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“Nobody’s normal.” | Manolo for the Big Girl

“Nobody’s normal.”

Fascinating article in this month’s The Atlantic, about efforts in the clothing industry to de-standardize sizing, in order to accomodate the many different shapes of women’s bodies.

One must subscribe to the site to see the full article; this link here will work for another day, maybe two, before it expires.

(Hat tip: Internet friend Ellana and the article’s author, who provided the link on her blog.)

12 Responses to ““Nobody’s normal.””

  1. ottermatic December 12, 2007 at 9:14 am #

    That’s a good article. It underscores your admonitions to make friends with a good tailor, Francesca.

  2. Dowdydiva December 12, 2007 at 12:20 pm #


  3. Sleepy Miranda December 12, 2007 at 2:23 pm #

    Hmmm, I agree that ‘size’ is a complicated issue. However, I’m a little unclear about what this article is trying to suggest: that all clothing retailers should cater to each individual based on the nuances of their body on a personal basis? Or that we should all have our clothes made? Either of these would be fabulous, and perhaps if we all demand the former of our retailers, that could happen in the foreseeable future (as it has with Zafu).

    However, after spending some time really working on my shopping skills, and given the new development of different fit styles in many retailers (as discussed in the article) I find that I can look for key words in fit descriptions and try on a specific range of sizes and I will usually find the proper fit for me. I’ve also discovered brands whose fit works better for me. This did take time and effort, which would probably have been better spent at something else, but now I have a repertoire of clothing retailers, fits, and sizes that usually work for me.

    I guess I’m just saying that as a consumer I’m willing to work with the information out there and I’m satisfied enough with what I get that I won’t be extremely vocal about demanding change – I wonder how many people feel as I do, apathetically content to work with the system, and how many people are likely to really try to do something about this and demand change?

  4. Rebecca December 12, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    This is an interesting concept and one that I have thought a lot about, being a custom seamstress. I think Lane Bryant’s attempts to make pants for different shapes is pretty much the best bet we have for the type of shape consideration corporate fashion will ever be able to provide. Hence the need for individuals to learn to sew, or look for custom sewing near them:-)

    BTW, I have been trying to email a question to you lovely ladies without much luck, so I am going to include it in my comment here:

    Do you know of any source for colorful tights for the plus-sized gal? I am a voluptuous 5’8″ size 16 with muscular legs and a size 11 foot and even queen sized tights do not always work. I live in Chicago where skirt wearing is anathema without good tights and I am getting frustrated! In addition, there have been some FABULOUS colorful tights in fashion mags since Oct. but I can’t find them in anything close to my size. Torrid and LB only have black tights…. Any suggestions?

  5. Talli December 12, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    Wow, has anyone checked out the link to zafu.com? I answered their questions and the site returned the jeans I wear on a daily basis as my best choice. I LOVE these jeans (Old Navy “Diva”) and am rather impressed that zafu figured it out by answering just a few basic questions! (For pix of said jeans, check out a recent post by me at the livejournal fatshionista site.)

  6. Talli December 12, 2007 at 5:08 pm #

    Ok, now it’s creepy, they just did it with my bra too.

  7. Jennie December 12, 2007 at 6:35 pm #

    One European country (was it Spain?) now requires clothing manufacturers to have consistency in sizing so that you know a size 10 is a 10 and not a 12 or an 8. It’s so all over the place in the U.S. now that unless it’s very unfitted, I hesitate to buy on line. I have 5 different sizes in my closet right now that fit just depending on manufacturer and other arbitrary factors.

  8. Canadian Chick December 12, 2007 at 8:11 pm #

    I understand what they’re doing, but it is really frustrating when a size 24 in one place is a size 26 in another and a size 3 somewhere else…and that would be fine if they’d actually post the measurements somewhere easy to find – and that goes for both brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. I absolutely will NOT guess.

    In the “old days” you could find clothes in standard sizes and a variety of fits…

  9. AquaMarine December 12, 2007 at 8:42 pm #

    There’s nothing more I hate when shopping online than following the size chart to a “T.” Ordering said clothing according to that chart, and still having the clothing not fit!!! That frustrates me to no end.

    For instance, let’s say I order a size 14 pants (waist between 32.5″ – 33.5″ based on my waist size of 33″. I try them on and find I can pull them down to my ankles when they are fully buttoned and zipped!!! After measuring the waist, they turn out to be 36″. I can understand a little room for allowances, but come on, the pants should not be able to slip off when tugged a little bit. What happens after you wear them for an hour or so?!

    And it’s just as annoying to have this happen going the opposite direction.

    Hence, my hesitation for ordering things online.

  10. Melissa B. December 12, 2007 at 9:04 pm #

    I order online from exactly one store, where I know my size and which cut of their pants looks good on me. And now I find myself in a horrible shopping rut — over half of my clothes come from that store! (My local mall is really crappy. I wouldn’t kill for a Nordstrom nearby but I might consider other felonies.)

  11. TropicalChrome December 13, 2007 at 1:36 am #

    I also did both the bra and jeans fitting at zafu.com…the bra results gave me the “sister bras” of the ones I am wearing (the “next style over”), and the jeans I’m wearing right now. Maybe I’m not as hopeless as I thought.

    But they also gave me some great suggestions for other brands to try among the best matches, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they fit.

  12. Never teh Bride December 13, 2007 at 11:16 am #

    They’re only now making an effort to de-standardize sizing? I feel like it’s been de-standardized nigh on forever…for my adult life I’ve been a 12 at one store and a 14 at another. Then I’ll go to another store and find I’m a junior’s 11, only to go somewhere else and discover I’m actually just shy of extra-large.

    I’ve dreamt of a world in which women’s sizes are based on actual measurements, rather like men’s trousers.