XXL = L The Market Is Expanding

By | January 15, 2014

This title is not an equation in Latin numerals.  It’s about the size of it.

Recently, we were in South East Asia.  While there we shopped for clothing and found the sizing of clothing to be quite different from North America.  Sure there were S-M-L-XL sizes.  But they all seemed to be at least one size too small.

This XL from Asia is smaller
than a North American L

What is medium or large in North America, is clearly an XL in Asia.  Have North American sizes crept downwards to allow people to deceive themselves on how overweight they actually are?  Is there some kind of conspiracy going on?

True, people in Southeast Asia, where we were, eat many veggies and have a far lower rate of obesity.  But why the difference in sizing?  Does the conspiracy extend to manufacturers wanting South East Asians to deceive themselves on how small they actually are?  Or does it go the other way.

In reality, North American egos are being accommodated in a period of ever growing obesity on customers.  None of us wants to feel defeated by an expanding girth. 

Here is some research done by a woman on the web:

I have in front of me a McCall’s dress pattern from 1968 (got it at a garage sale) that has these measurements.
A woman with the measurements 34-25-36 is a size 12.
A woman with the measurements 31-23-33 is a size 8.

I have in front of me a size chart from Victoria’s Secret from 1999.
A woman with the measurements 34-26-36 is a size 6.
A woman with the measurements 31-23-33 is a size 0.

I just visited (2010) the Ann Taylor website and looked at the size chart.
A woman with the measurements 34-26-36 is a size 4.
A woman with the measurements 31-23-33 is a size 00.

Marketing isn’t just coming up with products and advertising.  The creeping sizes are a way to competitively compliment your customers and serve them. Who wouldn’t want to feel more confident because she could wear a Size 4 compared to a Size 12.

As to whether the deception is on the part of the manufacturer, retailer or customer, that’s up to you to decide. 

I just know when I shop in some big stores the number of Smalls in a display is getting smaller and smaller and the number of Larges is getting larger and larger, as are the XLs, XXLs, XXXLs and even XXXXLs.

What is surprising is that most retailers charge the same price for the handkerchief sized t-shirt (XS) as they do for the t-shirt tent (XXXL) that can fit a family. Clearly not charging for the square inch.

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