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A perfect 10 - but she wears a 12
February 15, 2012 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Women have known for years that the dress size on the label doesn't necessarily mean that the garment will be the same size as another shop's size X , nor that your modern size 14 will be the same as the size 14 you bought there in the past (Some blame vanity sizing.) What Size Am I allows you to input your measurements and see how you measure up to high-street stores' individual sizing charts.

(UK/US stores only so far, and of course it's useful to note that this sizing is affected by the target market - Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, for example, are owned by the same parent company, but cut for very different silhouettes.) (Previously on men's sizing.)
posted by mippy (64 comments total) 87 users marked this as a favorite

 
(I actually participated in the SizeUK study. Unfortunately, this didn't lead to high street clothing manufacturers cutting their bodices to fit over a B-Cup. Yep, even a size UK22 is cut to fit a small (based on the average size for women in the UK) chest.)
posted by mippy at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bookmarked with extreme speed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the idea, although I wonder if least-squares fitting is the best thing to do here. You might prefer for example to err on the baggier side for some measurement rather than risk something being unwearably tight elsewhere.
posted by edd at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2012


I was about to be horrified that I was actually 6 sizes bigger than what I thought I was--I knew vanity sizing existed, but I didn't think it was THAT extreme--and then I realized I was looking at the UK sizes, not the US ones. Phew.
posted by Phire at 8:41 AM on February 15, 2012


It's interesting to see how stupid Banana Republic is with their sizes since I know that even if I sent my completely de-fleshed skeleton out to buy some clothes, it wouldn't be able to find anything there.
posted by SharkParty at 8:41 AM on February 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


that is pretty neat, though it's depressing to see how messed-up my measurements are compared to retail slopers. This is why I make all my own clothes, though it's not like pattern company measurements match me either. At least I can change them, though.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:43 AM on February 15, 2012


Fantastic site.

Sadly it also highlighted why I have begun making my own clothes as none of my body measurement belonged within the same size range. Looking at myself in the mirror I think I look fairly normal but shopping on the High Street makes me feel like I'm some sort of freak with a contorted body shape.
posted by kariebookish at 8:44 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And unbookmarked the site since it's reporting I'm a size 16 in all those stores, and I know from recent personal experience I'm actually a 12.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


peachfuzz, your work was actually instrumental in me realising I should stop trying making my body fit into clothes and make the clothes fit my body. So thank you.
posted by kariebookish at 8:50 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's interesting to see how stupid Banana Republic is with their sizes since I know that even if I sent my completely de-fleshed skeleton out to buy some clothes, it wouldn't be able to find anything there

That's how I feel about J. Crew. I like some of their clothes, but I feel obese when I look around that store sometimes, and I'm anywhere between a 6-10 (depending on the brand). It seems as if J. Crew refuses to make clothes to fit anyone with an average-sized body.
posted by foxhat10 at 8:51 AM on February 15, 2012


Looking at myself in the mirror I think I look fairly normal but shopping on the High Street makes me feel like I'm some sort of freak with a contorted body shape.

I know! I don't *think* I like a sideshow performer, but according to retail stores, people with my silhouette should just give up and swaddle themselves in old bedsheets. I guess.

I will say that making my own clothes has gotten me to really pay attention to fit. I don't think I really owned anything that fit me properly�really fit me properly�before I started sewing, and I used to wear too-small and too-large and out-of-proportion stuff all the time and think that was how they were supposed to fit, just because they were often the size in the store that looked least bad.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:51 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm 6'5", and scoff at your petty issues with finding well-fitting clothes. This is me, scoffing: "Scoff scoff scoff." At least you can find something.

Basically, I don't shop for clothes (or shoes). All those clothing stores at the mall? Never have anything to fit. Maybe a hat, a scarf, but not gloves, and certainly not pants or a shirt. All those shoe stores? Certainly nothing in a 14 narrow.

Sure, there are big-and-tall stores, and the internet has helped tremendously at not making me feel like a giant hulking freak every time I need a new shirt. But I never (never. NEVER. NE-VARRRR!) find anything at standard clothes shops.

Now, at 45, I have identified one shirt brand, one brand of pants, one shoe (comes in black and brown) that fits. This is what I wear, every day. Different colors, different collar styles and fabric, but the same outfit every work day. I would love to be able to shop, to get fun shirts and special-occasion shoes and all that, and my wife is willing to put in the extra effort to find me that one double-extra large tall polo at the outlet center, but, basically, I'm done with clothes shopping for life.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:01 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a classic hourglass, with a 10in difference between bust and waist and waist and hips. (Unfortunately, I currently have a bit of sand around the middle.) It's very very hard to get pants and tops to fit right on me. Tops either never have enough space for my bust or fit there and drape everywhere else, or they are made from stretch material. Pants either don't fasten at all, or fasten but leave enough room for me to carry my lunchbox down there. I'm quite tall and I have large feet, so I feel pretty oafish when my clothes are too loose or self-conscious when they just about fit. I want to try making my own pants but I have no idea how to alter a pattern down to one size at the waist and another at the hips at the moment. Maybe I should just become a dress/skirt person.

It's really annoying, and as I'm taking medication that makes it hard to ward off weight gain, it's going to get more annoying. I put weight on mostly in proportion, so I still look the same shape, but the sizing starts to get harder. And I know that size only means "measures X here and Y there" but there's a psychological aspect to sizing which is really hard to ignore. It pisses me off that I get suckered into feeling bad because I don't fit into the same clothes store stuff I did ten years ago, or because part of my wardrobe is now 'plus size' sized. And that's before you get into all the weird media messages about which size is arbitrarily OKAY and which is arbitrarily TOO FAT. (One article said a UK 14-16. Last time I was that, I was a stone underweight. This is why I avoid women's glossies.~)
posted by mippy at 9:03 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


That "vanity sizing" link has an extra slash at the end.
posted by resurrexit at 9:14 AM on February 15, 2012


It seems as if J. Crew refuses to make clothes to fit anyone with an average-sized body.

It's not the sizing, it's the cut. I'm a 2-4 and J Crew clothing makes me look like an infant orangutan. J Crew's clothing is cut for some strange species of human with no noticeable fleshy protuberances on any area of their bodies. Giant playmobil people, maybe.
posted by elizardbits at 9:19 AM on February 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm kind of curious about whether all bodies with similar measurements are the same, though. I'm a 36 bust measurement, but that's with a 28 underbust. That's got to fit differently from someone who has a 36 bust measurement with a 34-inch underbust. And I'm pretty sure that at least their dress recommendation for me is a size smaller than I really need at that store.
posted by craichead at 9:20 AM on February 15, 2012


I'm not saying I'm ignorant about women's sizing but I stared forever for far too long at the post wondering if "Size X" was a UK or European size I had never heard of.

(In case you're curious Marilyn Monroe's closest fit would be an Abercrombie & Fitch size S/Express size 2 if you use her most commonly believed measurements -- though even that looks like it might be pretty tight at the bust... which is, well, not surprising.)

I don't know if this tool is useful or not, having nothing to compare it to. But like those mostly-awful-but-heart's-in-the-right's-place pink commercials where men talk about why they walk/donate/care about breast cancer, because there are/ever have been women in my life who I care about, I'm just glad that people are talking about it and pointing out the weirdness in any possible ways that makes people think about how not-random-but-surely-not-something-to-make-yourself-sick-over numbers.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:21 AM on February 15, 2012


As a man all I can do is point out a cool graphic visualizing the issue, and wonder, once again, how the hell you women do it.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:25 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


It happens to men too! Not nearly as extremely, but I am a male and I made the Banana Republic comment up there because I specifically don't understand what benefit there is to making a coat that would barely fit around the shoulders of a praying mantis then marking it extra large.
posted by SharkParty at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


MrMoonPie: I'm 6'5", and scoff at your petty issues with finding well-fitting clothes. This is me, scoffing: "Scoff scoff scoff." At least you can find something.

Try being a 6'4" woman in Britain. Or having a body shape that fashion designers seem to think doesn't exist. Like many of the people in this thread. Oh but you're a 6'5" man, your problems must be worse than everyone else's. I mean, it's clearly just a luxury issue about things being 'well-fitting' for us, we're all moaning when we can all find perfectly good clothes that we can actually wear in shops. Except a lot of us can't.
posted by Dysk at 9:32 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Quite a few years back I switched to doing 99.44% of my clothes shopping via catalog and eventually online. It took a while to adjust, because at Landsend, for example, waist and inseam sizes correspond 1 to 1 with the actual measurements of the clothing. If you order trou at 32w 36l, the waistband on the item that results will measure exactly thirty-two inches.

What a shock to find that the label on the back of Levis was consistently -- I'll use the term generous -- by several inches. Hah! Men's jeans use vanity sizing, just like an upper eastside little black cocktail dress.

The counter-trend seems to be novelty T-shirts, which follow the traditional sizing of laundry detergent boxes: XL seems to be the smallest size that will fit an adult human. I assume this is vanity sizing of another kind.

Mrs. H., has to try on everything before purchasing. She'll never trust your algorithm until size means measurement (in or cm, either will do), and probably not even then. But any movement in that direction seems like a good thing.

PS: Your vanity sizing link doesn't work because of the trailing "/".
 
posted by Herodios at 9:33 AM on February 15, 2012


Unfortunately, this didn't lead to high street clothing manufacturers cutting their bodices to fit over a B-Cup. Yep, even a size UK22 is cut to fit a small (based on the average size for women in the UK) chest.

I have no personal experience with this, but my fiancee tells me that bust size frequently doesn't seem to "scale up" proportionally with the size/cut of the rest of the garment. It's like designers think that women who fit an XS will have the same bust size as those who wear an XL, which makes no sense whatsoever.
posted by asnider at 9:34 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, website says my best fit is size 0 in the US and size 4 in the UK at Banana Republic- the numbers are true as I have shopped at both and felt like I entered a parallel universe when I tried a size 4 in a changing booth in San Francisco. I don't shop at Mango but I hardly can get into their clothes in Europe so I imagine they carry negative numbers in the US.

I've shopped Benetton and Mexx clothes in different countries and I've never needed to adjust sizes for hmmm cultural differences or however this vanity sizing thing can be explained.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 9:39 AM on February 15, 2012


Hmm. This is pretty suspect. And by suspect I mean probably wrong. Especially, for, say, Anthropologie, which sources clothing from different designers. The site wants me in a US 16 at Anthro. I'm currently wearing an 8 which fits fine, and have tried on 10s and 12s which also fit (of course, there's also the odd 12 that is so small it would be impossible even at my thinnest). I would swim in a 16. They've also pegged me as an Old Navy 14, where I'd usually wear a 10/Med and as "too huge to wear H&M" when I can shop there and find 10s and 12s that look fine.

I think there's either something wrong with the source data or it's just an impossible task -- people (men and women) are just built too differently to ever buy clothes off the rack and expect them to fit.
posted by AmandaA at 9:44 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm another lady who is moving toward making all her own clothes, for the reasons above. Urgh. My homemade shirts didn't fit either—baggy in the waist, saggy in the back—until I learned about full bust and swayback adjustments. Pants are still a total mystery though.
posted by bewilderbeast at 9:45 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Inconsistent sizes are but another shackle chained to womanhood
posted by Renoroc at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Exactly, asnider. My back size is 34in, but my bust size is much bigger than that. On larger women, it's more likely than not that they will be in bigger size bras, but manufacturers seem to think that to make a size bigger (or taller, in my experience) all they need to do is add on a bit at each side.
posted by mippy at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not the sizing, it's the cut. I'm a 2-4 and J Crew clothing makes me look like an infant orangutan. J Crew's clothing is cut for some strange species of human with no noticeable fleshy protuberances on any area of their bodies. Giant playmobil people, maybe.

Weirdly, J Crew's pants are among the only pants anywhere that actually fit me - although sadly they make very few styles in a size 16. They cut for people with very straight bodies, as you observe, and also very narrow-boned bodies. Since I actually have wide shoulders and a deep ribcage and then taper (greyhoundlike, if you're talking about a rather fat greyhound) down to flat hips (swimmer build!) their pants fit really, really well, but even when I was at fighting weight in college I couldn't get a J Crew button-front that fit in the shoulders.
posted by Frowner at 9:51 AM on February 15, 2012


One of the biggest problems in my mind with retail is that you cannot reliably order clothing online. I would buy everything online if I could just trust pants of a certain size to actually fit. Some sites offer free shipping and returns and that just seems like a stopgap for now.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:55 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "vanity sizing" thing strikes me as being pretty overtly classist and more than a little racist. Because the accusation is basically always that *poor* women are going to demand smaller size numbers despite being enormous, and yet somehow there is no such pressure at the upper end?

But "size", especially when you're looking at the sub-size-18 range, is not some kind of general indicator of fatness. The US sizes used to run smaller on the whole, yes. But the Wikipedia article, for example, references a size 32 bust (my *rib cage* is bigger than that) being a size 14 in Sears' 1937 catalog. 1937. When unemployment was astronomical and there was no such thing as food stamps. 16% of the country's population is now Hispanic. It was 1% in the 1950s. Of course the numbers are likely to change if they weren't absolute measurements in the first place, and the population is changing. Not that there isn't a lot of variability in it, but there's variability in my shoe size, too, and I have a hard time imagining that could be vanity-based.
posted by gracedissolved at 9:58 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just don't think there's any way to make online clothing ordering reliable, though, just because there are so many variables.

I really like what Modcloth does: people can attach pictures of themselves in the garment to their reviews. You also have the option of giving your size and measurements. That makes it a lot easier for me to gauge how something will probably look on someone with a similar body type to mine.
posted by craichead at 10:00 AM on February 15, 2012


Yeah, in agreement with AmandaA here that something's awry with the site. I'd be swimming in the size it suggests I try from BR. I know this because my closet is filled with BR right now.
posted by artemisia at 10:00 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if most women actually know their measurements. I sew, so I have lots of measurements but even with those, it doesn't tell me much about how any one brand will fit because where my fat and bones and flesh are distributed is different than someone with the same measurements.

craichead and I have similar bust measurements (hey sexy lady) but who knows if our shoulders or the distances between bust points or the location of our waists are at all similar!

I have average width shoulders and a large bust but my shoulders are very very square and slightly forward. I have large trapezius muscles. all of these effect how blouses fit. My thigh fat is distributed on my inner thighs and I have a lot of high hip "fluff" (aka fat above my hipbone) and those factors change how pants fit.

Frankly, I don't blame most manufacturers for the difficulty in fitting women's bodies because there's so much variation. that reminds me, I've got to get back to the sewing room and make some new pants!
posted by vespabelle at 10:03 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't know how *anyone* gets clothing that fits. How is a 3D object being specified with 1D information?
posted by DU at 10:04 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Now I know why nothing ever fits me properly. I wish I was the kind of person who was capable of making my own clothing.
posted by joboe at 10:10 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the discrepancy many are noting in the size they wear is a difference between body measurements and garment measurements. There is ease built into garments and their measurements and so I think if you round all your measurements down by 1-2" that would account for the ease.
posted by slow graffiti at 10:12 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have very wide shoulders, an average bust, a narrow waist. When I was younger, plain men's shred, with skirts worked fine. I made my own skirts. I wear long skirts and have done so for years. I used to sometimes wear slacks with a tunic, but I developed fibroids, so I have a pot-belly. I look dreadful in pants now except for shalwar.
I make my own shalwar and wear them with dresses.
Going clothes shopping is not fun because of how I am put together.
Add to that the fact that many clothes out these days are UGLY.
Life is too short to dress ugly!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2012


They've also pegged me as an Old Navy 14, where I'd usually wear a 10/Med

The problem with ON is that there is almost always a vast difference in fit between identical items in the same size/color/everything, due, I assume, to total lack of quality control in their factories.
posted by elizardbits at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man, sizing is such mindfuckery sometimes I just want to pull a potato sack over my head and call it a day.
posted by zennish at 10:31 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apologies for the derail, but while we're on the subject of vanity, how is it that stretchy funhouse-style "skinny" mirrors are allowed? Granted it's hardly the crime of the century, but it seems to be a pretty cut-n-dried case of consumer deception.
posted by Pathos Bill at 10:41 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


how is it that stretchy funhouse-style "skinny" mirrors are allowed? Granted it's hardly the crime of the century, but it seems to be a pretty cut-n-dried case of consumer deception.

Where do you shop? I have never seen a distorted mirror in a changing room before.
posted by asnider at 10:43 AM on February 15, 2012


As a man with a 16 inch neck and 37 inch arms, I feel for you ladies. On the off chance that I find that size on a rack, it's almost always made for someone who weighs about 100 lbs more than I do and is about three inches shorter than I am. At least my trouser size is easy to find.
posted by Jim Slade at 10:52 AM on February 15, 2012


Oh but you're a 6'5" man, your problems must be worse than everyone else's.
Yes, that's exactly what I was saying. Heretofore, I believed, in fact, that my problems were, objectively speaking, worse than everyone else's. Thank you for disabusing me of that notion.

No, really, thank you.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:07 AM on February 15, 2012


Then what the hell was all the scoffing for, exactly?
posted by Dysk at 11:19 AM on February 15, 2012


Yeah, I'm not sure that I understand all the scoffing, especially when it's followed by "sure, there are big and tall stores." You know what they don't have in the US? Anything like big and tall stores, but for my body type. I can order from Pepperberry in the UK or from BiuBiu in Poland, but as far as the US goes, my body type doesn't exist. So unless you're literally ordering your clothes from Poland, I sort of scoff at your scoffing. No offense.
posted by craichead at 11:46 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Long Tall Sally might be good for you, Craichead.
posted by mippy at 11:56 AM on February 15, 2012


What I don't get is how Banana Republic is an acceptable brand name. Maybe because I grew up in a house were central and south American politics were part of everyday conversation, Banana Republic might as well be called Killing Fields.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


according to that chart I am a different size at every part of my body. and they don't even take height into account. This is why I alter pretty much everything I buy.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:02 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with artemisia on the BR sizing looking off (and also Ayn Rand and God re: the name - this has long bothered me, although apparently not enough to keep me from shopping there) - this site is definitely putting me in at least a size or two bigger than what I actually wear there.
What drives me especially crazy is stores that don't seem to have any internal consistency on sizes. I used to be a big Ann Taylor shopper, and my stuff from there ranges from a 2 to a 10 despite my body not changing anywhere near that much over the years. How is that even possible?
My biggest fantasy, when I think about what I would do if I were disgustingly rich, is hiring someone to make all my clothes - particularly pants. Attempting to find something that simultaneously flatters my squishy tummy/little waist/big thighs/no butt/short legs has led to many a near-breakdown in dressing rooms.
posted by naoko at 1:11 PM on February 15, 2012


I honestly don't know how *anyone* gets clothing that fits. How is a 3D object being specified with 1D information?

DU, this may be of interest: From Body Scan To Body Form: Sizing A Clothing Line

Snippet: "The company is the largest maker of mannequin body forms in the world. These mannequins are important because they are the template for clothing makers to create sizes. ... Alvanon uses a device called AlvaScan to create their mannequin forms. Developed in 2001, it's a booth of sorts where a fully clothed person steps in, and a full-body laser scanner moves up and down to capture accurate measurement data in seconds. The data is transferred to a computer and used to create a 3-D virtual body, the starting point for making a mannequin."

mippy, thanks. I had been thinking about making a similar post. The other day, within the space of an hour, I found myself wearing a) a man's coat, size small; b) a bra with the cup size of a full-figured woman; c) my 8-year-old son's sweatshirt; and d) a teen-sized T-shirt. I have NO IDEA what size I am anymore.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2012


One of my dreams is to walk into a clothing store in which every article of clothing comes with a tag that lists all its critical dimensions using actual, no-foolin', standard units of measurement.
posted by emeiji at 4:09 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, so this is why i quit pants and pencil skirts. A nice visualization of my difficulties.

I had to buy a suit once. At the time, I lived in Philadelphia, and I must have tried on every suit for sale in the city limits. If it fit on top, I couldn't zip the skirt. If it fit on the bottom, the jacket hung on me like a tent. Worse than a tent. Like a farmhouse. Finally, Ann Taylor let me buy two different sizes for the top and the bottom. The tiniest jacket they had was the one that fit me--size 0 petite. The skirt? Size 4 regular.

My best friend from high school works in fashion now and I was explaining to him how nothing fits me both on top and on the bottom and nothing is flattering and how for a 110 pound girl, I feel like a malshapen little blob of copious buttflesh every time I attempt to wear fabric, and he told me about the fit and flare silhouette, which sounds like a tampon but is all I am ever wearing ever again.

Most clothes are not made for girls with butts and hips. Therefore, I hate them and they are over.

Gah! This thing wants me to wear a size 8 at h&m?! No wonder I hate that store! I have a 24 inch waist! Size 8 my ass! (really: size 8--my ass.)
posted by millipede at 5:33 PM on February 15, 2012


If it fit on top, I couldn't zip the skirt. If it fit on the bottom, the jacket hung on me like a tent.

I realize that this sucks, but couldn't you get the jacket tailored? Almost no one can fit "properly" into a suit off the rack. Tailoring is your friend when it comes to suits.
posted by asnider at 5:41 PM on February 15, 2012


but couldn't you get the jacket tailored?

It was so big that it would have had to be taken in every single place. I also have extremely small shoulders and a ridiculously narrow ribcage. Even the 0 petite jacket is a little roomy--imagine how a size 6 or 8 worked. I've had bad luck with tailoring, and I found a suit, so I never have to buy another one ever again.
posted by millipede at 6:17 PM on February 15, 2012


I realize that this sucks, but couldn't you get the jacket tailored? Almost no one can fit "properly" into a suit off the rack. Tailoring is your friend when it comes to suits.

According to this just about everything is better tailored. The celebrities and others that appear on TV have everything, even t-shirts and jeans, altered to fit them.
posted by weathergal at 6:50 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


According to this just about everything is better tailored. The celebrities and others that appear on TV have everything, even t-shirts and jeans, altered to fit them.

That’s an important thing I learned from What Not Too Wear. They actually said that on the show fairly regularly, and once you think about you realize there’s no way to make clothes in standard sizes to fit even a simple majority of people, much less everyone. It’s better to buy just a couple of things and spend the money to alter them than to buy a bunch of things that don’t fit. I’ve spent as much on altering an item as I paid for it.
posted by bongo_x at 7:21 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to this just about everything is better tailored. The celebrities and others that appear on TV have everything, even t-shirts and jeans, altered to fit them.

True, but the average person isn't likely to get their t-shirts tailored (assuming that they can even afford to do so). Paying for tailoring one a few pieces of more formal clothing (suits and such) is one thing, but paying to have everything you owned tailored is something that probably isn't doable for most people.
posted by asnider at 7:25 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, according to this site, none of these stores carry anything at all that would fit me, ever. Which, ya know...probably true, but not for the reason this graph gives.

I happen to have measurements, because I joined fitocracy a while back, and am using measurements to track progress rather than a scale; because scales and I argue too much for me to hang out with them. I too have an hourglass shape; my chest and hips are about 10" bigger than my waist.

There are no clothes designed for busty wasps. Not since 1960. I blame Twiggy.

All of you sewing people: hook me up with where I should start if I want to know how to do more than hem my curtains. (Pretty much the extent of my sewing...straight seams.)
posted by dejah420 at 7:55 PM on February 15, 2012


dejah420, check out the Colette Sewing Handbook! It is geared toward beginners and contains a huge amount of advice about handling fabric and working with patterns. Also, many many lovely pictures. (Colette also has individual patterns for sale and omg how I love them.)

If later you want to supplement with hardcore non-beginner advice about altering patterns to fit your body's peculiarities, Fit for Real People is indispensable.
posted by bewilderbeast at 8:23 PM on February 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Where do you shop? I have never seen a distorted mirror in a changing room before.
posted by asnider at 1:43 PM on February 15 [+] [!]


A fellow shopper and I were convinced the new Century 21 at 66th and Broadway in Manhattan have the magical skinny mirror/special lighting combo in place. I was tall and airbrushed and aglow on a miserable rainy seeking-retail-therapy mood day. I looked fantastic and I did not look fantastic, I promise.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:18 AM on February 16, 2012


Re: retail mirror trickeryhere
posted by dejah420 at 4:57 AM on February 16, 2012


I was trying to explain to my boyfriend last night that it's a choice for me between buying things that are too big or too small. One size of pants won't actually fasten in the middle - not that they're tight, more that there's an inch or two of sad looking flesh sticking out where the zipper should go. The next size up slide down my hips when I run for the bus and generally make me look like a half-committed MC Hammer impersonator. He can't believe that this happens even after trying things on before buying. Is this a particularly female problem, or do men get this too?

It's frustrating, as I have started trying on a size bigger in some things after realising that certain clothes just always look too small, and I find they drown my figure and make me look larger/frumpier. I think it's a shape thing rather than a size thing, but it makes wearing an outfit I'm still happy with at the end of the day quite hard.
posted by mippy at 4:58 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this a particularly female problem, or do men get this too?

It seems to be mostly a female problem. Men, for the most part, are shaped pretty similarly (straight up and down). Women can be stick thin, or they can be curvy, or they can somehow be both. And then, if they are curvy, one woman's curves might land in a completely different way than another woman's.

It's true that not all men are shaped the same, but there seems to be more variation among women than among men. Of course, this is based purely on anecdata, not actual research (has such research actually been done?).
posted by asnider at 8:50 AM on February 16, 2012


It's not the sizing, it's the cut. I'm a 2-4 and J Crew clothing makes me look like an infant orangutan. J Crew's clothing is cut for some strange species of human with no noticeable fleshy protuberances on any area of their bodies. Giant playmobil people, maybe.

Yes, ditto this. I ordered a J.Crew strapless wedding dress online and followed their size chart exactly...but the dress that arrived appeared to have been tailored to fit a lamp post. There was a corset built into the bodice, but the lightly padded cups were shaped pointlessly like tiny pancakes, no curve to them at all, and smashed my boobs flat. Despite this, the dress was falling off me because it didn't curve in at the waist, it was cut totally straight from bust to hips. It was a size 2P. It was also waaay too long despite me being at the upper height limit of petite sizing and having 4" heels. So I emphatically agree, the cuts at J.Crew are hard to wear if you have any fleshy protuberances.
posted by keep it under cover at 2:41 AM on February 19, 2012


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