Fashion Incubator (a really great site for behind-the-scenes garment industry insight). I have a terrible time finding jeans that fit me, in a cut (i.e., bootcut vs. skinny, wide leg, etc) that I like, at a price I can afford (I will admit to owning $200 jeans in the past, but it’s not a behavior that I care to repeat). Furthermore, jeans in the same size in (allegedly) the same cut from the same company tend to fit differently. How does that happen?
One important idea that the writer mentioned was this: While everyone seems to think that all clothes should be cut in a uniform “average” size range, it is a plan that would backfire. After all, even if everything were “average” sized, only half of all people would be able to wear it. What about the other half? It is silly to assume that companies should make clothes specifically to fit you. If you consider your measurements “average,” you are probably wrong.
In a blind test of a range of women’s jeans, several things were notable:
*The less expensive brands were (for the most part) sized larger than the more expensive brands.
*In some brands, the waist measurement was the same for sizes 6 and 8. In another instance, the waist on the size 6 was larger than the size 8.
*Manufacturers seem to have forgotten that the actual size of the waist of jeans should allow room for movement. So, for someone wearing a size 25, the waist should actually be slightly larger than 25″.
Several factors are to blame for these issues: poor pattern design (apparently a flaw in CAD models prevents accurate sizing), lack of consistent sizing practices, and outsourcing of products without providing detailed specs.
And why does one pair of Levi’s fit completely differently than another (even if they are both the same cut)? According to the writer, “Levi’s has been outsourcing their product development for years. Rather than having product development at headquarters develop one set of patterns that would be then sent to each factory, the style was spec’ed in detail and each contractor was left to develop their own proprietary pattern based on the measurements.” This is a common problem. Many companies receive the same product from several different factories. Unless stringent quality control practices are constantly used, sizing and fit can go completely askew.
So the moral of the story….don’t beat yourself up if you suddenly have to buy an 8 after years of wearing a 6. Unless you have noticed that all of your clothes have stopped fitting you, the problem lies in the article of clothing itself. (That said, never ever eat a Cinnabon…after a desperate turnpike rest stop experience with the disappointing “Pecanabon,” my boyfriend researched the nutritional information. It was shocking/disturbing.)