Women’s dress sizes demystified

Women’s clothing sizes have always confused me. My wife always has to try on an array of sizes, and it seems to vary by store. For me, on the other hand, when I’m looking for pants, I just look for waist, length, and maybe cut. As we’ve seen, men’s actual sizes can change by brand, but it looks a lot more confusing for women, as shown in this graphic from The New York Times.

Take a woman with a 27-inch waist. In Marc Jacobs’s high-end line, she is between an 8 and a 10. At Chico’s, she is a triple 0. And that does not consider whether the garment fits in the hips and bust. (Let’s not get into length; there is a reason most neighborhood dry cleaners also offer tailoring.)

The top measurement is bust, the middle is waist, and bottom is hip. While every line represents a size 8 for a different brand, you can see how much variation there is.

The good news is that some companies are working on making it easier to figure out the right sizes.

[New York Times via Chart Porn]


  • I like

  • i notice this long time ago..sizes are different for different brands when I was trying to get a pair of jeans..been getting 27-inch waist pants and i got surprised when trying on a different brand – the 26-inch fit on me..haha

  • It makes me happy to fit into a size 8, yet I remember in the 60’s wearing size 8 when I weighed 20 pounds less. XD

  • Is it just me, or are there a bunch of unlabeled lines in that chart? I’m not sure why they’re there. Also, it would be nice to see the actual inches in the small charts to the right.

    But an interesting infographic nonetheless!

    Also, I always shop at Old Navy when I’m feeling crummy about my weight. They will always put me in clothing that is two sizes smaller than my actual size. Instant feel good. :)

  • its great if you’re an 8 but the average size is a 12 . . . and that’s if you’re not big breasted a B/C cup . .. . but if you have curves . .. it’s hard you usually have to go up a size to fit a D/DD or E/F cup even if you a have 28 waist . . .

  • Anya Zimberoff July 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

    So, the less wealthy you are, the fatter you are assumed to be? Then again, don’t you want to be flattered more by “permissible sizing” when you pay a premium price and are waited on in person? It would save a lot of time to have better regulation on sizing, so that there is less time spent trying on and returning merchandise…

  • And “relaxed fit”, “curvy fit” and “modern fit” all seem to be a euphemisms for fatter clothing. The slacks I try on sometimes give me room in the hips for a buddy!