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  • Look at this note; it's from the Blue Book Modeling Agency in 1945.

  • It says Norma Jeane, who you might also know as Marilyn Monroe, was in fact, a size 12.

  • She was.

  • but back in the 50s, a size 12 was very thin.

  • That was a model.

  • You know, a size 12 then would be about a size 6 now.

  • Well, to be exact, she would be a size 8 at Topshop, 6 at Zara, and 4 to 6 at American Apparel.

  • To actually show you the inconsistencies, I went shopping.

  • I bought 3 jeans at 3 different stores, all in the same size.

  • Were already off to a bad start.

  • These all look different.

  • This is not a 4.

  • This one is the one in the middle.

  • This one fits!

  • Hold up.

  • It won’t zip.

  • I give up.

  • Let’s wind back a little bit.

  • It was the Napoleonic wars and later the Civil War in the US that demanded a sizing system for mass production of clothing for the first time.

  • It was for men’s uniforms.

  • After that, men’s suit sizes were based on the chest measurement and the rest was calculated accordingly, assuming that their bodies were in proportion.

  • The demands for mass production of uniforms escalated and ready-made clothing became really popular.

  • By the end of the nineteenth century, most people were wearing ready-made clothes.

  • In 1939, the US government funded statisticians to collect the weight and 58 measurements of 15,000 women.

  • They only used white women, even though they took measurements of women of color, they did not include them in the study or in the calculations.

  • The women who are most likely to turn out for these studies were the poor women because they would be paid.

  • So I think the data set even back then was possibly malnourished women, certainly poor women, and not very diverse group of womenand that’s what we started with.

  • They were looking for key measurements that could predict the sizes of other parts of the body, the way chest sizes had for men.

  • But women’s bodies, with variable breast and hip sizes, were much harder to summarize with a single number.

  • So, the data was used to create a system in 1958 with sizes from 8 to 42, which was just an arbitrary number based out of bust size, combined with a letter for height and a plus minus for hips.

  • The sizing chart was really unpopular, so they made some updates, but finally in 1983 it was completely withdrawn.

  • In the 1970s and 80s, companies started labeling sizes down, and adding lower numbers like 2, zero and now even a double zero.

  • So the waist measurement that used to be a size 12 became an 8.

  • Vanity sizing specifically, is when the size on the label is lowered artificially, in order to attempt to get somebody to buy the garment.

  • So youre appealing to the person’s vanity.

  • Sizing became a marketing tool.

  • I think it’s done because the women are getting bigger and were just addressing that.

  • When the first standardizing chart came out in 1958, it was mostly built out of malnourished, white women.

  • Now, that there’s such a wide group of people to cover, the retailers are picking a certain group of people to sell to, honing in on what works with that group and what doesn’t.

  • I think were more aiming for our own target markets.

  • When Abercrombie & Fitch does their sizing, theyre sizing it to their target market not to me.

  • And we kept tweaking that information until we sold more garments and could lower the return rate.

  • That means that even brands owned by the same company will have inconsistent sizes.

  • A size 8 at Banana Republic will have the same hip size as a size 2 at the Gap.

  • So if you get frustrated while shopping

  • It’s not you, it’s the industry, it’s not women’s bodies, were fine the way we are.

  • They are just random numbers, they don’t mean anything.

  • And if you don’t like the size, just cut it out of your clothes.

Look at this note; it's from the Blue Book Modeling Agency in 1945.

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B1 US Vox size sizing clothing vanity group

Why women’s clothing sizes don’t make sense

  • 33102 1904
    Reduu posted on 2016/10/15
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