Confessions of a REAL Shopaholic Part 2: Sizing Discrepancies in the Fashion Industry

Have you ever gone to a retail store and tried on a particular size in a dress from a particular brand and it fit perfectly, but when you tried on that size in another brand, it was way too small? As a ‘professional’ shopaholic and fashion buyer, this has been my experience when it comes to clothes shopping.


This situation sparks the topic of sizing discrepancies in the fashion industry. Clothes made in different parts of the world follow the sizing standards for their country. Clothes made in China differ in size from clothes made in the United States or Milan. This reminds me that there are great consumer challenges with sizing across the board and that clothing sizing is not truly standardized.


It can be particularly stressful for a customer to be asked their size at a store, but when they receive it, the size doesn’t fit. It usually takes 2–3 tries of the same dress to find the best size for you. For this reason, especially when it comes to online shopping, people buy one item from the brand to test the size before purchasing many more. This has become standard for online shopping. Once people know their size for that brand, they stick to purchasing from them. This habit saves them from having to return or exchange items and potentially not having the clothing item in time for the event they needed it for.


I took a quick trip to the new East Gates Mall in Trinidad to visit a store recently in hopes of purchasing a dress for a garden-styled event. My aim was to find a beautiful pastel colour. The dress that fit me was one size under my usual size. I then tried on another dress in that same store from another brand in my usual size, and it did in fact fit me. My experience is a common one among shoppers, and I am sure that you can also identify.


This raises a pertinent question in the fashion industry. There are indeed sizing discrepancies in the fashion industry. It would be nice if all countries followed the same sizing regulations and sizing chat. However, until that day, when shopping for clothes in person, I recommend that once you don’t know your size in a brand, you should try on the dress. I also recommend wearing easy-to-change clothing and being mentally prepared to try on until you get your size. When shopping online, I recommend purchasing one item first to check the size before doing any major hauls. By doing these things, we can avoid disappointment and still get to find our dream clothing hassle-free.

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