I’ve been thinking a lot about sizing conventions recently.
I chose my current sizing convention of XS-XL back when my business was focused on ready to wear clothing. I wanted to stay away from numerical sizing as i knew that they differed between countries (for example a US 2 is equivalent to an Aussie 6 and a EU 32), and figured alpha sizing was less confusing for the ready to wear customer. I carried those sizes through when my i pivoted my brand to sewing patterns – but recently i wonder if i would have come to those sizing conventions if i had started with sewing not ready to wear. I keep asking myself, what is the ultimate sizing convention for sewing? Is it one of the traditional numeric systems, be it US, UK, EU, AU or even Japanese? Is it alpha or is it even something completely arbitrary and new? Divorced from all preconceptions of size, because at the end of the day, we sew based on our own bodies not what “size” we are.
This is particularly in the forefront of my mind as I’ve been working more on extending my sizing to include plus sizes. I’ve realised that the natural convention if i followed on from my current size labels would be 2X-6X. But i’ve never liked that system frankly. Does anyone like being called 4 times XL? I doubt it.
It’s left me questioning how we name sizes. I don’t like the idea of naming my extended sizes anything that could offend anyone (which is my fear with my current alpha system) but beyond that, I often hear from people that they feel surprised when their measurements are different to the alpha sizing they expected they were. Which i understand, because i’ve been there myself. When i go to a store and the size that fits me is different than my expectation of my size, I am either upset or elated (depending on which direction it tipped). As mature as i try to be about it, its very hard to emotionally distance yourself from the label attached to your clothing, especially if it isn’t consistent between brands (which it never is of course).
When it comes to sewing, these standard naming conventions are rather irrelevant don’t you think? At the end of the day we should all be measuring ourselves and choosing our sizes based on purely our measurements. For that reason, the European system has become increasingly attractive to me – but that poses issues too as it’s based off bust size (i think). And we are more than our busts (at least i like to think so LOL).
I must admit that sometimes i am tempted to just scrap the traditional conventions and rename everything starting at 1 or A or a series of winky faces and remove all preconceived notions about which size you should fall into. Or have no names at all, and use just the measurements themselves as their own labels.
So what do you think my dear readers, am I obsessing over a non-issue? Do you care how sizes are named?
I’d love to know what you think about all of this!