Is it just me or have the clothing sizes changed?

Lately I have been witnessing the most peculiar thing…

After a hiatus of a couple of months I decided it was time to indulge in some old-fashioned clothes shopping…so I’m in the store looking around, thinking to myself that those mediums do look rather big.

Anyways I find some styles I like, pick out my sizes and lo and behold I makje it into fitting rooms only to find out everything is way too big…

I have not lost weight nor gained any height yet I have get everything in smaller sizes…in pants I now need 31/30 (depending on the brand) instead of 32, in t-shirts/sweaters I need small instead of medium…

Is this some nationwide decision that was made, since so many people are overweight that clothing manufacturers are doing them a favor? So that somebody who gained let’s say 10 pounds stil fits in his 33 althout he/she should be wearing 34 by now…Has anybody else noticed this? I think, personally, that it’s quite sad to see this. Instead of forcing people to see that they’re getting fat, they simply change the sizes so people feel better…is this due to this “Oh you need to be careful not to insult people” attitude so prevalent in this coutry?

Cause strangely enough, when trying on European brands I still need to look for my old sizes

I agree. I think clothing manufacturers have changed. I wore 32/32 all through and just after college. Now, I’m buying 30/30 of the same brands of jeans. I dont’ think i’ve lost weight, which COULD explain the first ‘30’, but the I know my legs havn’t shrunk, so how else do you explain the second ‘30’?

Same with shirts. I used to always buy large, now I’m a medium.

I’m glad you brought this up, I was scared I was shrinking.

I think it’s a ploy to make americans think we’re thinner than we are. I just bought pants that are 34" in the waist the last time I bought 36" (over 2 years ago) and I haven’t lost any weight. I also noticed that the XL t-shirts I just bought hang on me like a tent. :dubious:

I don’t think it’s a ploy to make americans feel thinner than they are…maybe the ones that don’t gain weight will feel that way.

I think it’s more to please the weightgaining americans, which sadly are in the majority in this country…

Hmm, I seem to recall reading something saying the clothing manufacturers were studying Americans, taking their measurements and such, and planning to adjust their sizes accordingly. This may be what’s happened.

Yes, I believe sizes are certainly changing … it is certainly going to be odd explaining sizes soon, when the numbers no longer match any particular measurement …

Of course, marketing is marketing … people will buy “Relaxed Fit Size N” when it is really size N + 1 (or 2 or 3) … before they’ll actually buy the “correct” size. Hmmm … maybe if we made manufacturers change the name to “Lard-Ass Fit” :smiley:

I have a different problem. I did lose weight, my waist went from
a 34 to a 30. Without the size expansion, maybe I’d be a 32. As it is, my “official” pants size is 30/34 and almost no one make pants this size.

The standard sizes for clothing were set in the 70’s IIRC(I can check when I get home and get access to my sewing guides). They were based on the average sizes for men and women at that time. The American population, due to increases in nutrition and other factors, has increased in several dimensions. The average height for women has risen from something like 5’4" to 5’7". Pattern sizes, and dress sizes, etc., have remained static. There has been a push in the fashion industry to re-align the specifications to more closely fit today’s averages. Maybe this is the first wave.


When I was 12, a woman from our church allowed me to borrow her grandmother’s 1900-era silk dress to wear to a costume contest. At 12 years old, it fit me perfectly; I didn’t fill out the bodice like she did, but everything else was precisely my size. And this was a formal evening gown for a grown woman. (I loved the dress so much that my mother took me to Olan Mills to get my portrait taken in it. :D) There are very few grown women now whose clothes would have fit my skinny 12-year-old body!

My own grandmother was 5’4" and my mother is 5’6" and I myself am 5’10". I think Americans are just getting bigger, taller, etc., as time goes by, and the clothing industries are accomodating it. I remember reading somewhere that a woman’s size 8/10 fifty years ago would now be a size 2/4…it stands to reason that if clothing sizes remained fixed, we’d probably all be wearing “plus sizes,” even if we’re considered a normal, healthy “modern” size.

And I don’t know about men’s clothing, but as far as women’s clothing goes…it seems to me that it’s all arbitrary. I can wear a size 8 in certain brands, a size 10 in others, a 12 in others…some brands size large, some size small, and some just don’t make any sense at all to me. I have no idea what my “actual size” is, and I don’t think anybody else does either. :smiley:

At the same weight and size for the past 25 years, I have gone from a solid women’s size 8 to a solid women’s size 4. Swimsuits, however, do not seem to have caught up with this “vanity sizing” pheonomenon as I still wear a size 8 swimsuit. It makes me wonder what women who are truly small have to do (I’m 5’7", 118 lbs.). Shoes also seem to be going the way of trendy “vanity sizing” as well. I just find it confusing and occasionally annoying but I suspect it’s more of a marketing ploy than anything else.

As far as conspiracies go, this one isn’t too devastating…sometimes i wear a 3, sometimes i wear a 5, what’s the difference?

Look at what’s happened to a “small” soft drink or coffee over the last twenty years–why should clothing be any different?

Yes, sizes have changed.
Case in point:
My mother who is now in her seventies, is a pack rat. She has a wardrobe full of dreses from fifty years ago. At that time she weighed about 115 pounds. The dresses are size 12 and they are about the size of today’s 7/8.
Furthermore, I don’t believe that a woman’s size zero even existed back then.
Clothes designers want to move their product. The consumers of their product are taller and in some cases, fatter. Clothes sizes, which in no way are uniform brand to brand, have literally gone upscale.