“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” – Oscar Wilde
So, it’s reasonably well documented that color-scheme trends (you’ve noticed how they all seem to change, in all stores, to roughly the same chroma set at roughly the same time, no?) are an entirely manufactured process. Which is pretty sadmaking, but not in the least surprising; fashion as a whole has never been about beauty or individuality, of course, and always about affluent conformity.
But it seems like whenever I’m thinking that it’s a crock, I’m out shopping with my wife, and I’m reminded of how much better guys have it. At least men’s clothes are sized by a real unit of measurement; I have no idea how this came about or why it’s permitted to continue, but the sizing of women’s clothing is just about one hundred percent bullshit.
It’s not a huge deal to me, probably because I don’t have to put up with it; to me it’s just one small part of the constant background hum of things that are totally appalling but seemingly everywhere. But still, it makes no sense at all! So just to make sure I’m clear on what I’m seeing, let me review what I think are the basic facts of the matter:
- Regardless of what you’re buying, sizes are only ever indicated with a single number.
- They’re only ever even numbers: if you’re too big for a 4 and too small for a 6, you’re out of luck, because 5 doesn’t exist. 0, 00 and 000 seem to exist, though the people who fit them might not.
- Those numbers don’t actually mean anything, and offer zero guarantee of a actual dimensions, even within stores or brand-identified clothing lines.
That last one is possibly the most crazymaking part of the whole thing. That men don’t know what to sizes to buy for women (“Do you think I should be this skinny? Do you really think I’m this fat?”) is a tired old joke, but as it stands, even if every single thing in some arbitrary woman’s closet says “6″ on the label, guy-with-closet-access is still screwed. That size 6 thing the guy brings home might fit like a circus tent or a tourniquet, and there’s no way to know. Keep the receipt.
And that’s before we even start talking about manufacturers arbitrarily gaming that system with things like vanity sizing, so that women can tell themselves that they’re still a size 4 as long as they shop at this store and not that one, and often pay more for worse fabrics just so they can claim that number as their own. Which is particularly insidious, considering how this stuff all seems to be a complete fabrication in the first place – you might as well be saying you fit a size blue, for all the merit those numbers have. “Are you looking for a size green, or would you feel better in a tungsten?”
Are women’s suits any better? I suspect that that the answer is no, and that it’s judgmental, fraudulent numerology like turtles, all the way. I understand that this is not the Way It Is in much of the world, too, so presumably there’s a market for reality-based sizing out there.
What the hell, ladies?