How to issue style numbers pt.128

Be sure to read the post preceding this one first. Okay, Danielle has reassigned style numbers according to product categories as follows:

1100 = tops
2100 = skirts
3100 = dresses
4100 = jackets/outerwear
5100 = pants
6100 = accessories

This is great. Just great. If those were the only changes she ever made (at this point) that’d be great. However, let’s think ahead a little. I know you’re just launching, you’re new and for now you’re only doing women’s wear but maybe you should consider designing your style number system so it’ll leave your options open for growth. What if you were to someday design children’s wear or men’s wear? You shouldn’t eliminate that possibility at the outset. If you’d like to have that option for growth, it’s best to design your style number system accordingly. First of all, consider using 5 digits (you were originally using six and then cut those down to 4). I know I said 4 or 5 digits in my book but I’ve reconsidered that; I think 5 digits is better.

For example, your first number should indicate sex/market. It’s traditional to use “1” for men, “2” for women, “3” for children’s wear etc among established companies. However, you aren’t tied to that. Since you’re launching with women’s wear, you could use “1” for your women’s wear line. Now, if you added children’s wear (you’re not a mother yet, many designers add children’s line once they become mothers), since that would be your second line, those styles would all start with “2”. If you added men’s wear later on, those styles would start with “3”.

Accordingly, this is what your style numbering system would look like now:

10000 series = Women’s
20000 series = Reserved for future use, perhaps children’s wear
30000 series = Reserved for future use, perhaps men’s wear
40000 series = Reserved for future use, perhaps home decor

Therefore, your existing style numbers would become:
11100 = women’s tops
12100 = women’s skirts
13100 = women’s dresses
14100 = women’s jackets/outerwear
15100 = women’s pants
16100 = women’s accessories

This means that if you added a child’s line down the road, the style numbers would mirror your existing numbers with just a 2 in front, rather than a 1. For example:

21100 = children’s tops
22100 = children’s skirts
23100 = children’s dresses
24100 = children’s jackets/outerwear
25100 = children’s pants
26100 = children’s accessories

Then, the coding system is useful for other kinds of specialization. Let’s say you stick with women’s apparel but you branch into pricier or lower cost lines than the one you launched with. You’d need a numbering series for a higher price point and to distinguish it from your existing one. Similarly, if you add a modest price point, it’d need it’s own series too.

10000 = existing women’s line
20000 = pricier women’s line
30000 = modest priced line

This sort of planning would also apply to those of you with other kinds of specialized lines. Let’s say you start in girl’s clothing, sizes 7-14. What if you expand into another size range and pick up sizes 4-6X? You’d need another series for that. Then what if you picked up infant wear, you’d need another number for that. Then, there’s still boy’s clothes. For example:

10000 = Girl’s, sizes 7-14
20000 = Children’s 4-6X
30000 = Infant’s 6-24 mths
40000 = Boy’s sizes 8-18

By the way, if you code like this, believe me, it’s not just your production people that will love you; your retailers are going to love you too particularly if they’re buying pieces from all four lines. By default, they cannot mistakenly order a boy’s pant when they want the children’s sized one, even if the styles look identical.

Now to answer your question:

Before I had the first digit for fabric type, and the second digit for category. Did I get that ok? I wonder what that second digit means.

Except for rare exceptions, I don’t think it’s a good idea to code each style number for fabrication, you’ll drive yourself nuts. You only code for fabric type if the cost difference is inordinate. When I mentioned coding differently for a leather garment in the book, it was because your tooling costs -not fabric costs- are more than doubled. If it’s an issue of the difference in cost between fabric types, you do that in costing. Leather garments are coded differently -not because the cost of leather is higher than say cotton or silk- because the cost of producing dies is extremely costly. Also, the patterns look entirely different. The pieces would be smaller and at a fast glance, a leather pattern could look like a child’s pattern due to the small size of the pieces.

That “second digit” (now 3rd) doesn’t “mean” anything. You could just as easily use 11001 for the first women’s top rather than 11101. In fact, the former is better. Those last 3 digits are just the incremental increase in the number of styles. You’d have to produce 999 blouses before you’d run out of numbers. Make sense? Now I’ll get Miracle on this and see what she says on the line sheet.
Good going Danielle. I’m sorry the University just told you to make something up.

Style Numbers revisited
How to issue style numbers pt.127
How to issue style numbers pt.129
How to issue style numbers pt.130

Get New Posts by Email


  1. Jenny says:

    These last two posts have helped a ton!

    I know the style numbers should go on the invoices and hangtags, but is there ever any reason to have them anywhere else on the garment? IE: on the sewn in label.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I know the style numbers should go on the invoices and hangtags, but is there ever any reason to have them anywhere else on the garment? IE: on the sewn in label.

    If you’re a small company, I’d say you shouldn’t put the SN on the sew-in label because you’ll need to buy a whole lot of labels that you may never use. Then again, that depends how often you change your styles and how many units of a given style you produce over the life of the style.

    Now, I know a lot of companies will put the style number on a sew in label but usually, it’s a sew in tag that’s been inkjet printed using that stiff interfacing-like stuff because they can print those up in house according to need. I don’t know what the cost of that set up runs. I should ask around.

    If you’re wondering whether having the SN on a sew in label/tag is going to be one of those buy/don’t buy decisions for a buyer, I’d say it wouldn’t affect their decision but then again, Miracle would be the better judge of that.

  3. LauRa says:

    Hi! This topic I’ve found in the perfect moment, I’m launching my first line, so it’s been very helpful to read through this site. Anyway, I have some doubts.
    1- How do I distinguish differentes types of garments within a style category? Ex. 15100 Is pants, but how to get more specific as in capris, shorts, bermudas…etc?
    2- Is it practical to branch into a clothing line and an accesories line?
    Ex. 1 for women’s wear and 2 for accesories as a sepparate line would have different codes such as 21100 handbags, 22100 earrings, 23100 scarves and so on…
    Sorry if this is a little too long, I really wanna get your book, my brother will travel to the US soon, where can I tell him to look for it?

  4. Kathleen says:

    1- How do I distinguish differentes types of garments within a style category? Ex. 15100 Is pants, but how to get more specific as in capris, shorts, bermudas…etc?

    Be sure to read more on this topic at the discussion in the forum. I think that sub-catagorizing pants would be a problem; it’s overkill.

    2- Is it practical to branch into a clothing line and an accesories line?

    I am very conservative, kind of a fuddy-duddy and I don’t like risks. I don’t like the idea of having to learn to manage manufacturing if you’re trying to juggle too many things at the outset. It’s hard enough with just one thing. I always think it’s best to start with one product line, and master that before moving onto another. That’s just me. Obviously, I can’t decide that for you.

    I really wanna get your book, my brother will travel to the US soon, where can I tell him to look for it?

    It’s not anywhere where he could pick it up, just available by mail or the internet. It’s not the kind of thing Barnes & Nobles carries. Order it from me (in the left side bar) or call me on the phone (575-525-1577 MST -7 GMT) or get it from Amazon. Either way, I’m the one who ships.

  5. LauRa says:

    Thank you very much. I’ll try to order you book, but you see here in Venezuela shopping online is difficult because there are restrictions with the exchange of foreign currency, it’s really complicate but I’ll see what I can do, anyway… thanks again. I’ll keep visiting the site often. bye!

  6. Carol Kimball says:

    LauRa, when your brother is going to be up here, why not have him call Kathleen and have her ship the book to wherever he’ll be staying? We have several different types of mailing available, so he could get it in a couple days for a few more dollars, or even the next one, for more. Let your family/friends know that their presents to you for your birthday(s) should be to get this book! And if possible, the DVDs, too – they cover different areas.

  7. another wish says:

    Please, help me with numbering for a girl’s clothing line that sells three different size ranges: infant, toddler and youth. For example I have chosen 31000 for tops, and i offer the same rose printed t-shirt in all three size ranges….

    how do i assign style numbers in that scenario?

  8. Jean says:

    Good day!

    Thank you so much for your very helpful and informative tips. But I was just wondering how you would apply a style number on shirts with different iron on prints? is there a need to give each print a style number, or that will just be included in the color or print description?

  9. sfriedberg says:

    Jean, if all the shirts are cut and assembled the same way regardless of print, it would be best to use a single style number and distinguish the prints through colorway. As you said, in the color or print description.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.