item*, even – and they’re different sizes because one was made in Egypt and the other in Malaysia.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I mean its the same with men too, but obv at a lesser extent. Im a Large at Old Navy, but an XL at American Eagle lmao. Definitely marketing strategy for insecurity.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Women’s clothing sizes are arbitrary but measurements (bust, waist, high hip and hip) are not. The most efficient thing to do, even though it’s tedious, is to know your measurements and check each brand’s sizing chart to know what size you are.  

 EDIT: this method is less likely to work for fast fashion brands because their sizing can be very inconsistent. It is useful for resellers like Poshmark etc though since measurements are often included. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

Ya know, one piece of legislation I’d absolutely support?

Mandatory use of standard measuring units for clothing sizes. Metric or Freedom Units, I can’t care which, as long as it’s objective.

Women’s sizes are the absolute worst offenders. They’re entirely subjective, which defeats the purpose of having measurements at all. Even sized? Odd sized? Some are “misses” and some are “missus?” What the fuck.

They have actual dimensions which can be measured objectively, and that’s what we should be doing. Gods know the marketing assholes don’t *also* need a bullshit, made up sizing system to fuck with women’s heads even more.

Shoe sizes, you’re next. A shoe is so many units long and so many wide. You don’t even need to differentiate between kids sizes, men’s or women’s shoe sizes. It’s just…the shoe is 9 inches long or whatever. That’s all you should need to know to pick shoes to try on.

And this Small/Medium/Large/XL t shirt size bullshit? Come on. Width at the shoulders and length should be what we need to know, right?

Pants…*somehow* blue jeans *already use inches,* and they sell just fine.

Fuck, man. This isn’t a goddam differential equation class. It’s just, objects have dimensions, as so people. We should be able to measure ourselves and immediately find garments of compatible dimensions. It’s 2024 for fuck’s sake.

Anonymous 0 Comments

My cousin is a fit model, which is a career I did not know existed until she started doing it. She has a handful of regular brands that she works with – a few higher end designers, but also a major casual brand that you all know. She represents their size small (US 4) and goes in for fittings with the designers each season. They essentially use her as a living mannequin to tailor the garments for that size (I assume they work with different models for size medium, large, etc.) I think the fact that there’s an actual human body involved in the process can account for the differences in sizes across brands, like what if my cousin’s hips are an inch bigger or smaller than the fit model for another brand?

Plus also vanity sizing like many others have said, I’ve worn the same Madewell jeans for years and somehow have gone down two sizes without losing two sizes worth of weight.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They don’t really have less order than men’s clothing, the genreral rule is that you have to figure out your size for each cut of a clothing, from each manufacturer, and Women’s clothing have infinitely more variations in cuts/shapes making it seem like men’s clothing is more structured. It’s not.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Men’s clothing is simpler (waist and inseam), women’s clothing is not. Size 12? What the frick does that even mean?

But men’s clothing is still not immune to sizes being very different with different brands. A 36 in one brand might be equivalent to a 42 in another brand. Also, the “waist size” on the label may be very different than ones actual waist measurement.