Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Science Of Women’s Clothing Sizes

Well that has to be a contender for most meaningless headline of the year… and in an election year, that’s a big call! Science… ha! There isn’t any when it comes to clothing sizes.

The reason for today’s post is that I finally reached my fed-up point with the sizing system for women’s clothing… and by ‘system’ I mean lack thereof.

The numbers just don’t mean anything and the small, medium, large nomenclature is just as bad.

So, I’ve decided to do away with the numbers and names and change all ‘sizes’ into letters and from now on you’ll find A Size, B Size, C size on the Crimson Gardenia website.

A Small from one manufacturer is a completely different set of numbers to a Size 8 from another – so why should I label them both as Small? Or even both as 8?

I did debate renaming them as red, blue, yellow but that brings in confusion when a different colourway is available. Gemstones – ruby, emerald, sapphire – also raised a similar problem, even though I really liked that idea.

I also thought of animal names – butterfly, dolphin – but that was getting a bit hippie and had the potential to cause offence if someone didn’t like being labelled a unicorn.

My whole idea of doing this was to get women to identify with their own set of numbers and that’s it… it is my small attempt to take away the sting that some labels – particularly the extra smalls and the extra larges – can  have.

We are all different. We all have different numbers. We all have different bums, boobs, waists and legs.

Size A tells you nothing about a size. It’s only the numbers that make it up which count and they are as individual as we are.

I’m sorry if this makes shopping a little trickier than before but I believe in the long run that if we know and own our numbers we can make better choices in our clothing sizes.

Rather than always ordering a medium, if you know your numbers you can compare them with the item on offer and then make a choice – do I want to go on the tighter side or do I go to a dressmaker and have them alter the item for me for the perfect fit.

I would love to have all A Size items corresponding with each other, but that just isn’t possible when stock comes from different manufacturers. As I said earlier, they all have their own sizing systems so to gather together the items with the same numbers under one umbrella isn’t doable. This one will have a smaller waist than that one, whilst this other one will have more room in the chest.

Thus, my earlier message – know your numbers, own your numbers, order by your numbers.

I still think it would be easier if there was an internationally recognised sizing system for clothing and shoes, but I also understand that is never going to happen. There are too many vested interests and sizing agendas for that to change.

A well fitted garment should be the aim, not fitting into a particular size.

The most amazingly dressed woman I know has almost all of her clothes altered to fit her perfectly. Frankly, that sounds exhausting to me but it is important to her – and it really does pay off as she looks fabulous in everything I’ve ever seen her wear.

For a long time I thought she was just ‘lucky’ with her size and that things that just fit her but then I learned her secret. Clever. Our grandmothers probably did the same thing – a little tuck here and dart there. I’ve seen it in a lot of vintage clothes.

Perhaps its become a bit of a lost art but there are professionals out there that can help us – and there’s always that font of knowledge, YouTube, if you want to give it a go yourself. With clothes becoming cheaper and less well-made, alterations have certainly fallen out of favour – but let’s not forget that we do still have alternatives.

Seamus toy

Seamus prefers no clothes…


Except in winter, of course.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. interesting article - size could be a issue! And it is hard , but not impossible i could say to be dressed perfectly! not to firget - love your dog Seamus!

  3. Great Post and Nice Article.Thanks for sharing.

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