As any woman who has not been a full-time nudist since birth can tell you, our clothing sizes make no sense. Most of our closets are filled with clothing ranging at least four or more sizes.
But this has to be the height of ridiculousness. Katy Hamilton, an Instagrammer who had just lost 70 lbs, went to the Express at her local mall to grab some new duds. She grabbed two pairs of low-rise jeggings in a size 10 short -- the only difference being that one was black and the other blue -- just to come home and find that one pair was far too small, and the other about an inch too large.
Having worked in retail for many years, I know this pain all too well. Knowing how ridiculous sizing was, I never asked anyone I was helping what their size was -- I just eyeballed it and handed them things based on how I knew things ran. This was a lot more effective than them going and trying on a bunch of things "in their size" and getting discouraged because a French Connection size 6 fits like a 00 and a Trina Turk 8 fits like a 10. When I shop by myself, I don't rely on sizes, I hold things up to my body to see if they come halfway on my sides -- a technique which has saved me a lot of grief over the years.
The fact is, we don't have anything close to uniform sizing in women's ready-to-wear clothing in the United States. Attempts have been made, of course, but it's actually pretty difficult to do given the fact that women do not have uniform bodies. The "standards" that have been attempted have all been based around the hourglass figure, which only about 8% of us have. Add to that the fact that vanity sizing has led to some pretty wild differences in sizing to begin with -- a woman in the 1970s with a 27-inch waist would have been a size 14, today, she's a size 6 or 8 -- and basically everything is horrible and confusing and no one has any idea what they are even doing with sizing.
Interestingly enough, actual pattern sizes have not changed much at all. If you're an 8 in ready-to-wear, you're still gonna be about a 14 if you're making a dress from any post-1968 sewing pattern.
If you ask me (or probably any other women), our sizing system is stupid and ridiculous and makes no sense. What would make a lot more sense would be if women's sizing was done more like men's sizing -- by inches rather than by arbitrary size designations. This has been done, to some degree, with jeans, but it would be great if we could see that happening with other garments as well. Where you could know what would fit you based on your actual measurements, rather than the whims of a designer.
Of course, we don't have that, because everything is terrible and the fashion industry hates us.