So one thing I really struggled with when starting my business was determining what my size chart would be. Because sometimes I wear a size 3, or a 4 or a 6, and sometimes when I’m sewing, I wear a 14. I’m 5’10” and while slender, you don’t grow to be 5’10” without some girth. Logically, (and assuming we’re keeping the current 0-20+ system) I’m sure I should wear something closer to a 14 and save the single digit sizes for petite women.
Otherwise we’re seriously looking at negative sizes. But there’s also the emotional (and societal) attachment to smaller sizes and impact on self-worth and a whole host of things that can be tied to that number…
Ranting didn’t get me any closer to having my own size chart. So I thought about who I wanted to reach- a broad range of women in different shapes and sizes. And especially some with unique fit challenges. I finally blended together the size charts of several companies I respect, and I feel pretty happy about where I’ve landed (check it out here).
But it makes you wonder how we got here, right? To a point where everyone wears like 4 different sizes and dreads jean shopping because of 14 pairs you have to try on to find one that fit. If you’re lucky! I knew about vanity sizing, but I started to wonder what else was going on.
Turns out it’s only been in the last 150 years that all garments foreverandeveramen stopped being made individually for folks by tailors. Men’s sizes started standardizing during the Civil War (1860s), when uniforms were being mass produced (their sizes have the added bonus of being tied to actual measurements, think waist/inseam, etc.). Women’s clothing wasn’t mass produced until into the Industrial Revolution. Around the 1920s catalogs became super popular and that’s really when women started buying ready-made clothing. But it didn’t really fit very well (hmm… Sounds familiar…) Wikipedia says it’s because they tried to just use the bust measurement to guess at the rest of the body (like how men’s chest measurements are pretty good predictors of the rest of their proportions. But there’s a lot more diversity in women’s proportions. :))