Women's Clothing Size Standards

Posted by Leigh

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Choice has today released a new report outlining the fact that widespread clothing size irregularities and lack of data on the changing shape of Australians highlights the need need for a new National sizing survey.

Despite a heavier population the most recent data collected for the women’s sizing standard was in 1975. With many stores and brands not going beyond a sz14-16

International fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld described his recent H&M range as designed for “slender and slim” people. Melbourne designer Bettina Liano says she makes size 14 clothes but “they just don’t sell”.

Some fashion designers admit they are reluctant in some cases to make their labels available in larger sizes. The industry body, Council of the Textile and Fashion Industries Australia (TFIA), says this policy can send negative body image messages to younger consumers.

“Vanity sizing” is also a well-known practice in the $2.8 billion dollar industry, with generous sizes designed to entice the consumer into buying the garment because they feel flattered to fit into a size smaller than their usual one.

Sizing irregularity is also affecting the online shopping market with retailers saying Australia lags behind the United States, United Kingdom and Europe in this area.

“How can people confidently buy online when even if you’re physically standing in a shop you can’t be certain what size will fit you?” said CHOICE spokeswoman Elise Davidson.

CHOICE says men generally have it better than women when it comes to clothes shopping because their clothing is generally measured using specific waist and neck measurements in inches. There is a standard for children’s clothing sizes currently used in Australia.

CHOICE journalist, Kate Browne set out to discover just how big the difference in sizing is between some popular Women’s clothing brands. Watch the video to see how she fared on her shopping trip.

Read the full report at Choice.

What are your thoughts, do you think we need a new sizing survey?


  • http://robecriluto.com/ Mistress B

    It’s so frustrating! And really screws with my head. I’ll think that I’m losing weight and buy one thing in a size smaller than usual only to them have to go a size bigger somewhere else because there is no consistency at all.

  • Jenny

    I agree, I love clothes but I hate shopping…specially when I have to try on so many different sizes before finding the one that fits. When you find you are a size larger than what you thought it’s really depressing.

  • http://www.noovo.com/u/gracehades/ Lena

    Indeed, shopping is so annoying. I’ve quit a big size so I don’t like it at all.

  • Fiona

    Finding clothes for a smaller build is equally as frustrating. I am in the healthy weitght range but the chances of finding clothes that are what used to be an old size 8 is almost imposible. I buy kids clothes with short arms and look stupid but I dont want to have to buy everything in a boutique store. I would like just to be able to buy average work clothes that fit from the normal chain stores. I have not changed shape over 15 years and buying clothes used to not be so problematic.

  • http://www.violetlebeaux.blogspot.com Violet

    I agree 100%. I am a very small girl and find myself swimming in size 8 clothes. I hate having to buy expensive clothing but nothing at Target fits me except the kids clothes.

    I think there is trouble on both ends of the spectrum and until we have a set guide line of sizes it’s going t remain this way.

  • http://www.prettyinpear.com y-o-e-l

    I agree

    I hate especially when have to try 1 or 2 size bigger… >.<

  • http://miraclebabyblog.com omo

    you are some times you try two sizes bigger for those shops that reduces sizes, and some times a size smaller. mays you wonder if you are going bigger or smaller

  • Angie

    What I do is take about 2 or 3 different sizes of the garment that I like into the change room because sizing is so irregular depending on which shop you go to, you never really know what size you are! I am tall with a tiny waist and roundish hips and I really struggle with skirts & pants, forget about dresses, it won’t work with my hip/bust ratio, usually if the pants/skirt are snug around the hips they bag in the waist. You can’t win! Anybody else have this problem or am I a freak? Sometimes I feel like one. I think I am a size 10-12 but this can vary! Maybe I should just start sewing my own clothes.

  • http://murfomurf/wordpress.com/ Grumba

    I’ve always had trouble finding clothes to fit, even though I’ve put on 23Kgs since leaving school and thought I might fit a standard size now I’m larger! In my twenties being short, and what would now be around a size 6 to 8 with a relatively big bust, it was impossible to get standard clothes and I often bought kids stuff- I discovered I could wear jeans meant for 14-yr-old boys! A little boutique in Sydney stocked tiny sizes for “best” outfits, but everyday stuff was a lost cause. Then along came Country Road and I was able to get nice stuff for quite a few years (but always too long in the sleeves etc) when I earnt a good salary. These days with a middle-aged large waist (some might say “tummy”!!) and a tiny bum and skinny legs nothing fits! As for designers like Bettina Liano- I don’t think the needs are in the designer price range mainly- it’s just the low to moderately priced clothing that MOST people could afford. Rich normal to larger people can have things altered, as far as I’m concerned! Size 14 is the new “normal/average”- so the majority of clothing should be that size and the rest statistically distributed around that! My dad used to be a government statistician in a small country in the 1950s and I can remember him coming home and saying that certain sizes were the most “popular” and writing reports to send to garment manufacturers! What’s happened to that these days?

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