In which I totally ignore the entire ‘Obama wins Peace Prize’ thingy.

Seriously. I mean, the only rational response to that is "OK then! Apparently the rest of the world was even more traumatised by the Bush administration than we realised!". And many, many more articulate people have already raced to their computers to make that point and related ones today.

I figure a quick repost of an interesting discussion I’m having in another LJ thread, on a subject I can actually claim expertise in, would be more to the point. ‘Cause I have actually had this happen in a lot of cases where my profession comes up. I am a buyer’s assistant in a high-end womenswear buying office.

Yeah, I know, you can’t resist, can you? It’s either "Ooh, designer labels are so shallow/stupid/a ripoff!" or "Ooh, unrealistic sizing drives me nuts! The other day I was looking at a size 00, can you believe it…"

I generally bear this kind of stuff with a grin, as I happen to agree with both POVs to a certain extent. My method for dealing with the excess madness — one that is thankfully supported by my buyer — is just to relax and have fun with all the pretty clothes. Not to mention, I admit, the massively reality-challenged culture that surrounds them.

Me, I’m never gonna be in with the cool crowd. I’m a 175-lb. 38-year-old in an office-full of gorgeous kids, I am by default — and a certain native eccentricity — the fashion granny. That said, I’ve learned a lot about how to make myself look good these past five years; not just in terms of following the trends, but in choosing colours and styles that flatter…

…And, of course, ones that fit. Definitely picked up a few hints about those. So when asked "What is the deal with specific sizes for men and not women, anyway? There are just as many variations in men’s bodies as women’s!" I am fully prepared to respond…

*******************************

*grin* True, but there is also far more variation in female fashion.

[Disclaimer: The following discussion merely reflects present realities, and in no way should indicate agreement with or approval of those realities by the author. Thank you.]

 The original discrepancy arose in large part because men were the ones wearing uniforms on the job, in the military etc, so standardised sizing has until comparatively recently been a much bigger and more accepted part of their world. Standardised charts for women do exist of course, and I gather there is a movement afoot currently to use them across the genders/ages. But as long as women have (or are perceived as having) a more emotional, less rational investment in their clothing choices, so too will be their sizing irrational.

Put simply, sizing for women reflects body image. As long as you’re dealing in abstract numbers, you can make women feel however you want. You just lower the numbers, and hey presto! women feel like they’re beautiful and special in your clothes. Conversely, you can mess about with sizes for ‘above average’ women — saying 3X instead of XXXL, for instance — to help disguise the fact that they need them.

Within those various numbers you can further play around with form, function, fabrication etc., and heighten whatever the effect by hiding/minimising flaws, or enhancing/creating good points. Or just playing around with concepts generally, as on a canvas. Think about runway shows you’ve seen — it’s art, abstract art, with models simply being used as walky-talky clotheshangers for the designer’s ‘vision’. Standardising sizes would take you behind the curtain, so to speak, far too soon. 🙂

Besides which sizing, as I mentioned above, reflects label image and marketing. Yes, this is a pan-gender issue, but it’s much more directly reflective of physical perception in women; as we age, we are seen as wanting to hide more, as needing more ‘relaxed fits’, shall we say.
One label wants to be worn by hip teens; another, by their moms; still another by their grammas. All of these women may well share one or more general measurements, but if their mom can get into their Juicy tops, teens aren’t gonna buy, and if Gramma can get into them, both mom and grand-daughters will shudder as they pass the rack.

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