“…I took a picture to show the difference between a men’s XL and a woman’s. Here lies a problem I see so frequently it’s upsetting. How are both of these shirts an XL? What message are clothing companies saying to our women? Sometimes it feels like they are saying, “It’s ok for men to be a certain size but, not you.” Women are often forced to be in a certain size bracket or it’s too bad so sad.”
- Sarah Robles, USA weightlifting Olympian
I talk about this all the fucking time, how come the sizing between men and womens clothes is SO DIFFERENT? My boyfriend is a tall and chunky dude and generally wears an xl, and even though I’m built smaller than him I sometimes have to wear a womens 3xl. WHAT?
Food for thought, ya’ll.
Men’s sizes are all ranged around a set of defined measurements. It comes from the long and much-appreciated history of tailoring. They had to start with a base somewhere so they did, it’s created a uniformity that continues (more or less) to this day.
Women’s sizing is much more subjective. Although there is a kind of… base guideline for measurement (at least for standard sizing), it’s not “enforced” or used universally. I’ve bitched for years about needing to standardize women’s sizes based on a quantifiable set of measurements, but it hasn’t happened. And probably won’t.
Men’s clothes are sold to make men look good. Women’s clothes are sold to play into a larger dialogue of how “fat” and imperfect we are in order to continue feeding into the weight-loss and diet industry. And if you don’t believe that, then you weren’t paying attention the year that Walmart SHIFTED their sizing completely so that what USED to be a 26/28, is now a 30/32, what used to be a 22/24 is now a 26/28, and so on. I saw it happen. 2 shirts, bought 1 week apart, exactly the same size as far as material, fabric, and everything else. One was a 22/24… the other was a 26/28. And it wasn’t just the one shirt.
Unless you fit in “standard sizes” (which are just as subjective as plus sizes but not always as noticeably), the goal of women’s sizing is to remind you that you are a lard ass who needs to lose weight to be fashionable.
Companies like Lane Bryant, and Fashion Bug (Charming Stores inc in general) started releasing pants in single digit sizing 1-7 (in stores, and sometimes 1-10 online). I LOVED that. It’s harder for me to find a good pair of jeans because my body type is not conducive to the styles they offer, but the sizing is genius. And it’s one of the first that I’ve seen that steps back and says, “this is just a stupid number and it’s totally subjective so why don’t we create one single space where a big woman can walk in, pick up a pair of jeans off the rack and say… I wear a 6.”
It’s a head trip essentially, but it’s also good marketing. But yeah, there’s a reason a men’s size xl is so much bigger than a women’s size xl (even though if you add in the boob factor personally.. I think the opposite should be true). Because for the men it’s just about the size. For the women, it’s about so much more.
Hey, look, it’s that thing I ranted about earlier.