I came across this blog entry on DressADay.com and found it very interesting. It quotes a paper that summarizes the US's attempts during the last 50 years at standardizing dress sizes and clothes that fit.
I think it's a big pity that it was only voluntary and obviously never caught on.
If only we could! Though given the fact that we are not flat like they are, it'd be tough deciding on which measurements would be used to determine the sizing. Bust & waist? Shoulder width and torso length? Neck circumference? Too many possibilities.
I think it's a pity too.
Sizing is so screwy that even in shoes and bras, things fit differently. I can understand their point that you could end up with varients of size 8 with height and waist to hip ratios. But, how do feet vary so much that I can be anything from a size 6, 6 1/2, 7, and even 7 1/2. And surely bras of all things ought to be a standard size.
Shoes! Aren't shoes supposed to be made on some kind of block? I get how a shoe might feel slightly smaller or larger depending on how the shoe is made, but I don't get how there can be such a wide range in sizes that fit a single person!
The thing about those size standards is that they provided for two variations for each size, for example skirts and pants had full hip, regular hip, and slender hip. Just that would make it so much easier to shop. Given a table of a few measurements, posted about to remind people what size they are might not standardize sizes within the industry, but more within the store. There's very few stores that display size charts, which would be so helpful (especially at a store like H&M).
And I agree. 34 should always be 34!
I'm 5'7" and get by with mostly regular inseam jeans. Except for premium labels, which have amazonian inseams.
That's exactly how I was thinking, that it's cheaper to just scale a pattern to "size". Stores could keep their sizes if they told you your size via charts, or standardized them within the label. It seems to me like there's a lot of discrepancy with fit models.
I honestly don't know how you manage without a standard. I'm in Sweden, where we do have a standard, based on measurements taken on a couple of thousand people, if I remember right. The current standard was made in the 70's, they've recently finished taking measurements for a new one.
The problem is, of course, that even with a standard for sizes that the industry has to relate to, there's still a great deal of freedom when it comes to cutting; there's ease, intended fit and a lot of other factors, some manufacturers cut generously, others not (notably H&M - their sizes run a little smaller than most other Swedish brands) so there's still a great deal of size variation between different manufacturers, and if you're taller or shorter than average it's still just as hard to find clothes that fit, of course.
I would love to see more clothes in regular, wide and narrow versions of the sizes in stores, but I don't think it's going to happen, sadly. There are a few brands who do this, but not many and they are usually a bit more high-end. It's definitely worth it, though; I got hold of a basic pair of black pants from a Finnish brand once that specialized in classic, tailored quality trousers for women, in different lengths, widths and cuts in addition to the basic sizes, and I wore them to shreds.