Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nonsensical Sizes

While walking around campus today, I found myself continually pulling down and straightening out my shirt. It was not because the shirt was too short, nor that you could really call it too small for me. I had to adjust the shirt repeatedly because the shirt itself (a simple tank top) is not made for my body type. To identify the problem, you would have to either classify my hips as too big or my waist as too small (a classification I would resent since I am mostly content with both measurements). My problem is that my shirts are either too loose where my natural waist is, or they are too tight around my hips and therefore tend to bunch up to my waist. If the ideal form of a woman is an hourglass shape, then shouldn’t at least some shirts accommodate that shape? It seems to me that most shirts are definitely not tailored to this body style.

Conventional ways of sizing and manufacturing women’s clothing are silly. My problem may seem frivolous to some, but I am going to venture a guess and say that a lot of girls know how I feel, if not about shirts, about some piece of clothing. The way jeans and other pants are sized fares even worse than shirts when looked at critically. Sizing for women’s clothing does not account for the variety of shapes of women in today’s world.

Being tall, being short, pretty much being any shape or size can present some serious clothing issues. I can never find inexpensive jeans that fit me correctly. I have to buy “long” jeans, but those never seem to be available in the less expensive stores, and when I can find them they are often still slightly too short. For a while I was spending at least $65 on every pair of jeans (resulting in having very few pairs to wear since I did not have a lot of money), buying “extra-longs” at the Buckle. Why are jeans sized like this for women? Men have waist-inseam sizes, but for women pants are sized by a number that is poorly regulated and has changed numerous times in the last 50 years as well as a descriptive “size” of “short,” “regular,” and “long” (and sometimes “extra long”).

The Buckle offers a slight improvement on conventional sizing along with a few other, typically more expensive, stores. At the Buckle jeans are sized with a waist measurement and a descriptive length. Still, though, the Buckle fails us. My perfect jean length is somewhere between the Buckle’s “longs” and “extra-longs,” so I never got a perfect fit. Furthermore, the waist measurements are not measurements of the waistband of the jeans, but rather of your natural waist. Girls with less typical waist-hip ratios will have a harder time finding the right size, and different styles and brands of jeans have completely different waistband-waist measurement ratios.

All of these issues resulted in my turning to the internet for a solution. There are various sites that sell custom made jeans; the least expensive of those that I have looked at is Still, though, I think it is crazy that I had to result to that. The clothing industry’s treatment of men versus women is laughable. I typically think of women as the bigger advertising target, yet in terms of sizing, the industry favors men!

I wish the world of women’s clothing were more accommodating to the different shapes and sizes of women’s bodies. While certain improvements would be difficult, others would be relatively simple (granted retooling may be expensive). Changing the sizing of pants for women just makes sense. After all, our legs don’t fit into three lengths, and the waists of three people who are considered size 6 can be three different numbers. As for shirts which don’t look either baggy or scrunched up, I doubt that dream will ever be realized for me, but one out of two industry changes would still make my life easier.

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