I just read one of those viral posts on FaceBook [yes, I do spend a lot of time on there, shaddup]
It was written by a young woman who’d not been able to fit into size 10 shorts at her favourite retailers, assumed she’d got fat, then compared them with a pair of size four shorts she’d bought at the same shop 2 years ago. Identical sizing. How ridiculous!
Those of us who make clothes, are very aware of the whole vanity sizing issue, and that sizing in RTW is just a number, with no relation to our actual body size or shape. This has been creeping up on us for ages. I’ve been very aware of it for a long time.
When I was growing up, a standard size 12, in the shops or in patterns, had a 34″ bust. Now even ignoring average body shape changes, and folk being generally larger [and fatter] overall, a ‘size 12’ can mean just about anything it wants.
I was first married in 1980, aged 19. I was skinny, and small, broad-shouldered, and mostly wore size 10, as it was then. I wore a very simple shift dress from Laura Ashley [no, not floral, even then I wasn’t a flowery girl, this was an unfitted cheong-sam style]. I still have it, crumpled in a box somewhere. It’s TINY. When my daughters were in their very early teens, 13/14, they dug it out and tried it on. The 13 year old could get into it, but not my 14 year old. As a size guide, when my youngest got married at age 26, and was trying on wedding dresses, she had to be pegged into a size 4. SIZE 4 DIDN’T EXIST WHEN I WAS HER AGE!
Let me sum that up: she fitted into a 1980 size 10 when she was a skinny 13 year old, but 13 years later, mature, a mother, even if still petite, she was too small for a size 4. Gah! That would make my 1980 wedding dress something like a size 18 now…
When you make your own clothes, for yourself or others, you have to go by measurements, not sizes, and it makes you more realistic about body shapes. It’s practically impossible to cut out a ‘straight size 16’ or any other size, and have it fit..and in any case, a pattern size 16 rarely equates to a shop 16. But good fit is another issue of course.
And I had an idea: You know how you can usually skim through clothes on a rail because the sizes on the hangers are colour coded? Well, how about this: every shop should label their clothing ranges by colour ONLY, and have a chart on the wall listing this season’s measurements for that colour tag, alongside a rack of tape measures! Freedom from dress size tyranny!
Menswear is not subject to these gradual, demonic size shifts, a 16″ collar is exactly that, a 44″ chest means that.
Bugger it, I rarely buy RTW, bra sizes are enough of a minefield!