Retro & Vintage in Buffalo NY
Retro & Vintage in Buffalo NY
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Behind the Scenes: Not All Sizes are Created Equal

Posted Julie Ann Davis Style

On a daily basis I explain to women that that the reason an item does or doesn’t fit well is based on so many different factors. Why is this the case?

Unfortunately, there is no standard in the garment industry on size. One brand’s size small will be the same as another brand’s size large. This is the result of vanity sizing over the years. The example everyone always references is Marilyn Monroe. In the 1950s she wore a size 12 which was equivalent to a 26 inch waist. A vintage size 12, is the same as a modern size 6. Crazy, right!?

I worked in a vintage clothing store and saw this on a daily basis too. Customers who wore a modern size 12 would try to squeeze into a vintage size 12 and would end up damaging the garment. Also back in the 1950s ladies wore foundations like girdles to suck them in---but that’s an article for another day. What’s a girl to do?

Take into consideration these factors:

Fabric. Does it stretch? The advantage of retro clothing compared to vintage clothing is spandex and lycra. Two fibers that didn’t exist back in the day. They are made to accommodate areas that might be a little bigger than others and allow you to eat that banana split. They make the clothes breathable, comfortable and less restricting.

Cut of the style. If you know you have a big butt (like me) go for a fit and flare style dress. The hip measurement on this kind of dress is usually open and can fit a curvy rear. If you are gifted with large hooters than look for a top that is stretchy or adjustable.

Size. Sometimes all you need to do is go up or down in size to get a better fit. Don’t be afraid of this. Remember there is NO standardization in sizes. Wouldn’t you rather have an item that you love fit better than being stuck in the mindset of "well this isn’t the size I wear"?

Brand. Keep in mind within brands sizing does vary, however sometimes you can get a general idea of how it runs. Some brands in general run big and some run small.

With women, sizing can be so emotional, when it really shouldn’t be. Don’t panic about shopping online and please, please don’t get down about your size. That’s the last thing I want you to do. I want you to look good and feel good about yourself. In order to do this you have to be honest about the measurements you wear.

I measure the women’s clothes on the Cats Like Us website and post them right underneath the picture of the items on the website. I do this so that you can see what the general sizes mean in measurements and how they vary. I want you to use the size chart when stalking something on our website. If you need more specific measurements on an item, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you need shoulder measurements, skirt length, sleeve length, just email or call. I always strive to make buying clothes online as easy as possible plus I like to hear from our customers.

Here is an example of how different sizing can be:



We measure all the garments laying flat. So how do you find your measurements?

Step 1: Take a top that fits you well, lay it flat and measure it armpit to armpit, then double the measurement. This is your bust size. You can take this measurement and match it with our online measurements.

Step 2: The waist is usually about 6-8 inches below the armpit at the smallest point. Measure the smallest point and double it. This is your waist size.

Step 3: Hip measurement is about 5-8 inches below the waist at the largest point and then doubled. This is your hip measurement.

This is the exact same way we measure our clothes for online. For this reason you should be weary of buying from stores that do not list measurements—you are taking an awful gamble.

Take your largest measurement and match it with the size listed for the garment. That’s the size you should get. If it is too big in one area, you can always have it taken in. It’s usually much harder to have a garment let out, simply because you can’t add fabric where there isn’t any.

If you’re still really unsure, you can always email or call us for other measurements, or if you can buy multiple sizes and keep the one that fits the best.

In conclusion, maybe someday women’s clothing can be standardized like men’s clothes are with a waist size, but until then, check your measurements! It always makes me uneasy when we get an order for three dresses that are a size small with completely different measurements. I want to call the customer up and say, "Hey are these all for you? Did you even read the size chart?" but I can’t do that, they may be buying for their sister or friend. It is your responsibility to look at the size charts. It will save time and money in the long run.

Shop smart and embrace your curves or lack of!!
Julie Ann

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