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How big (or small) is large?

Posted Mar 17 2009 3:06pm
It's no secret that clothing sizes are somewhat random. Although I do mostly wear one size (let's say X), I do own several pairs of pants in size Y, and several in size W. Furthermore, even in the same brand, all pairs of size X pants are not the same size. Finding clothes is pretty much a crap shoot- and I'm lucky. I wear "standard" size clothing- I don't have to try and find the one "plus-size" item crumpled at the back of the rack, nor am I exceptionally tall or exceptionally curvy.

Turns out people with eating disorders aren't the only ways getting annoyed and frustrated at this. A new survey of people from Norway, Sweden, and Finland shows dissatisfaction with the non-standardized clothing sizes.

The report shows that the sizing systems used today are perceived as confusing and varied by consumers. The results of the measurements of the trousers support this as they show enormous variations between and within clothing sizes. Trousers labeled as size L can in some cases even be smaller than trousers labeled as size S. The variations are greater for women's trousers than for men's trousers, especially women's trousers in big sizes. Despite this, the report shows that there are few systematic variations between sizes and size labeling that can be referred to the country of origin of the clothing make, the producing country, or general differences between the Nordic countries. The exception is shops aimed at young women, in which the trousers were slightly smaller than they were in shops for adult customers...

...Improved knowledge about the link between the body, clothes and size labeling will make it easier for consumers to find clothes that fit and thereby also reduce the number of incorrect purchases. This knowledge is also important in relation to current discussions on body weight and body ideals.

Which poses the exact question I had when I initially started reading the press release: how would you standardize clothing sizes? And how would our culture's fear of obesity and love of thinness play into this? What about vanity sizing?

Any thoughts?
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