My friend Stuart has a blog called Pattern School. If you like my site, you’ll also like his. It’s interesting for me to read ideas I’ve thought or written about, from another perspective and in someone else’s words. Every time I visit, I fall in love all over again.
His latest entry is called Demographics part 2 (like me, he’s also writes lousy titles that don’t attract search traffic) about sizing trends which as you should know by now, is one of my favorite subjects. In this particular entry, he says using the full bust measure as an indicator of size is stupid. I agree. The under bust measure is the better indicator of one’s overall shaping and corpulence, or lack thereof. He also prefers to “use nape to waist as my vertical reference measurement as I get equally realistic relation to other vertical measurement” with which I also agree.
The point of his entry is in part to explain why sizes break down as they do, namely according to consumer purchasing. One question he asks:
Is it possible, or even helpful, to create a size increment which would have the same percentage in each size or at least a more even distribution? Why might we even consider this?
His is a theoretical question, interesting to think about but not commercially tenable. It would amount to having 3 different size 8’s, 11 different size 10’s, 4 different size 12’s etc (based on the percentages listed in his chart), wildly contributing to consumer confusion to say nothing of huge product development cost increases. That sounds like a criticism but I don’t intend it to be, it’s a fun idea to play with. This question and its possible solution is related to his next point (Stuart is wicked-smart) which is:
If the plus sizes made up 80% of the market then the whole sizing system would be different to the way it is now.
This is very true and gave me pause. What would size scales look like? As a practical matter, perhaps we should be thinking about this sooner rather than later. Opinions? Ideas? Why and how would size charts change? What would they look like?
Amended: Can we do this admittedly theoretical exercise without descending into rants or tirades (however deserved) about fitting frustration in plus sizes? Really think about his observation; if plus sizes made up 80% of the market, how would our sizing systems change? Pondering the matter may lead you onto pathways you hadn’t considered.