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Clothing sizes

The meaning of «clothing sizes»

Clothing size refers to the label sizes used for garments sold off-the-shelf. There are a large number of standard sizing systems around the world for various garments, such as dresses, tops, skirts, and trousers. Made-to-order garments require measurements to be taken, but these do not need to be converted into national standard form.

There are three approaches for size-labelling of clothes:

Traditionally, clothes have been labelled using many different ad hoc size systems, which has resulted in varying sizing methods between different manufacturers made for different countries due to changing demographics and increasing rates of obesity, a phenomenon known as vanity sizing. This results in country-specific and vendor-specific labels incurring additional costs, and can make internet or mail order difficult. Some new standards for clothing sizes being developed are therefore based on body-dimensions, such as the EN 13402 "Size designation of clothes".

Before the invention of clothing sizes in the early 1800s, all clothing was made to fit individuals by either tailors or makers of clothing in their homes. Then garment makers noticed that the range of human body dimensions was relatively small. Therefore, sizes were based on:

However, because of the drape and ease of the fabric, not all measurements are required to obtain a well-fitting apparel in most styles.

There are several ISO standards for size designation of clothes, but most of them are being revised and replaced by one of the parts of ISO 8559 which closely resembles European Standard EN 13402:

The European Standards Organisation (CEN) produced a series of standards, prefixed with EN 13402:

BS 3666:1982, the standard for women's clothing, is rarely followed by manufacturers as it defines sizes in terms of hip and bust measurements only within a limited range. This has resulted in variations between manufacturers and a tendency towards vanity sizing.[1]

Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia still use the JUS (F.G0.001 1979, F.G0.002 1979, F.G0.003 1979) standards developed in the former Yugoslavia.[2] In addition to typical girth measurements clothing is also marked to identify which of 5 height bands: X-Short, Short, Medium, Tall, X-Tall, and body types: Slim, Normal, or Full, it is designed to fit.

There is no mandatory clothing size or labeling standard in the U.S, though a series of voluntary standards have been in place since the 1930s. The U.S. government, however, did attempt to establish a system for women's clothing in 1958 when the National Bureau of Standards published "Body Measurements for the Sizing of Women's Patterns and Apparel." The guidelines of the book was made a commercial standard and was even updated in 1970. But the guide was eventually degraded to a voluntary standard until it was abolished altogether in 1983.[3] Private organization ASTM International started to release its own recommended size carts in the 1990s.[4]

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