The second article from the technical journal I’m writing about is Jeans Sizing: Problems and Recommendations. Omitted from the title is that this refers to women’s jeans. The article was written by Professors Cassill and Delk. Straight away, the authors claim poorly fitting jeans are due to three reasons:
- The RTW market bases their sizes on the PS 42-70 data (aka, the much maligned Sheldon sizing study).
- Designers do not follow the PS 42-70 data.
- Women have hourglass figures and jeans are cut for a straighter body type.
Uh…one and two contradict each other and three isn’t necessarily true. Regarding the PS 42-70, I used to cringe when I heard educators (no offense intended, I’ve never heard anyone else say this) claiming that manufacturers used this data set to develop their sizing, now I just giggle. While I can’t know the practices of every manufacturer, I’ve never known one who did use this information. The sizing doesn’t work so it’s kind of silly for people to spread rumors saying we do when we don’t and haven’t in over 40 years (the sizing study is nearly 70 years old). If someone actually had been, they’ve either redeveloped their sizing or gone broke long ago.
The authors also disparage manufacturers and designers for developing patterns to fit their “average” customer. You already know I think that’s the best way to go. If everyone were forced to size their patterns to fit like everyone else’s, then half of us would be walking around with nothing to wear. I do not know why everyone presumes sizes would be designed to fit them. Who decides? All bodies are different. Why should a Neiman’s type brand be forced to size clothing the way a Wal-Mart brand does? I wrote a whole series on this topic (see the vanity sizing series) so I’ll spare you any further lecture, rather, the problem is a failure to convey the measures that constitute a given size to the consumer. It is not enough to indicate “size 10”. With jeans and pants, the size waist and hip that a given size 10 is intended to fit, should be included as well.
These issues dispensed with, the article is pretty good although I was also disappointed that the fit problems itemized in the chart (below) were not analysed for their root causes (poor pattern engineering). The professors selected a volunteer to test the fit of the jeans from 10 different manufacturers. Twenty-eight pairs of jeans were tested displaying these results:
The fit model was a little short for average (average is 5′ 4″) but was otherwise suitable. Her measures were:
waist to hip length 7.5″
In the article comparing the dimensions of the 28 pairs, the authors claimed that “jeans of higher price points tended to be larger per size than those of lower price points” but if you look at their chart carefully, there is only one instance of that. Other than the one sample, the lower cost jeans “outsized” the pricier ones. I don’t understand why they wrote that when their own data says otherwise.
The problems I see with the jeans (other than the aforementioned and linked to pattern engineering articles) is very poor grading and sizing practices. Also, the authors confuse the concept of one’s waist size being equivalent to actual fabric measure. If you have a 25″ waist, the fabric has to be greater than 25″ to allow for expansion, movement and normal wearing ease (say, to tuck a shirt in). Regarding specific details, Brand I, in the size 8, has a waist measure larger than the 10. The size 6 conversely, was too tight to even close. Brand J had identical waist measures in sizes 8 and 6. In numbered sizing, there should be an inch difference in the midrange of the size spread.
There is more material in the forum including the full size chart and supporting documents. I’ve decided to create gated content to encourage support of this site. I have to make a living and I can’t do that putting up free content forever.