This Chart Shows How B.S. Women’s Clothing Sizes Actually Are

It amazes me who different clothing sizes are every time I try something on. “How in the f*ck did I gain so much weight?” or “You have got to be kidding me!” are my go to phrases when a piece of clothing doesn’t fit in the dressing room. I think walk out with my tail between my legs and hit the pretzel cart on the way out of the mall. It is a dirty habit that I swear I will break every time I step into the mall. I am sure I am not the only one who despises the numbers posing as sizes on tags.

In 1958, a woman who had a 34-in bust and a 25-inch waist was considered a size 12. Yes, you read that right, a size 12. Today, a size 12 would fit a woman with a 39-inch bust and a 32-inch waist. Why? Just why would companies to this to women?

The Washington Post collected from the American Society of Testing and Materials to create the chard below, which describes how clothing sizes that are based on the exact same bust and waist measurements have changed over the past 50 years, and ladies it isn’t pleasant. (Marie Claire)

Unfortunately, women are getting larger, thanks to wine, fast food, and our addition to social media and television, but Slate reports there are a few additional factors of the original 1958 study to consider:

“The study accounted only for white women; women of color who came in were measured, but their measurements were discarded. And since the study offered a small stipend to anyone who volunteered to be measured, there’s a decent chance that the results skewed toward the poor and malnourished. When the NBS re-analyzed the data to produce the commercial standard, they distorted results even further by adding the measurements of women who had served in the Army during World War II—likely among the most fit women in the population. ”

Between then and now, clothing brands have either decided to disregard the antiquated sizing standards or to employ the concept of “vanity sizing,” which is when brands label clothing as smaller than they really are in order to make customers feel smaller than they really are. This explains why you might be many different sizes depending on where you’re shopping. (Marie Claire)

So there it is. Next time that pencil skirt you fell in love with on the hanger doesn’t fit, just remember this article, and please please avoid the pretzel cart!

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