By Erin Posjena |Staff Writer|
Women across the country have become obsessed with the size numbers printed on each tag of clothing they try on and how those numbers have begun to equal body worth and self value.
The reality is that those size numbers are different everywhere, so what consumers really should be asking themselves is, “does size really matter?”
Who is determining that value– some clothing manufacturer, or you?
Retail stores like Hollister, American Eagle, and Forever 21 all produce clothing that is targeted for high school and college-aged girls.
Society today tells girls that thin is in, therefore, it’s only natural that the size numbers on each dress or pair of jeans purchased is going to take center stage to the consumer.
Some stores, such as
Hollister, use odd numbered sizes 1-11; while American Eagle Outfitters uses even numbers 2-16.
The proof is in the numbers; if the sizes are different at different stores, it’s clear that the actual number on the tag isn’t all that important.
Some stores like Forever 21 disregard actual size numbers and use waist and hip measurements for their jeans. For example, I am a size 26 in their jeans.
The important thing to understand is that each store uses these waist measurements to gauge their sizes but those gauges are not the same at each store.
A 26-inch waist at Hollister is a size 5, but I wear a 7 in their jeans even though based on my measurements of 26, I should be 5.
Consumers need to be aware that each retail store has a sizing chart based on their “targeted audience.”
Hollister is a clothing store that prides themselves on being “SoCal” inspired. Southern California is a place that is centered on the ideal that “skinny” is beautiful so their waist sizing and corresponding numbers are going to run on the smaller end of the spectrum, making girls feel like their size number is “too large.”
Their largest size is an 11, which is labeled as a 30-inch waist (keep in mind that’s only four inches bigger than my waist size and it has jumped six sizes).
American Eagle Outfitters has a similar size audience as Hollister but they do offer a larger demographic with their largest size being a 36-inch waist at a size 18.
Forever 21 offers a more appropriate version of sizing by forgoing the use of numbers and focusing on waist size. They also cater to plus size women by offering alternative sizing in each store.
Clothing stores like Hollister, American Eagle Outfitters, and Forever 21 all cater to their targeted audience and rank their sizing chart accordingly.
I asked three women on campus what they thought about how sizing works and they all admit that they have criticized themselves for being a larger size in one store and a smaller size in another.
Fictional numbers have been created by manufacturers and have become the yardstick for measuring the worth of girls all over the country.
The idea of trying to fit into a particular size and conforming to a stores’ expectation is not feasible because you’ll end up dragging yourself into a game of numbers that doesn’t play fair.