The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

13 August 2005

A fitting solution

Questions of aesthetics aside, it's probably easier for men than women when it comes to buying clothing: we specify a bunch of numbers and we get something that might actually fit, while they call off one number from a specified range and take their chances.

Not that I have any particular expertise in this realm, but I was able to comprehend Kathleen's proposal for changes in sizing for women:

While small busted women may fail to appreciate the difference, there’s an enormous body sizing difference between a woman who wears a 32DD and whose full bust measure is 38 than that of a woman who wears a 36B bra and also measures a full 38". The difference being minimally 40 if not 50 lbs of total body weight. In other words, not all inches are created equally; the blouse sized to fit a 38" chest has a much larger back than the woman wearing the DD cup needs; she needs extra inches up front, not in the back. Similarly, she doesn’t need the larger shoulders, upper arm girth or increased waist typically needed by the woman wearing a 36B bra. I realize that sizing blouses and dresses according to bra size won't solve the issues of height incorporation but further differentiations between short, average and tall could be made by those companies who have the infrastructure in their product development departments to manage these size ranges.

Considering that the "average" woman wears a 36C bra, weighs 144 lbs and is just under 5'4", I think sizing of this structure would make a dramatic difference in the fit of women's apparel.

(Aside: I think I know exactly one "average" woman.)

I seldom get into discussions of women's clothing with actual women, but once upon a time there was a young lady in the next office over who used to grumble about precisely this sort of issue. It didn't help that her particular dimensions were, um, inconsistent with the scale; I asked her once if there existed a Theory of Conservation of Sizes, and if it took someone shopping for swimsuits who wore a 6 top and an 8 bottom to cancel her out. (She gave me the "Are you out of your polyester-picking mind?" look I've seen so often before, but she was still smiling. I think.)

And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to try to pick a garment for myself based on a single number. My proportions, not surprisingly, are a tad askew: very few men six feet tall have a 28-inch inseam, and I have a spare tire, and not a compact spare at that.

Posted at 5:25 PM to Rag Trade


Brings to mind a recent report about rampant breast-enlargment causing inconvenience for designer-devouring consumers.

I knew a girl who had this kind of dimensional problem -- she was maybe 5'0", slim, but with something like a 34DD chest -- and thus resigned herself to having to alter pretty much everything for above her waist.

Posted by: CT at 5:11 PM on 14 August 2005

I bounced this idea off my daughter, who is a click or two short of 5'10", and she said that she expects things not to fit well, but who can afford custom tailoring?

Posted by: CGHill at 9:35 PM on 14 August 2005