As if the normal quirks associated with clothing sizing standards weren’t enough to drive a person mad, a new sizing phenomenon has raised its head recently. When I ran into it the first time, I muttered under my breath. When it happened again, I got mad. The problem? American stores that sell European clothing originally labeled in the numerical equivalent of small, medium, large.
Incident #1 took place when I visited the U.S. boutique of a French clothing line. After “hello” the first words out of the sales assistant’s mouth were part of a long (obviously pre-memorized) spiel going into great detail about why everything was labeled either a 1, 2, or 3 and what that translated to…and (I’m pretty sure) injunctions not to panic over something so obviously insane as a piece of clothing labeled “1”. I haven’t received such detailed instructions about anything in a very long time. Even after explaining that I actually am European and, furthermore, have numerous articles of clothing that use this sizing method hanging in my closet, I was treated like a size-challenged nincompoop. Needless to say, I left soon after – empty-handed.
Incident #2 happened when I bought a blouse online. It seemed so simple. The blouse was listed as being available in a 4, 6, and 8 so I ordered my size. The problem, as I discovered when my shirt arrived, was the store’s translation of the European sizing into the American (4, 6, and 8 not being what we’d usually think of when asked to describe small, medium, and large).
I can’t help but wonder why this is happening. Labels that size in this manner are becoming more and more common in U.S. stores. Thanks to this, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy. It really could be a simple as 1, 2, 3…if only stores could see it that way.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.