Companies have been down-sizing little girls
October 11, 2014 12:14 AM   Subscribe

This mom got fed up. Companies have been down-sizing their clothing for years as fashion trends call for "slimmer" cuts and silhouettes. Clothing sizing is an issue. Maybe there needs to be a mandated standard of clothing sizes? No cutting corners or skimping on measurements.

"I'm sure you already know this, but your size 5T shorts are actually smaller than many size 2T shorts made by other brands," Giese wrote. "Why are you offering my kindergartner clothes that are sized for children less than half her age?"
posted by ourt (80 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
I read years ago, that clothing sizes did used to have industry standard measurements, agreed upon in the 1920s or so; but that by the 70s, these measurements were out of date (people had gotten generally bigger over time) and no longer fit the average person -- they needed to be updated, but no new standard was actually agreed upon.

Whenever you read one of those "Marilyn Monroe was a size 14" remember that that is by the old measurement system and was probably much smaller than a modern 14.
posted by Peregrine Pickle at 12:50 AM on October 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


We're very close to the point where we could strip to underwear and then twirl about in front of an iPhone or Kinect while an app takes multiple photos and constructs a 3D body model. Given the approximate measurements of the shirt (n1 cm wide at shoulders, n2 at chest line, n3 at waist, n4 distance from waist hole to neck hole) a program should be able to tell us whether it's a tight fit, good fit, or loose fit.

This or something like it needs to become some kind of a standard.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:31 AM on October 11, 2014 [26 favorites]


The last time I stripped to my underwear and twirled on the spot in Target it didn't go so well for me, though.
posted by No-sword at 1:50 AM on October 11, 2014 [61 favorites]


we could strip to underwear and then twirl about in front of an iPhone

People say that to me all the time.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:56 AM on October 11, 2014 [19 favorites]


I just want measurements. Actual measurements. I don't want "I fit an 8 in this brand because their backs run super large, so I might fit a 14 in this brand because they cut tight over the chest, but I'll fit a 12 in this brand because they cut their fronts large", this being a paraphrase of a friend I went clothes shopping with recently because I am a dutiful plus-size friend and act as a detector of problematic salespeople. If they turned their noses up at me she left and spent her money elsewhere! Very useful metric for detecting the rude and unhelpful.

It turns out that when you fit in straight sizes, ie. you're smaller than a size 14 and can thus theoretically wear clothes from just about anywhere, having so many options tends to make you into a walking design bible of "they cut clothes in this family in this fabric for X body and this family is cut for Y body but it only works in cotton", and that knowledge is multiplied by however many stores you regularly shop at.

I'm plus-sized enough to have so few options that I just marvel from a distance at the incredible amount of customer expectation clothing manufacturers have of straight-size women. Remember your size! Gauge our brand against another brand, but don't buy their brand, buy ours! Only be able to nearly reliably size yourself if you have experience with a lot of different brands, and still spend lots of time in a fitting cubicle, but buy our clothes and not theirs!

Measurements. I want garment dimensions. I want actual numbers. This whole thing of expecting women to remember as a matter of fact all these brand comparisons and fit differences and so on is such incredible bullshit. It's bullshit for clothes, it's bullshit for shoes, it's bullshit for belts, it's bullshit everywhere. MEASUREMENTS.

I mean, imagine if computer parts were discussed like this and everybody treated it like it was totally normal and right and necessary and just an inevitable part of trying to do anything with a computer. A fact of life like getting pebbles in your shoes. "For comparison, Krockabella's Dainty Delight processor runs a little slower than Riv-Riv's Matroshka family, a little slower still than the Joy processor offered by Tera-Tera in the Small Workhorse run, and a little faster than Jenny Rebetta's Quiver processor. Dainty Delight is best for casual work like posing artistically on a white couch. How great of Krockabella! But of course you'll need a Joy to play Solitaire, LOL. ;)"

But there's numbers involved! But it's important to be precise! But those names are ridiculous! But how are we supposed to know anything if we don't know what the brands do and what they use and wait they never publish numbers for anything ever? But that's so involved and unnecessary and also seriously what's with the names? How is anybody supposed to keep track of all that?

exactly
posted by E. Whitehall at 2:03 AM on October 11, 2014 [101 favorites]


Measurements. I want garment dimensions. I want actual numbers. This whole thing of expecting women to remember as a matter of fact all these brand comparisons and fit differences and so on is such incredible bullshit. It's bullshit for clothes, it's bullshit for shoes, it's bullshit for belts, it's bullshit everywhere. MEASUREMENTS.

One of the many things I'm grateful for not having to deal with being a man is the pants guessing game. Waist, inseam, fit/style, out the door.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:11 AM on October 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Not so fast!
posted by No-sword at 2:24 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ohh, poor Pope Guilty. You're in for a surprise.
posted by sbutler at 2:28 AM on October 11, 2014 [37 favorites]


The last time I stripped to my underwear and twirled on the spot in Target it didn't go so well for me, though.

You had your credit card information stolen?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:34 AM on October 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


I don't even know my size. I'm plus-sized and losing at a reasonable speed, and so my pants size changes every couple of months. I don't even know how to shop for pants. I can get ten different brands of jeans all in the same size and every one will fit differently than the last.

Not to mention, I don't really know who they cut plus-sized clothes for. I feel like it's for giants. I'm very short with, I guess, somewhat slender legs because even if I find pants that fit in the waist, they don't fit in length and are just loose on me everywhere else.

Shopping is hell, and I prefer already broken in hand me downs, though it makes my wardrobe look a little dated.
posted by DriftingLotus at 2:49 AM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just think of my "size" as the "size that requires the least alterations." Mentally tack $15-$35 on the cost of each garment, and if I balk at the adjusted price, then it's too expensive.

I haven't purchased target kids clothes since my kid was 18M, but even then I went by how things looked and not size. I don't think Target is being particularly egregious either; I've found outliers both in the too big and too small department everywhere.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:01 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Isn't this the kind of thing government should regulate? When you buy a kilo of corn, you expect a kilo of corn, not a "kilo" of "corn", because the government makes sure manufacturers and dealers don't fuck around with measurements and ingredients.
posted by pracowity at 3:04 AM on October 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


I just want measurements.

Hear, hear! Women! To the malls!! Let us take this as our battle cry, tape measures in hand. And when we burn their sizing charts, they will know our wrath.
posted by youarenothere at 3:07 AM on October 11, 2014 [27 favorites]


One of the many things I'm grateful for not having to deal with being a man is the pants guessing game. Waist, inseam, fit/style, out the door.

Ohh, poor Pope Guilty. You're in for a surprise.


Wow, that's amazing. I mean, I had no idea.

I've bought the exact same pants (Levi's Shrink-to-fit 501s) for decades, and so I know what size to buy. Even when I was unemployed for a few years and put on 30 lbs, I just stepped up the waist size a bit and they fit just fine. Then I lost weight and stepped it down again, and they fit just fine.

Even with them being shrink-to-fit jeans, I know the waist size I'm buying is actually what I'm getting, because I have a tape measure.

Still, seriously? Old Navy? Sweatshop clothes at sweatshop prices. Think twice before you shop, even if it potentially supports your vanity.
posted by hippybear at 3:16 AM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Let me try again. Sizing is unnecessary if software can create a 3D model of you, and a 3D model of the garment, and reliably combine the two. Having not used the word "twirl", can I get serious commentary now?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:20 AM on October 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


I hoped that with the advent of online shopping we would get something resembling standard sizing, but it seems we're not getting it yet. Which sucks.
posted by sukeban at 3:20 AM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


All that aside...

The actual real thing that I found interesting when I read about this woman's crusade involving Target (and other stores) isn't the sizing issue... it's the cut and fit issue.

She's outraged (and I think she has every right to be) at how clothing for a 4 year old girl has been incredibly sexualized, to the point where jeans are cut to fit body tight, shorts have an inseam shorter than Daisy Duke would tolerate, t-shirts are sold with that correct female shape (for a 4-year-old???)...

She wants her kids to be able to sit cross-legged, you know, like kids do, without it being an issue whether there is enough fabric involved. And I don't blame her.
posted by hippybear at 3:22 AM on October 11, 2014 [77 favorites]


Let me try again. Sizing is unnecessary if software can create a 3D model of you, and a 3D model of the garment, and reliably combine the two. Having not used the word "twirl", can I get serious commentary now?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:20 AM on October 11 [+] [!]


I would guess that the issue wasn't the word "twirl" so much as the proposed technological fix for a symptom of a social problem. It comes across as a way to dodge actually engagement with what's producing those symptoms.

Like, it's interesting that clothes are consistently mis-sized, but consistently mis-sized differently for different genders, with men's clothes sized and cut to flatter egos and women's clothes sized and cut to, well, gaslight. What a bizarre thing — how did we get to this strange situation?

Moreover, it's interesting that (as discussed in the article, you know, the thing we're all not talking about) that clothing manufacturers apparently used to not mis-size things for young girls, but are now going out of their way to do so. It's not like they used to have the ability to make clothes for young girls that actually fit young girls' bodies, and have now forgotten how, and just need a little 21st century image capture tech to replace their lost skills. Instead, the situation is that a number of people in charge of deciding how things are made have decided that, yes, little girls need gaslighting too.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:33 AM on October 11, 2014 [35 favorites]


My problem with her crusade and the examples given is you can't compare these totally different fits /styles of clothing.

Little girls clothing is generally (for better off for worse) a small version of women's styles and right now those are more fitted than men's. I assume that's part of the issue.

And giving measurement isn't going to solve the problem add there's the issue of ease. Say I buy a size 38 bust shirt. It could be to small because American Apparel sells a 38 that's meant to be tight or too big because Hanes shirts are meant to be loose. Yoga pants are tighter than painters pants. Kaftans are looser than sheath dresses. Basketball shorts are looser than Jean shorts.
posted by vespabelle at 3:34 AM on October 11, 2014


Who needs different sizes? The Italian clothing brand Brandy Melville (now ranked No. 1 among brands that teen girls say they are starting to wear, according to Piper Jaffray's latest survey on teen spending) offer their clothes in only "one size fits most" (ca. size zero).
posted by iviken at 3:57 AM on October 11, 2014


For clarity, I do believe that sizing shenanigans are occurring, and I do acknowledge that they shouldn't, and obviously it is a consequence of a general social mistreatment and imposition of sexual identities onto women and girls.

What I find bizarre and stupid is that the fashion industry would do that on purpose, against their financial interest. People will buy fewer clothes for their children if more of those clothes are unsuitable. They'd be providing a less desirable product to the market. It would have to result in lower sales, so lower profits. If it is a conspiracy, who gains? How is that gain worth it?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:30 AM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think a technological scanning solution, paired with robots making the clothes instead of underpaid sweatshop workers, would be pretty neat. Like a loom version of an in-home 3d printer. Design your own clothes, print them out, totally custom just for you. Think of all the saved time, energy and money - I for one don't really appreciate having to rummage around to find something that looks remotely flattering on me. Go up or down a size? Just put your new measurements in and print yourself out a new one.

I think the person who manages to actually prototype this idea will make a mint.

Doesn't really address the current manufacturing problems though. Why does a 5 year old need booty shorts? Gross.
posted by Feyala at 4:32 AM on October 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


Ohh, poor Pope Guilty. You're in for a surprise.

My whole world has fallen down.
posted by the bricabrac man at 4:36 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with aeschenkarnos that a technological improvement in clothing sizing, if well-designed, would have a variety of benefits. However it certainly is not some fanciful notion that manufacturers and retailers will readily and exploitatively play upon the fears and insecurities of their customers, to whatever extent they can get away with, in the pursuit of profit.

I think part of what he might be getting at is that reducing clothing sizing down to what is nominally a one-dimensional spectrum is part of what makes it a useful tool for manipulation. Achieving a comprehensive understanding of the different ways in which human bodies vary in size and shape and then about the construction of clothing, the "actual measurements" approach, is the alternative, but it's somewhat culturally-specific and probably more involved and annoying to some people than the effort would be worth. So technology-and-data-vizualization solutions that would let people more readily assess how articles of clothing of a given size will fit them or fit others do kinda seem worthwhile.
posted by XMLicious at 4:45 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


And, of course, it already exists.
posted by Feyala at 4:45 AM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sizing disparity from brand-to-brand has been going on for decades. Even in men's clothing, I've known for a long time that size-x in Brand-A meant size-y in Brand-B, etc. etc. Even within the same brand, sizing was crazy different from style-to-style. And I'm buying utilitarian big-box clothing, not stylish designer duds.

~~~
Sizing is unnecessary if software can create a 3D model of you, and a 3D model of the garment, and reliably combine the two.

While that seems like a logical development, I fear something like that will probably never trickle-down to budget consumers like myself. I hope I'm wrong, but I have a hard time imagining a Compu-Tailor 3000 working-away down at my local big-box, stitching-up a pair of (affordable) bespoke jeans while I do the weekly grocery shopping.

Hope I'm wrong, though. I'm one of those guys who is perpetually in-between sizes on almost everything. My pants are either going to be a bit too snug or a bit too loose. Shirts, too, are either too snug around my middle-age midsection, or really blousey with sleeves that swallow my hands.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:45 AM on October 11, 2014


we could strip to underwear and then twirl about in front of an iPhone

But how popular will this be after the first release of leaked pics? Which I guess will be about 18 minutes after it goes on the app store.
posted by biffa at 4:56 AM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I recently ran into the vanity sizing problem with some Lucky Brand jeans I ordered. I ordered online, bought the same cut of jeans I was replacing, and when they arrived, they were too big in the waist and too long.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:27 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of the many things I'm grateful for not having to deal with being a man is the pants guessing game. Waist, inseam, fit/style, out the door.

As noted in the article, this only works if you stay with the same brand and they don't do a redesign. That happens to me every so often, and I'll buy a new batch of, say, t-shirts in size large-tall and the new ones don't even fit across my shoulders or are enormously baggy. (Some years back a number of brands did a vanity sizing change at once, so overnight my shirt size changed from XL-tall to L-tall; I don't really care which size I am, but that kind of sudden change was a big hassle.)

offer their clothes in only "one size fits most" (ca. size zero).

That's inane, because even people who are basically a size zero have different body shapes and needs. And can there really be enough people of that particular size to have that make financial sense?

The 3-D scanning booths have been promised imminently for more than a decade now, but I'm not seeing them yet, nor are we remotely ready with the infrastructure to make them useful, whether custom made clothing based on those measurements or just tying existing clothing to people's actual sizes. Nor would I have much faith that hackers wouldn't steal the scans along with my credit card info.

She's outraged (and I think she has every right to be) at how clothing for a 4 year old girl has been incredibly sexualized, to the point where jeans are cut to fit body tight, shorts have an inseam shorter than Daisy Duke would tolerate, t-shirts are sold with that correct female shape (for a 4-year-old???)...

If I was a parent I'd be so angered by this. Kids don't need to be in burkas, but they also don't need to be in club wear. Kids' clothes should be cut and fit for active play and should be more or less age appropriate, with sizing and materials that make sense. Obviously a communion dress is going to look different from what you buy for playing in the park on a crisp fall day, but both need to fit the actual kid and be appropriate for that use.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:28 AM on October 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't think this really had to do with vanity sizing, although I could see how the first example could read this way. The other examples are about clothes that are small because they mimic sexy clothes that teenagers and adults wear. It's not "vanity sizing" that is making Target sell short shorts and body-hugging t-shirts for four-year-olds.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:35 AM on October 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


The funny thing about lying to your customers about size to make them feel better at the expense of information is that you could easily do the same to make them feel worse. Without real standards, what's stopping a company from sizing all of their pants like "baby fat", "medium fat", "large fat", "extra large fat"? It sounds stupid and ridiculous, but semantically, the crippled functionality would remain intact.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:39 AM on October 11, 2014


Even brands are not safe. A friend discovered that his three pack of undershirts were a full inch shorter when purchased from Walmart, than his online purchase elsewhere, which caused the undershirt to come un-tucked. Same brand, same packaging.
posted by childofTethys at 5:41 AM on October 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


The whole concept of fashion is a tricky one. I (like many internet folk) basically just want clothes to put on my body that will keep me warm/cool/from being naked. I don't do much to cultivate a personal sense of style, I like to get clothes at Goodwill or yard sales or wherever's cheap. Having dimensional sizing would be fine, but I don't particularly care if stuff fits well as long as it's close enough.

But I understand people's frustration. Some people's body shapes don't fit the middle of the bell curve. A lot of manufacturers seem to follow an idealized bell curve rather than a real one, making it even more difficult. If you don't like low-cut jeans and it's a low-cut jeans year (or decade), that makes it tough.

The thing to remember is that fashion (whether you like it or not) is a conspiracy. The industry is predicated on getting you to buy as many clothes as possible and wear them as little as possible (so you can buy more almost immediately). The sooner you stop wearing something, the faster they get another potential sale.

There are industry-standard charts for people's sizes. The information is there. Companies are not doing this on accident, and they are not losing sales over it because they keep doing it. Asking for "real sizing" is like the Soylent guy trying to replace the food industry.

And, yes, sexualizing children is icky. But I guess that's "fashion." Buy them "boys' clothes." They won't fit any worse, they have bigger pockets, and nobody ever went wrong with jeans and a t-shirt.
posted by rikschell at 5:44 AM on October 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


Isn't this the kind of thing government should regulate? When you buy a kilo of corn, you expect a kilo of corn, not a "kilo" of "corn", because the government makes sure manufacturers and dealers don't fuck around with measurements and ingredients.

The analogy breaks down because clothing isn't priced by size - if you pay for a kilo but get a 'kilo', you're getting less than you paid for, hence the government involvement, but mis-sizing doesn't cost anything (other than the time it takes to find the right size).

I've just started getting things altered (like has been said above); now everything fits perfectly.
posted by Itaxpica at 5:46 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Measurements. I want garment dimensions. I want actual numbers.

You'd think so. But, as often as not the numbers are bullshit anyway.

Quality control isn't really a thing in the garment industry.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:19 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is why the future was supposed to consist of silver one-piece jump suits or unitards.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:34 AM on October 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


People will buy fewer clothes for their children if more of those clothes are unsuitable.
Judging by the clothes I see on girls at my son's daycare, many parents don't find these clothes unsuitable. Companies are making toddler booty shorts because many parents are wanting to dress their toddlers in booty shorts. Yes, I blame the manufacturers, and I wish that they would make a variety of sizes/shapes/designs, but I do think that they are making what is selling. The problem is bigger than Target/Kohls, it's the culture.
posted by arcticwoman at 6:38 AM on October 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I remember the one-size-fits-most crap at cheap mall stores, and it did make me feel bad about myself. If it didn't fit you, you were obviously a fat outlier; it said so on the label! You literally didn't fit in with the rest of your peer group.

That's inane, because even people who are basically a size zero have different body shapes and needs. And can there really be enough people of that particular size to have that make financial sense?

Well, a lot of the currently trendy teen stuff, including Brandy Melville, is all either oversized or stretchy, and not really created to fit anyone well. And most teenage girls haven't yet learned how to pick clothes for their individual shape, and are more concerned with which brands and styles are currently cool than which ones fit them best (now that snug, high-waisted short shorts are back in style, I have seen so many young women wearing obviously-uncomfortable pairs, much like I did in my teens when I didn't know better). Plus, unfortunately, skinniness has a lot of cachet among young women, and a clothing line that's known for being obnoxiously small will be more socially desirable than one with a range of twenty sizes - and the company saves resources by only making a couple sizes. It's inane from the consumer's perspective, but it makes a ton of sense for the manufacturer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:44 AM on October 11, 2014


Some people are very comfortable with club clothes for toddlers.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:54 AM on October 11, 2014


Clothing size varies in part because in the mass-manufacturing process, the blades go through a bigger stack of material and are angled slightly. So the top pair with a bigger front and back is a lot bigger than the bottom pair. That's why Banana Republic is more consistently sized than Old Navy even though it is the same parent company, along with The Gap. (Their labour practices are so bad my family won't shop at any, but I'll buy BR used.) This is partly a cost issue and partly a speed-to-mass-market issue.

People who are into fashion want stuff faster than the sizes change, though. Being into fashion is basically a fandom. That's why pop up collections are so popular and basically resemble comic book releases. Those of us willing to scrounge through second-hand or seek out consistently sized women's slacks with pockets, actually are the ones who spend a lot of brain power finding clothes.

The least clothing-conscious choice is to hit Old Navy or H&M every season and buy what's matched on the rack. Those are the ppl manufacturers are aiming for and it's about having new things in the window.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:57 AM on October 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


If you want to get really fucked up try moving between countries. Even if you just buy from the GAP the sizes and cuts on supposedly same products changes. It seems that American men have beefy thighs and bubble butts while UK men have chicken legs and non-existent arses (what is the plural of arse?). Buying Japanese clothes, like Superdry, makes me feel like a linebacker as I can barely squeeze myself into a Extra Large despite being an American medium (do Japanese men not have shoulders?).

You know things are messed up when online retailers try to address the confusion by including user feedback judging 'true to size' like Zappos does.

The big online retail bullies should be pushing their suppliers to be accurate so they have fewer returns and then maybe it would trickle over to other producers.
posted by srboisvert at 7:01 AM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


It turns out that when you fit in straight sizes, ie. you're smaller than a size 14 and can thus theoretically wear clothes from just about anywhere...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... nope! As it turns out, if you have any sort of deviation from the current "norm", like me and oh, the several hundred bike racer / triathlete chicks I know in the region, you also have limitations imposed on you, because fashion.

Every single one of us bitches constantly about finding jeans, or worse yet, dress pants for work because the modern design template most of the fashion industry uses is based on either a hipless pencil with no discernible waist (higher end brands) or a potato on toothpicks (Target, et. al.). So if you're say, generally a modern size 4 but with thumpin' quads, booty-for-days and a size 0 waist (like so many of us cyclist/runner/triathlete girls) then you are stuck either buying an expensive size six or eight and getting it tailored down (which isn't always possible, and gets spendy) or you spend all your time in stretchy knit dresses from Title Nine or Lululemon (which are ridonkulously expensive for how crappy fast-fashion they really are, and honestly don't look all that professional for the workplace anyhow, they read as kind of lazy-granola-hippie).

I would dearly love to find a modern, snappy, professional looking pantsuit or five so I could stop playing this multidimensional what-do-I-wear-to-work-today? game. Sweater dresses are cool I guess, but I hate wearing tights or hose, and it's fucking freezing in my office 24/7/365 so bare legs are out of the question (not to mention I'm past my sell-by date and no longer have the dewy fresh unblemished skin to pull that off, oh plus IT SNOWS HERE. QUITE A LOT, ACTUALLY). But so far I haven't found a reasonable solution, so mostly I either look too-frumpy or too-hippie or like an obsolete college student.

And yeah, the biggest problem with kids' clothes these days is far and away the parents - around here it's not uncommon for me to see moms and preschool daughters in matching bedazzled booty script CU pants, and just... ugh.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:02 AM on October 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


This is why the future was supposed to consist of silver one-piece jump suits or unitards.

"Speed Suit!"
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:25 AM on October 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


The blogger seems focused on the very valid complaint of trying to find reasonable length shorts for girls. When we were doing summer shopping this year for my teen daughter, we were both very relieved to see that apparently shorts in lengths other than booty shorts had come back in style. I remember picking up a pair of shorts for her at the thrift store a couple years ago, and at first she complained mightily that they looked like granny shorts (the inseam was maybe a whole 4"!), but in retrospect she was glad to have at least one pair that she didn't have to constantly be worrying about whether her butt cheeks were smiling at anyone.

Another interesting issue--given the claim from the store representative that they use size statistics to fit the 50th percentile of kids--is that when my kids were preteens especially, you find that hardly any (American) girls are able to wear "girls" clothing past the age of 12. Like, when my daughter was 12 it was very unusual for any "10-12" size clothing big enough to fit her, and she's always been petite and has topped out at 5'0". A lot of 11-12-yo girls are having to switch to juniors sizes, with all the accompanying inappropriateness (not only short inseams or tight cuts but also plunging necklines, flimsy, see-through fabrics, etc.). I wonder if it relates to the obsession with having kids hit milestones early--whether that means bragging about your kid walking when they're 9 months old or wearing 4Ts before their 3rd birthday.

I don't know what dog wags the tail of children's fashion, but I am FAR from a prude and I still found/find it challenging for my daughter and me.
posted by drlith at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


*sigh* I realize that this is a huge "problem" that's gotten "so much worse in recent years" but has anyone considered that the major factor in a manufacturer wanting you to have no idea what size you actually are is so that you actually have to go into a brick and mortar store and try things on, so the brick and mortar stores don't fail en masse due to competition from mail order (and now the internet) and send the entire world economy shooting into the toilet at top speed? Viva la capitalism?
posted by sexyrobot at 7:47 AM on October 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


the same thing is going on in reverse in men's clothing. i used to wear suits, and i remember picking one up at a brooks brothers store, and being surprised that even though i had gained about 20 pounds, the same suit size fitted me the same way, and i shared my theory with the young woman behind the counter, that men's clothiers were fudging the sizes to prop up the fragile egos of spreading, sagging boomers. she was all like "whatever do you mean?" and as i turned to go, i told her "you'll find out in about 20 years, after time and gravity have had their ruthless way with you, as they did with me." yes, i'm always good for a laugh.
posted by bruce at 7:53 AM on October 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


One of the many things I'm grateful for not having to deal with being a man is the pants guessing game. Waist, inseam, fit/style, out the door.

HAHAHAHAAHAAHAA no. I'm short and, I'll be nice to myself today, stout. Finding pants that fit my waist correctly inevitably means they're about four inches--at least--too long in the leg. Even when I weighed a little less, I always had solid thighs, and a 31w/30inseam would very often be uncomfortably snug around my upper legs.

As for the 3D measurement thing, I seem to recall reading about a bespoke tailor service that does that; scan you with a laser for your measurements, sends the file to Shanghai, six weeks later a suit cut for your body at a fraction of the price. I think the bespoke shop around the corner from me does basically this, but I don't have enough money to even walk in let alone buy anything, I'm going on snatches of conversation I've had with them.

The toddler clothes thing, euuuuuuuurgh. I remember being horrified back in the nineties when my niece was a wee thing and seeing the clothes that were on sale for her age group. I look at kids on the street now and want to smack their parents. Little girls do NOT need plunging necklines or booty shorts of midriff tops, for fuck's sake. Frankly, throw kids in denim coveralls for the first 8-10 years. Save everybody a whole lot of grief.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:55 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Clothes manufacturers need to die a fiery death. Back when boot cut jeans were in style, I found that the Gap's "Long and Lean" style fit me just perfectly. I bought two or three pairs and wore those fuckers into the ground. I mean, the quality wasn't very good, and they were labelled a good two sizes smaller than what I wear in any other brand, but at least they FIT. I could finally walk into a store and grab a pair of jeans off the stack and take them home without trying anything on. Or so I thought. The last two pairs of those jeans I bought are the last Gap jeans I will ever buy, I swear to god. Look at this bullshit. The pair that fit perfectly are in the middle. The last two pairs I bought are at least an inch shorter, and then an inch longer. In what universe are these all the same size?

Oh, and about this being a strategy to get me to try on clothes in brick and mortar stores. That's a nice theory, but making me schlep to your store and try on something only to conclude I need the next size up/down, which is INVARIABLY sold out, is not helping me buy your products.
posted by gueneverey at 8:05 AM on October 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... nope! As it turns out, if you have any sort of deviation from the current "norm", like me and oh, the several hundred bike racer / triathlete chicks I know in the region, you also have limitations imposed on you

That's why I said the "theoretically" -- I was there with her while she was trying things on, I know it's not idyllic, and I'm sorry it's so crap for you too. For you, for all of us. My point was more that she had the option of trying things on at all, no matter how badly they fit once she put them on. That's why I'm such an effective crap salesperson detector, it's obvious from looking at me that I can't wear any of the stock myself.

Speaking more generally -- I really think a lot of the shit lies with a) distributors b) manufacturers c) stockists d) whoever makes the style decisions and very little of it with the customers. I mean, it seems like there must've been people in the world who consciously decided that 1-inch inseams on toddlers was a good idea, but having the idea doesn't mean it has to go on and be considered viable for marketing and stock and sales. These are children's clothes -- who the hell thinks toddlers don't need protective clothing on their legs? They're toddlers, they toddle, it's in the name. And so much of it is just ... flimsy and thin and entirely inappropriate for playing in. It's the clothing equivalent of sitting-and-looking-pretty shoes, for toddlers.

Sometimes I shop for my little-girl relatives and holy shit it is depressing, but not just depressing -- the racks of tiny shorts and babydoll cuts inspire such protective rage because I know that there is nothing in any of it that gives a single damn about little girls. Not one. Not enough to warm them or protect them or let them move. It's all about exposure and vulnerability and restriction spangled with shitty glitter. Boys get superheroes and play clothes. Girls get set up to be told how to sit without showing underwear when they are so young that it should not even be a concern if they sit cross-legged in shorts, gods wept. It's not just bottoms either -- it's so hard to find a girl's shirt with substantial sleeves or fabric that won't collapse from a snag. Most of it is so fragile it can't be mended at all. Have a favourite shirt, toddler girl? Too bad, it's gone. Want to get down and look at that interesting thing on the concrete? Too bad, it's going to hurt. Aaaargh. The whole thing feels like I'm participating in training these girls to accept abuse. Mega creepy.
posted by E. Whitehall at 8:07 AM on October 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


Every single one of us bitches constantly about finding jeans, or worse yet, dress pants for work because the modern design template most of the fashion industry uses is based on either a hipless pencil with no discernible waist (higher end brands) or a potato on toothpicks (Target, et. al.)

Also, I'm convinced the current standard of ~2% lycra in women's jeans is another arm of the Fashion Conspiracy Hydra. Given that women's jeans are generally meant to fit snug to the waist-hip-thigh curve as possible, the more stretch a manufacturer puts in the denim, the less effort they can expend on constructing a pant to actually fit bodies, rather than simply sorta expand/contract around them. The tighter a given garment is intended to fit, the more important it is (or, should be) to construct it with consideration to the vast array of real-life body measurements: thigh and hip circumferences, waist circumference, waist length, butt proportions, leg length, rise length... Most clothing manufacturers would find producing that type of variety utterly unacceptable, but a cheap 'n easy solution is making everything ultra stretchy. Which provides a sort of demented facsimile to actual fittedness, and which many of us have become accustomed to because there just... doesn't seem to be any alternative anymore.

And I feel like right now we're in an ultra lazy design period, where women's pants are skewing tight and stretchy and tops are skewing very flowy and loose... which aren't necessarily bad things by themselves, but if you have a body that isn't entirely flattered by that silhouette, then uh, good luck?? I'm just glad there's kind of a bra-fitting revolution happening now and I hope it spills over (PUN ABSOLUTELY INTENDED) to the rest of women's clothing evenually...
posted by hegemone at 8:08 AM on October 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


as i turned to go, i told her "you'll find out in about 20 years, after time and gravity have had their ruthless way with you, as they did with me."

You should have capped that off by gliding slowly backwards out of the store, pointing one finger at her and intoning "Doom! DOOOOOOOOOOOOM!"
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:35 AM on October 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


I've found the "oh, you never know what actual size you are, you just have to try everything on" thing to be incredibly frustrating lately, especially when paired with the "we've moved all our non-standard sizes online" thing. Solution: Order 3 sizes of everything, keep the one that fits best? In 2014 how is there not a better way?


(Oh, and I've tried one of those 'we scan all around you and get your measurements and tell you what brands are likely to fit you best!' things. It pegged my size at at least 3 sizes larger than I normally wear and told me that nothing would fit me well. Thanks, fancy future machine.)
posted by matcha action at 8:47 AM on October 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


srboisvert: Buying Japanese clothes, like Superdry, makes me feel like a linebacker

Superdry is not a Japanese brand, it's not even sold in (or delivered to) Japan. According to their website, they deliver to places like Antarctica, Saint Helena and Western Sahara within 7 days - but not to Japan. It may or may not have something to do with copyright and branding.

From Wikipedia: "SuperGroup plc is a British international branded clothing company, and owner of the Superdry label. (...) The company's products include frequently meaningless excerpts of Japanese text, inspired by the common Japanese practice of placing decorative English text on items to increase their fashionability and appeal, a phenomenon known as Engrish. The company explained to a Japanese television crew in 2011 that they deliberately use simple machine translation to generate Japanese text, and that they are aware that the texts often have no meaning. The brand logo - phonetically "Kyokudo kansou (shinasai)" - literally translates as "Maximum dry (please do)", the text in brackets being due to the translation software used offering alternatives depending on whether dry is intended as a noun (e.g., super dryness) or an imperative, (e.g., dry this shirt out)"
posted by iviken at 9:02 AM on October 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's just deeply disconcerting when I, at 5'3" and 100 lbs., can walk into the girl's section at Target and fit into a size L or XL and have it be skin tight, and then walk into the boy's section at Target and be able to wear a size M (I could wear lower, but everything would just get way too short for me - the width is normally still too large for boy's clothing).

That's an awful sign. Like, how????
posted by ourt at 9:16 AM on October 11, 2014


Companies are making toddler booty shorts because many parents are wanting to dress their toddlers in booty shorts.

Or, because it is hot outside and they went to the store and those were the only shorts available. When your kid requires an entirely new wardrobe every six months, you really are limited to what's available in the stores.

Also, the cut thing is real -- my nearly 8 year old daughter (birthday on Monday!) fits into her 3 year old brother's clothes. Shirts, anyway. Her rise is too long for his pants. My husband didn't believe me, and why should he? She's eight inches taller and almost twenty pounds heavier! But she does.
posted by KathrynT at 9:32 AM on October 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


The consistency of sizing is a big problem, but the worst part about this is the cut thing. Taken on the whole, anyway, five year olds are built pretty much the same across sex and gender. There is no practical reason for their clothing to be so extremely gender performative. Even leaving aside misgendering,* why is it so important for little girls to become acclimated to those types of expectations at such a young age?

One of the biggest and most pervasive differences I see between men and women is just plain old self-consciousness. Women tend to have a constant awareness of their bodies, and not in a good functional way. We walk around constantly thinking about what we look like to others. Men for the most part don't seem to, at least not constantly and not to that extent. And clothing like this seems specifically designed to make girls self conscious in exactly that way. The tight, body conscious cuts, the inevitable wedgies, the superficial adornments are all designed to draw close attention to girls' appearances and make them think about what their bodies look like, whereas boys' clothing seems designed to allow for comfort and freedom of movement. And that's crap and it sometimes makes me wonder how we ever manage to accomplish anything else.

Little girl booty shorts in particular make girls inappropriately and constantly conscious of their crotches and their butts in ways that are not conducive to exploring and playing and learning. They're walking around probably physically uncomfortable, having to pull at their clothes and arrange themselves so as not to show too much, and with the constant reminder that their bodies are on display for others.

Even if it were somehow super-important for strangers to be able to discern the assigned gender of prepubescent children, that could be accomplished pretty easily with simple color coding or something. (Well, ass. I can't find them now, but I have seen children's t-shirts available in blue and pink that read something like "Girl: Color Coded for Your Convenience. Please now pretend that I found and linked to those.)

* But you know, ouch. I know plenty of cisgendered women who were super-uncomfortable having to wear dresses for special occasions as little girls, and children's clothing was not as consistently gender coded back then, either. Imagine how much worse that would be for kids who are actually misgendered and subjected to such extreme wrongness every day.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:06 AM on October 11, 2014 [25 favorites]


I have a three year old girl and one of the huge issues I have is that girl's pants in her size - currently 3t - are cut in such a way that they all fall down. Now, she's about average for weight and a bit taller for height, but she's three. She doesn't have hips. She's straight up and down with the remains of a pudgy baby belly. She needs a highish waist in pants or leggings so they don't just fall down. But 3t doesn't provide enough rise, so I buy her 4t, and the pants are way too long so I have to hem them up. Or I buy her boy's pants, which actually do have enough rise so they stay up and don't make her uncomfortable by sagging down her backside.
Unfortunately she has also developed a penchant for dresses and skirts, which I think generally look a bit better over leggings and tights than boy-style baggy pants. I mean yes she's a kid and who cares what "looks better" really, but I do enjoy dressing her in such a way that she doesn't look too ridiculous, especially as she's getting older and more conscious of what she wears.
I generally buy all her summer shorts from the boys section because they fit much better than the girls but I suspect I'm not going to get away with this indefinitely. See, getting older and more conscious of clothing, gender and suchlike.
As for the fit of women's clothes, ugh, I can't even. I'm shortish with narrow hips and wide shoulders and clothes in most shops are definitely not made for someone with my shape.
posted by jasperella at 10:13 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


n American medium (do Japanese men not have shoulders?)

That's so racist...I just can't even. Wow.
posted by holybagel at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2014


None of this is new. We had the same problem dressing my daughter more than a decade ago. We shopped in the boy's section a lot, especially for shorts. They were longer, had more pockets and were often MUCH cheaper. We also owned a lot of Hanna Andersson stuff, especially their Playdress/Daydress. (I've heard that Hanna has declined a bit in quality over the years, but the stuff we bought is on its 4th round of family hand-me-downs, so it's survived regular wear by at least five puddle-jumping little frog catchers.)

Junior sizes were a total tight-fitting, bedazzled nightmare, though. Especially since she hit them midway through elementary school. She was mostly stripey t-shirts and baggy jeans for awhile there. Not because that was her style, but because all the clothes marketed to tween girls seemed geared toward future Real Housewives cast members. She finally hit women's sizes last year and as much as a pain as it is to have to try on EVERYTHING because of inconsistent sizing, she now at least has enough options to put together outfits she genuinely likes and feels good in.
posted by jrossi4r at 10:39 AM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


For the kid thing, and especially the whole inappropriately cut clothing for little girls, I am fairly certain I know who's at fault here because I see them all over the bourgeois suburbs here and cluttering up my Facebook feed. I went to high school with many of them and work with a bunch of them and they literally see nothing wrong with dressing four year old girls in stuff I would think twice about wearing to a rave. and I'm sorry if this sounds tremendously classist or whatever but these are people from a different background culturally and economically than I think a lot of the membership here is from. They honestly think this stuff is cute and look forward to finding things that they can be all matchy matchy with their preschool daughters in. They honestly wouldn't even give a damn how trashy most rational people would find this sort of thing - the people I know who do this kind of stuff find it adorable and liberating, and if pressed about their choices they would consider us to be boring prudish snobs. It's aspirational fashion geared at those who use the Kardashian clan as role models (don't laugh).
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:47 AM on October 11, 2014


I've been thinking about this recently, because I've put on like 10 pounds and they are basically all in my gut and my chest. So now, my old jeans are too tight in the waist and my old shirts are too tight in the chest... but the rest of me is still the same size. So when I go to the store and try to buy one size up, it fits in the waist and the chest and is too big in the arms, legs and waist! It's fucking ridiculous.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:49 AM on October 11, 2014


My biggest frustration is that I'm shaped and sized like a store mannequin, and walking into a store all the tops are like "ooh, that's cute, so is that" until you walk around to the back and see a whole second shirt's worth of fabric bunched and pinned at the back. So when I actually try those shirts on it looks like I'm wearing a potato sack. I'm looking at you Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. I've basically stopped shopping at these stores because nothing is tailored to fit nicely anymore (except knits on occasion) and *all* their mannequins are sporting pinned layers at the back. Bah.
posted by antinomia at 11:02 AM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


My blood pressure couldn't handle selling children's clothing for one day longer than I did.

If I had to explain even ONE MORE TIME that just because your child is eight years old doesn't necessarily mean that she wears a size eight, I would have done myself or someone else an injury. While my brain was saying, "Have you never SEEN your child's class picture? Almost ALL of those children are EIGHT YEARS OLD. Are they ALL the SAME SIZE? They're NOT, ARE THEY?" or, "Did your child's size seven clothes burst their seams on her eighth birthday? THEY DIDN'T, DID THEY?" all I could do was politely smile until my face hurt.

If I had to look into the blank, unseeing, uncomprehending eyes of one more parent - CUSTODIAL parents, mind you, not parents who hadn't seen their children since the previous summer or something - who couldn't come anywhere near formulating an answer to the questions, "What size are any of the clothes she has now?" "How tall is she?" "Where does she come up to on you?" "Is she bigger or smaller than this mannequin? Taller? Shorter? Slimmer? Bigger around? If you hug the mannequin, does it feel about the same size?" I would have torn my hair out and ripped the mannequin's arms off. After a few moments of silence, the inevitable answer would be another repetition of, "She's eight years old."

And although this was over fifteen years ago, at the time apparently they didn't manufacture ANY underpants that ANY little girl wasn't miserable uncomfortable in.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:20 AM on October 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Tangential:

Superdry is not a Japanese brand, it's not even sold in (or delivered to) Japan. According to their website, they deliver to places like Antarctica, Saint Helena and Western Sahara within 7 days - but not to Japan.

If they can deliver (ha) on their promise to get something to St Helena within 7 days (other than some very lucky timing on the part of the orderer - admittedly likely, since they will know what they are about), I will eat my hat. Possibly no one told them that this is still currently the only way to get mail/packages to St Helena.

Less tangential:

My daughter was always big for her age and also refused to shop in the boys/mens section. Hand me downs/family heirlooms, hannas, and second hand shops were good resources for a while, but money issues and maternal inadequacies meant that I bought clothes for her like twice - one set that fit her till she was five and another that fit her till she was twelve, at which point there was no overlap in the Venn diagram of Things That Fit Her and Things That She Would Wear for a long, long time.

Also, hannas girls' underpants were famous for being comfortable fifteen years ago, and also they magically do not get outgrown for ages and ages, even with a very rapidly growing child. IME. Which is good, considering the price tag. Totally worth it. (I swear she wore the same ones from 7-12...)
posted by you must supply a verb at 12:43 PM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I want centimeters. For everything. In many countries, shoe sizes are done in centimeters, not some arbitrary scale starting at 5. The same should be done with all clothes. Waist, inseam, arm, shoulder, neck, whatever--there should be a tag big enough to fit all that info.

Won't do it, clothes companies? Suck it. Enjoy it when the government declines to renew your business license. On that note, for this plan to work, it would necessitate some form of government totalitarianism.
posted by zardoz at 12:51 PM on October 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


My dad, who's retired, picked up extra cash one holiday season by working for a call center for a multinational clothing retailer.

I asked him how it was going and he said, "When it comes to women's clothes, what does a size 10 mean? What does it represent?" I replied, "It means that the garment is bigger than the same garment in a size 8 and smaller than one in a size 12. That's all."

Frustrated the hell out of him. He was a mechanical engineer for 40+ years, he expects numbers to stand for, you know, an actual measurement.
posted by virago at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


In many countries, shoe sizes are done in centimeters, not some arbitrary scale starting at 5.

But as it turns out, I am not always a 39 in those shoes, even though they are supposedly not arbitrary.
posted by jeather at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Part of this is a cultural trend away from home-made clothing (as with home-made food). My grandmother's generation (1920's) hand-made many of the clothes that they, their children (1940's-50's) and their husbands wore. Their daughters were the last generation to be taught "homemaker skills", which included sewing, on a mass basis and of course these skills were only taught to girls.

For my generation, if someone knows how to sew, it's because they (again, still mostly women) either took a personal interest in the skill--medieval recreationalists are particularly likely to be interested in sewing--or they have held or aspired to a job at which they learned to do it. Everyone else is only barely aware that hand-making clothing is even possible.

Our grandmothers, the last generation of full-time housewives, would not have understood the complaint of the article. If you don't like what the stores sell for your kid, make your own. But we don't have time; we have mortgages to pay.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:43 PM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


On that note, for this plan to work, it would necessitate some form of government totalitarianism.

Alternately, it requires the institution of a democratically managed economy, which is the opposite of the totalitarian capitalist oligarchy we're living under.

(That said, rest assured that I'd have us all wearing mandatory identical Mao suits given half the chance)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:34 PM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


The bell curve is just so weird - plus-sizes and petite women are both fucked* when it comes to finding fashionable things that fit & don't cost a lot. I used to be able to wear an Eddie Bauer size 6! SIX! Now I can't wear anything in the store. I have Land's End XXS shirts that fit okay; XS is too big. Ann Taylor fits me well, but they cost twice as much as anything I could buy from Kohl's or Target.

For every day stuff like t-shirts and hoodies, I just wear kids' clothes. A boys' plain polo shirt is functionally no different and fits me way better. (Pro-tip to all my short women - kid's winter coats are half the price.)

*Not equally, of course, and I recognize that plus-sized women face a variety of challenges and societal approbation that petite women do not.
posted by desjardins at 3:00 PM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


My grandmother's generation (1920's) hand-made many of the clothes...

I was born in the 1960s. I sewed many of my own clothes from the time I was a teenager, up until the rise of the world wide web brought me both shops that sold clothes in tall sizes, and jobs that paid enough money to afford them. I learned to do this, from my mother. Who worked full time and didn't really have time for this, but I also inherited my body shape from her and it's a coping mechanism we need. When you are a woman and almost six foot tall, you pretty much have to learn to sew if you want to wear anything that's still long enough after being washed the first time. There's nothing for me at the mall, never has been.

Nowadays I order most of my wardrobe from Eddie Bauer, and only break out the sewing machine for fancy dress.
posted by elizilla at 3:03 PM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, my grandmother, born in 1920, associates homemade clothes with the poverty of her childhood, and she still thinks it's bizarre that I choose to knit hats when I could buy them. My mom, born in the '40s, started sewing as a hippie rebellion thing, and it truly drove my grandmother nuts that her daughter insisted on dressing like a pauper who couldn't afford to buy clothes. My mom sewed some of my clothes as a kid, but she didn't have time to make full wardrobes for me and my siblings, and now she devotes her sewing energies to making incredible quilts. I can sew a little bit, and I'm sure I could manage a pair of children's shorts. I'd have to buy a sewing machine, though, and I don't think that's how I would prefer to spend my free time were I busy mom with lots of other demands on my attention.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:30 PM on October 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


My daughter, who is very tall for her age is five, and generally wears something between a 6 and an 8 in most things. I don't mind (much) having to guess upwards for her, because after all I am aware that she is very tall, but I'm with everyone else who complains about how horribly gendered little girls clothes are. Fitted tshirts and booty shorts are just about all I can buy half the time, so I frequently buy things like shorts from the boys department, in neutral colours, and add patches or trim or something to girlify them. She spends most of her time actively playing, and I hate how many clothes for small girls seems to suggest that little girls should look pretty and be looked at, that being able to run and play is not important.
posted by thylacinthine at 3:58 PM on October 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm 5', 95 lbs, and I've given up, mostly, on shopping in the women's department. So last week, I ordered some LL Bean flannel lined jeans, size girls 14, to replace a couple pairs that are totally worn out. Turns out that this season, they're now 30.5" long, instead of 28. (And my jeans must've shrunk in the legs, because I measured a good 4 inches difference in length.) Super-frustrating; the new ones are way too long to wear. (On the other hand, I don't know where else to go to get new pants that fit.) guess I'll try to hem them, maybe, but I don't want to mess them up...
posted by leahwrenn at 9:31 PM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


guess I'll try to hem them, maybe, but I don't want to mess them up...

You only have to fully hem them if you truly want the look of a hem. You can do an internal turn-up that you tack into place with several small knotted stitches. The bottom edge will be as smooth as you can create with an iron, it will stay in place through washings, and you will have pants that are short enough for you to wear without having to try to get a showy hem stitch, because who the fuck looks for that anyway when meeting someone?
posted by hippybear at 9:44 PM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


*sigh* I realize that this is a huge "problem" that's gotten "so much worse in recent years" but has anyone considered that the major factor in a manufacturer wanting you to have no idea what size you actually are is so that you actually have to go into a brick and mortar store and try things on, so the brick and mortar stores don't fail en masse due to competition from mail order (and now the internet) and send the entire world economy shooting into the toilet at top speed? Viva la capitalism?

Unless you're plus-sized. They still don't want you to know what size you actually are, but they don't want you shopping in their actual stores (hence, they move all their plus-size clothing online)...so you just have to guess and hope you're lucky.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:55 PM on October 11, 2014


For children who may be internalizig clothing size and brand as a measure of self worth, cutting out tags can minimize that feeling.
posted by Emor at 10:40 AM on October 12, 2014


I understand not wanting girl's clothing to have curves that girls don't actually have, but I wish there were skinny and regular versions of a more clothing. Right now girl's shirts, with their curved cuts, are actually skinny enough to fit my kid. From the article, the pink superhero shirt would fit her while the Batman shirt would be both too wide and too short on her. She has a ton of age based size shirts like the Batman one, generally given out at summer camps and the like, and they will never fit her. They will always be far too wide even as they get shorter and shorter on her. And I know skinny jeans are kind of an annoying fashion, but they are also the first jeans to truly stay on my kid. Before that she was mostly limited to leggings for pants. It would be nice to have clothing in a variety of shapes, not just a straight age progression. Kids are different shapes from each other too.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:12 PM on October 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


When shopping for man-pants I find massive fluctuations in waist measurements even within the same brand.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:02 PM on October 13, 2014


For my generation, if someone knows how to sew, it's because they (again, still mostly women) either took a personal interest in the skill--medieval recreationalists are particularly likely to be interested in sewing--or they have held or aspired to a job at which they learned to do it. Everyone else is only barely aware that hand-making clothing is even possible.

Yeah, I mostly learned how to sew because I come from a family of sewing women (Mom made our clothes when we were little) but kept it up because I'm oddly-shaped enough to not fit perfectly into most women's ready-to-wear. I think I was twelve the first time I converted one of my father's old dress shirts into a ladies' shirt by moving the buttonholes to the other side and taking tucks in the waist. But the shoulders actually fit!!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:49 AM on October 14, 2014


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