By Kaylynn Paynter
Sept. 10, 2014
These jeans are too tight.
These jeans are too loose.
These jeans are just right.
In a fashion reminiscent of Goldilock’s search for the perfect porridge, Chelsey Pollon wanders from store to store in search of the perfect pair of pants.
But the search isn’t easy.
If you’re a woman, chances are at one time or another you’ve gone into a store, picked up a pair of jeans in your normal size and been mortified when you couldn’t pull them up past your thighs.
Pollon is no different.
“Usually I only try on a few things and leave because I’m frustrated,” she said.
Clothing companies generally make clothes for a specific body type, which leaves a large percentage of women excluded, she said.
“Sometimes I think they don’t bother thinking about women who are not a perfect hourglass figure.”
She’s right, more or less.
“Different stores have different sizes, even though they are numbered the same,” said Olivia Gallant, who has several years experience working in fashion retail.
“Sometimes it can be to change the attitude of the customer. If a woman comes in and is a size 14, but then a few months later she tries on jeans and needs a 12 instead, this boosts her confidence which makes her want to buy the pants.”
There are other factors that could contribute to the sizing issue, she said.
“The company’s demographic can be a factor,” she said. “If a 20-25-year-old woman shops at Dynamite, the clothes may fit her great, but if she goes into Garage or Stitches, the same sizes might not fit her because those companies are looking to sell to teen girls, who are typically smaller.”
So for a store selling to young women, their size 10 is going to be size 10 in women’s, while a size 10 in a store for teens is designed on the scale for a smaller person.
Fashion historian and co-ordinator of Seneca College’s Fashion Arts program, Dale Peers said this phenomenon is called vanity sizing and companies have been getting away with it for decades.
“The concept is if we call something a size eight when it is a “standard” size 10 the client is going to feel good about the product and may purchase our brand more frequently,” said Peers.
“Conversely, if a company has “true” sizing, this can make someone who has been wearing that size possibly feel less positive about them selves. As the “fashionable body” changes, so do the “standard measurements.