Last week, I won the opportunity to buy a $2 dress at The Outnet’s birthday sale. Because designer sizes are very different from retail sizes, I purchased a Valentino dress in an Italian 44. Technically, that’s a size 8. So imagine my surprise when it was just a hair too snug over my J.Crew size 4 hips. Blast.
So when a reader sent me the link to a New York Time’s article about the vast differences between a designer size, a retail size and a vanity size, it really resonated. But even more interesting than the article (found here) was this graphic which shows how the waist measurements for a size 8 garment vary widely between the brands.
Chico’s is the most forgiving (?) providing their customers with a 31 inch waist, while teenage retailer Delia’s cuts a less generous 27 inch waist. The disparity there is just mind boggling. But even more shocking is the differences that exist even within the same fashion house.
Look at the chart near bottom right, and consider that a size 8 hip at Banana Republic is a size 2 hip at the Gap. Wow. (I don’t feel quite so good about my size 2 Gap Long and Leans now, but, oh well.)
These charts are precisely why I tell women that the number on the tag does not matter. You need to focus on fit and stop thinking about yourself in terms of 4, 8 or 10. If it helps, you can always pull a Seinfeld and sew the tags from a size 2 into your size 10s.