Lazy Sundays: Clothing Sizes are Idiotic

I have to confess that I absolutely hate shopping.  Clothes shopping in particular, but especially dress shopping.  Not only is it stressful because I have to drive a minimum of an hour away to find clothing stores it also tends to bring up old insecurities caused by years of bullying in middle and high school.  Did I mention that it’s also nearly impossible to find a dress between ‘Amish’ and ‘Look at everything I’ve got’?  Ugh.

So obviously you guys can tell I had to go shopping recently.  I had to find a dress for an occasion in the summer and the two dresses I bought two years ago aren’t sufficiently formal so off I went a-shopping.  When I got to a dress store the clerk asked what size I normally was and I told her about a dress size four.  She looked at me like I had grown an extra head and went off to find me something semi-modest but not grandmotherly.  When she came back I tried on a beautiful blue dress that fit me like a glove; it seemed to be made for me.  But when I went to check the price tag it said that the dress was a size ten.  I didn’t like the shade of blue so I ordered in another colour in the same style only to learn that sample dresses are often inconsistent with the actual sizes.  Therefore the clerk had to take my measurements only to tell me I was a size twelve.

This just highlights the stupidity and the arbitrary nature of clothing sizes.  There are no standard sizes for clothing, dresses especially.  I have gained a bit of weight since I last went dress shopping but I don’t think five pounds shoots you up from a size four to a size twelve.  Clothing manufacturers seem to base sizes off some mythical algorithm that bears no relation to the sizes of their competitors.  This is apparent in t-shirts because I can take anything from an extra small to a medium but it seems particularly bad in dresses.  It’s just very, very frustrating and is the main reason why I never shop online for clothes.

Ladies, have you noticed that dress sizes vary wildly from brand to brand?  And gents, do you have this problem with your clothes too?

Please, someone tell me I’m not the only one with this problem.


  1. chettsgenie

    You’re definitely not alone. I’m in the UK but I hate clothes shopping for the same reason, well that and I’d rather be reading or writing than shopping lol. Women’s sizes can vary pretty wildly. I tend to stick to the same brands so I know what size I am and don’t have to try stuff on

    • Carrie Slager

      Yeah, I must admit I’d rather be reading as well. 🙂 I try to stick with the same brands but living in such a rural area definitely limits my options. Although I’ve found that Cleo dress clothes really fit me well, both their dresses and shirts. The bad part is that the nearest store is 2 1/2 hours away.

  2. patricksponaugle

    I don’t that problem with my clothes, but I do have a problem with ladies-clothes-sizes since I like to do laundry (yes, I LIKE to do laundry) and now that my daughter is nearly the same height as my wife I’m useless at separating out their clothes.

    They ignore my requests to put nametags on their unmentionables. It’s so unfair. 🙂

    • Carrie Slager

      Haha! Way back when my dad did laundry for my sister and I he would always get our clothes mixed up because we were similar sizes anyway. I gave up around age 13 and just did my own laundry because I was tired of trying to put on my sister’s jeans and getting them stuck around my hips and she was tired of putting on my jeans and having them fall down!

  3. charliegirlteachergirl

    I have the same problem. I wish there were a standardized measuring system like there in some countries, but nobody important enough cares to listen to us. I hate going clothes shopping too. In fact, I went just a few weeks ago to also get a formal dress for a wedding I’m attending soon. I tried on EIGHT dresses “in my size.” Of course, I always run into the issue of zippers not zipping entirely because of my ample bosom. But of eight dresses, only one fit. This is the same story no matter what store, what brand or what article of clothing I’m trying on. It could be jeans, a dress shirt, dress pants, skirt, you name it. I always go to the fitting room with arms loaded and *maaaayyybe* one or two items fit. I get exhausted from trying on one after the other, and the fact that so many items that should fit according to their size don’t, is a bit disheartening time and time again. I am with you, Carrie. I hate it.

    • Carrie Slager

      Preach it! This is so so so true it’s not funny. My problem is not having an ample bosom (which I don’t) it’s having an overabundance of hip. So I usually have to size up my dresses for my hips and then have to get creative with taking in the bust.

      At the dress store the poor sales ladies were running back and forth trying to find a size that would fit me in my overly large hips and my proportionately small bust. Unfortunately my brown hair has so many red tones that when I finally found a nice dress in a russet colour that fit me it matched my hair! And then my colour options are limited anyway because my skin is so pale so I can’t wear pastels. Clothes shopping is just a nightmare. It really is.

      There really needs to be some sort of regulation in the clothing industry but I don’t think it’ll ever happen.

  4. Amber

    Absolutely! It just goes to show that our society’s obsession with size is ridiculous. How do we even know what “size” we are? It’s stressful to go shopping. I sometimes grab one thing in every size because I have no clue what will fit me. Then there is the whole petite and plus-size arena. I’ve had to train myself to realize that it’s the fit, not the size that matters. I’m not my pants size. I still have to repeat that to myself!

    • Carrie Slager

      Exactly! Clothes shopping brings out old insecurities for me and it’s so important to remember that I’m not my dress size. Our obsession with size is ridiculous and clothing manufacturers tend to play on that with their flattering sizes. What would normally be a size 12 in one brand is called a size 4 in another brand, that sort of thing.

  5. thedailyopine

    Inconsistent sizing is beyond maddening. Too many differences between brands and ordering online is a crap shoot to say the least. Recently even places I’ve bought from before appear to be changing sizes so what fit before doesn’t fit now. My husband does not experience this insanity with his clothes. I believe it’s the clothing industry trying to make women feel inadequate if they don’t fit into a certain size. Whatever the reason, it’s ridiculous.

  6. jelliefishie

    Vanity sizing is exhausting and absolutely terrible! I try to keep track, mentally, of what stores fit my body…but usually the sizes still vary within the same store. So I end up having to grab 3 of each item, in different sizes, which really fills up the fitting room. If there’s a line for the fitting rooms…forget it :/ Nowadays I also try to shop at places where I can return things easily, to get around possibly bad fits too.

    And apparently it’s happening to shoes as well! A friend of mine has small feet, she’s been buying the same pair of dress shoes for over 10 years. A few years ago, she was freaking out that her feet must be shrinking…because her shoes when from a 5.5 to a 4. But nope, her feet were fine, they just shrunk the shoe sizes to make buyers feel…better..?? about themselves…

    All it really does, though, is feed in to other people’s insecurities and make new ones by making shopping such a horrible experience.

    • Carrie Slager

      Really? I hadn’t noticed the shoes thing. I’ve noticed that they seem to change from brand to brand a bit but I’ve always been a size 7 or 8. That’s kind of odd that people think feet are something that need to be vanity sized.

      When I go shopping I try to go on off days that won’t be very busy because I know I’ll be in the change rooms forever. But it isn’t always possible and it’s always so frustrating. Easy return policies are a must!

Leave a Reply