The Numbers Do Lie

Over the years, I have been a wide variety of sizes. My body has worn size 4 to size 14 and stayed in maternity clothes for far too many months more than I would like to admit after my babies were born. There was a time I used to let the number or size in my pants play a part in defining who I was. How ridiculous to live my life by a number on a scale or the number sewn into my clothes. Thank goodness, I can now see how crazy that was and have begun to focus on bigger and better things that truly help define who I am.

The-Numbers-Do-LieBut going back to sizes … why do we have them in clothes? You know what I am talking about: the numbers for women starting at double zero that go up to size 20. I understand sizes should make shopping easier and more efficient, but lately I can go into one store and buy a size 4 (and by no means am I a size 4) or size 6 and go into another store and cannot squeeze a size 4 or 6 over my hips or manage to suck in enough to button them. The differences in sizing from store to store is frustrating.

I have also noticed that over the last couple of years, one of my favorite stores (not naming names) has done something bizarre with their sizing. I’m on to you; I know you are placing tags that state a smaller size in actual bigger sized clothing. For what reason? Is it in hopes that more women will buy your clothes because they feel better that they are in a smaller size? My body hasn’t changed much in the last couple of years, but I have noticed that when I go to your store and grab the size I need to try on, I always end up needing to downsize. In the past, that would have made me happy, but today I think you are just trying to trick us women. What do I know? There has probably been market research that shows if women find clothes that fit in a smaller size, they are more likely to buy them, especially with how the media plays a role with body image and self esteem. Honestly, I hope I’m wrong and maybe I’ve lost some inches with all the BODYPUMP I do, but something tells me we are being deceived.

I know this sounds crazy, but in my mind, I wish they would do away with numbered sizing. Okay, I haven’t thought about all the logistics, but wouldn’t it be great if instead of numbers when you went into a clothing store and reached for your size, there were no numbers but instead you saw labels sewn in that stated such things like: gorgeous, wonderful, beautiful, fabulous, awesome, etc? I know I’m dreaming here, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we focused on positive and encouraging words that celebrated every body type instead of numbers that some women let define part of who they are?

Here is my point: in a perfect world, a size 6 or size 12 is the same no matter where you shop. That makes shopping more efficient and easier. I know, there are differences that have to be taken into account for various styles, personal preference, etc., but having a true universal sizing would be great, especially with all the online shopping available. I love seeing all the options for online boutiques that offer such cute clothing for women, but I am hesitant to purchase because I have bought in the past and things don’t fit as described. You know what I mean – “item fits true to size.” True to size according to whom? I don’t even know what my true size is anymore!

Are you as frustrated with the sizing of clothes as I am? Don’t you think with the advancements in technology sizing should be more universal from store to store?


  1. ive struggled with my weight my whole life. When I got to my highest weight before now I wore a 22 and then went down to a size 10. After having my son I gained weight back and actually weigh more but I’m in a 16/18 now

  2. Yes! Why can’t it be like men’s sizing? I have a ___ inch waist, ___ inch hips, and ___ inch inseam or skirt length. The random numbers are so frustrating!

  3. Yes! I’m all for universal sizing, especially as that gives you a goal to aim for (that pair of size-smaller-very-cute-jeans that you bought because you could just about bitten them up, and you want to be that size again.

    But omg, don’t even get me started on baby clothes!!!
    My little guy has been on the small side since he was born (6-36 percentile), yet clothes that are intended to fit his “age” rarely do for long. And again – some brands are better/worse than others. Case in point, I put him in the cutest overalls that were size 12 months, on his birthday. They probably won’t fit by 13 months. What about all the babies that are bigger (and there are many). In the uk, there is an additional sizing as well as the age, they give an approximate weight. I like this as it’s much more accurate.

    My conclusion – women want to be smaller, so smaller sizing on bigger clothes is intended to make us feel better. In regards to babies, we all want our babies to be big, chunk/chubby etc, so smaller sizes complement the “she/he is already into xx size clothing!” Feeling that we all want to feel like a good, nurturing, parent.

  4. I size garments for a living in a major retailer. There are lots of issues you do not know that go into all of this. There is universal sizing. The government has astm standards for each size. We know exactly what a size 8 is. 1) But then there is fit. Express and Ann Taylor fit on the same size model, but the designers are fitting it for 2 different target markets. 2) vanity sizing, some companies do this to make woman feel better 3) factory tolerance- not every garment is going to be exactly the same. We let the factory have a grey area where say the Chest can be 1″ larger or smaller and are acceptable to ship. So technically you can have 1 size 4 that has a 30″ chest and 1 that is a 32″ chest and both would be acceptable.

    So those 3 factors combined can sway a fit largely.


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