What are the measurements of a size 10? pt.2

Apparently, an alternative title to follow up with yesterday’s entry is Size is a matter of opinion pt.2 (see part one if you missed it). Results of the survey (thank you!) showed pretty much what I expected. Namely that measurements are all over the map. Which begs the question: if consumers can’t agree on the measures that constitute a size 10 or 12, how can manufacturers be expected to size according to consumer expectations? I’m going to go out on a limb here and speak for the community by saying we’ll make you a deal. As soon as you all can come to agreement on measurements is when we’ll start sizing to meet your expectations. heh

Seriously, here’s a rundown of responses for size 10. The majority is in dark green; significant measures (over 10%) are in light green:


If majority rules, a size 10 has a 36″ bust, 28″ waist and a 40″ hip. She’s five foot five or six inches tall and weighs 140 pounds.  Hmmm.  In order to size to consumer expectations, one would need to cut a 10 to fit a range of five inches for the bust, seven inches for the waist and another five inches for the hip. The figure height varies three inches and her weight spread is 30 pounds. Also note we still have a rough hourglass proportion (slightly bottom heavy) at work. Consumers often claim that only X percentage is an hourglass but aggregating responses shows the clear pattern.

Yes, I realize that responses grouped by correspondent rather than aggregates will better illustrate shaping differences, maybe I’ll write more about that tomorrow.

Here’s a rundown of responses for size 12:

The results for the size 12 show the same pattern except we’re waffling on waist size, it’s 30″ to 31″. Our height range has increased an inch but the median is the same height as the 10. Weight is also a repeat, our average is still 140 but the weight span has increased to a 35 pound spread. The outliers (weight of 170 pounds!) is very telling.

Question: having this information, do you agree it is ideal that we use the majority opinion to determine sizes? If so, let’s filter this backwards using the example of the size 10 for the basis. Out of kindness we’ll disregard that the size 12 is jumping 2″ in bust and 2 to 3 inches in waist measurements over the ten because this weakens consumer arguments. This is how sizes play out, the proportion being Bust is 8″ larger than the waist, waist is zero and hip is 12″ larger than the waist (B:+8  W:0  H:+12):

  • size 0: 31-23-35
  • size 2: 32-24-36
  • size 4: 33-25-37
  • size 6: 34-26-38
  • size 8: 35-27-39
  • size 10: 36-28-40 (B:+8  W:0  H:+12)
  • size 12: 38-30/31-41 (note: bust increases 2″, waist is 2″-3″ over size 10)

I can tell you right now that the hip of the size 0 is still too large. For the sake of argument, I’ll concede that a size zero -based on survey responses- is 35″ -and people wonder why we have minus sizes? It seems clear to me that we’re sizing to divergent expectations and have had to create new minus sizes for the tiny girls.

I’ll use myself as an example to explain how gaining weight changes the proportions of a body. When I’m perfectly height and weight proportionate, my bust is larger than my hips by nearly three inches, I’m the reverse of the survey proportions (B:+12  W:0  H:+9). I’ll bet you think that as I gain, I’d get heavier up top but nope. As I gain weight, I gain proportionately more on my hips. Being 10 or 15 pounds overweight, my bust and hips are equal now. You may be the opposite of me. When slender, your chest is smaller than your hip but you tend to gain weight in your trunk and over time, your chest measure is larger or equivalent to your hip. This is how “Apples” are shaped.

Let’s say that manufacturers had a magic wand and could size 10’s and 12’s to satisfy the proportions of survey respondents. This still wouldn’t make everyone happy because as you gain weight, the relationship between your relative proportions changes. Manufacturers can only hit the aggregates, the mean of the size spread. They have to devise a sizing scale based on averages. It would be impossible to calculate changing figure proportions of consumers singly.

This is why you may have to change brands as you gain or lose weight. If you can grab the next larger or smaller size of the same brand hanging on the rack as you gain or lose weight, this would be a happy coincidence but it is not a reasonable expectation because your proportions evolve as you gain and lose weight.

Just curious, how many others expected the same result and conclusions?

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