Teleri (telerib) wrote,

Why women's clothing sizing makes no sense

If I had the time, and expertise, I would start a blog for sci/engg women. As I've ranted about before, we get all the usual "women in business" dressing confusion (Neckline too low? Heel too high? Looking too attractive or not attractive enough? The wrong kind of attractive? How do I dress to flatter my body type but still look professional, if classical professional styles look like ass on me?), plus the "Are you the secretary?" confusion we get if we do wear a pencil skirt, heels, and makeup, compounded by... well, most of us are geeks, with no better fashion sense than the male variety.

On a lark, I Googled to see if such a blog already existed. "Geek fashion" returned either 1) T-shirts or 2) advice for geek men on how to dress well to pick up women. "Geek girl fashion" located an enterprising MIT student who's doing her own fashion line. "Engineer woman clothing" returned the secret mystery prize: an answer to the vexing question: WTF is up with women's clothing sizes? What the hell is a "size 8," anyway? 8 what?

Women's clothing sizes make no sense because they were originally designed by government committee in the 50s and then, in 1983, utterly abandoned anyway. (And NIST, WTF is up with that pear-shaped silhouette? Exaggerated much?)

But check it: Originally, NIST recommended a sizing system with three parts: a bust measurement, a height measurement (petite, regular, tall), and a "hippiness" factor. Does this seem a lot like the new Lane Bryant Fit Right jeans system? Why, yes! Fit Right has a sizing number (arbitrarily starting at 1, but correlated to waist measurement), a color that indicates "hippiness," and they come in petite, regular and tall. 1-Red-Petite gaps on me at the waist, but 1-Blue-Petite are possibly the best-fitting jeans I've ever tried on.

What this web page does not explain is why this rather sensible-sounding, three-measurement system was not adopted, and we were stuck with 8-10-12-14, etc., instead.
Tags: fashion
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