Apparently, anyone who wears clothes is a sizing expert

I fail to understand how anyone — by virtue of wearing clothes or liking them — feels competent and qualified to discuss the complexities of our industry.

In the case of this pharmaceutical sales rep cum “journalist”, I like medicine but it doesn’t qualify me to remark on the pharmaceutical industry. I read newspapers but it doesn’t mean I’m competent to write a critique about journalism. So why does anyone who wears clothes consider themselves competent to discuss the complexities of clothing sizes? Lest you think I’m harsh, this is what Sara had to say:

Vanity sizing is the practice of using smaller numbered sizes on bigger clothing patterns… to make customers feel better about themselves and become more inclined to buy.

This is what consumers think but vanity sizing is a myth. We are simply too busy putting out product to even try to figure how to manipulate consumers or massage their egos with everything we have going on. Minimally, if we were concerned with sizing to ego, there would be instruction and advice in the trade media — to include textbooks and even seminars — on how to do it. I’ll save you a search, there is none. Continue reading Apparently, anyone who wears clothes is a sizing expert

One Size Fits Nobody: New York Times

mermaidSignificant Other disparages I post so infrequently but it’s difficult for me to read my words through the spittle of an extended screed. Case in point, One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10 courtesy of the New York Times which is but more pablum. I spent some time amusing myself, imagining how the conversation of assigning that story went down:

Editor: It’s been awhile since we’ve appeased the masses by skewering those stupid apparel industry people by writing about consumer’s favorite imaginary social ill -vanity sizing. Hey you, Stephanie, you could churn out an easy 1,000 words on it. You don’t have to do any heavy lifting, apparel people are stupid.

Stephanie: Sure thing. I have some great source material; like this chick who isn’t even in the industry but who looked at some Vogue magazines to develop an analysis of women’s sizing history to beef up my points. The apparel industry is so stupid that the circular logic and cursory “evidence” of her “research” that would get anyone in any other field of intellectual rigor laughed out of the room will fly right over their heads. Done well, I might be able to blame vanity sizing for everything from teenage pregnancy to the bombing of Dresden and on to the scourge of plastic cutlery! To be sure there is other research from someone with 30 years of experience making patterns and is an internationally renown authority on women’s clothing sizes who has been quoted by NPR, NY Times, WSJ, Forbes, Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times etc and whose site ranks much higher but her material is based on *math* -and of all things, she majored in economics- with a whole annoying slew of logic, charts and graphs that spans 16 entries and something on the order of 200,000 words! Sheesh, just her section on the history of women’s sizing is three separate entries and backed by data that I don’t want to read for a “business” cum fluff lifestyle piece like this. Continue reading One Size Fits Nobody: New York Times

Interview: Why have retailers changed clothing sizes?

What follows is a portion of an email conversation I’m having with a reporter from a national radio program who is interviewing me for a story about the issues of clothing size changes in the US. I have only selected tiny portions of her emails because I don’t have permission. What I’ve copied/pasted won’t do her any injury.
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National Radio Program Reporter (hereafter NRP) wrote:

Why have retailers changed the actual sizes?

First, technically speaking, retailers don’t change sizes. I realize consumers often use retailer and manufacturer interchangeably and it didn’t use to be a problem because it was easy to sort the functions of each. However, now there is a lot of blurring between the two so it is not so simple. These days retailers also manufacture (or private label or push manufacture like GAP etc) and some manufacturers have gone into retailing. Point is, retail isn’t technically “the boss” of sizing changes but they have sufficient influence to persuade their supplier manufacturers to do it. The buck stops with the manufacturer. So, in a simpler age, the better question may have been, “why have manufacturers changed the actual sizes”. And I’ll answer that, promise. Continue reading Interview: Why have retailers changed clothing sizes?