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

Why retailers changed clothing sizes pt.2

In response to my entry Why have retailers changed clothing sizes?, Alaina asks:

Can you explain why/how early misses sizes were described a “size 14 years?” surely that was not a coincidence with the sizing system you describe in paragraph 5 (which, I agree, sounds completely plausible)

In the absence of my familiarity with your source material, I would reason that this was the beginning of the push back; when retailers began to wrest control of sizing from manufacturing. That it coincides with the advent of children’s sizing at retail is significant.

Previously, the divisional drafting system (“scale”) adopted for pattern making for production was limited to adult clothing. It only worked for figures that were mature because the scale relies on divisions of 8. [As an aside, don’t ask me about the imperial measuring system, specifically the inch unless you want a lengthy discourse. I prefer metric but for clothing drafting, no measurement increment has proven of greater utility than the inch]. The key landmarks of infants and children’s figures do not divide evenly by 8. Infant figures are divisible by 4, children by 6 etc. Thus, the divisional scale drafting system couldn’t be used for physically immature bodies. Continue reading Why retailers changed clothing sizes pt.2

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.
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?