How to Find the Right Clothing Size
Finding trendy fashion online is easy. A few clicks on the keyboard, and you will find millions of options at your fingertips. But finding the sizes that make sense for you takes a little more time.
There are many different sizing methodologies. Each country has its own sizing chart, and keeping up with garment measurements can be cumbersome. There is no one-size women's size chart that fits all situations.
While the fashion industry tries to standardise sizes, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your clothing purchases will work for you. Knowing your body size and measurements is a good place to start. Then find a clothing company that offers staple pieces that suit your personal style.
And, finally, be aware of how their clothing is produced. If your goal is to support only sustainably sourced clothiers, do your research and find the brand that meets your goals for personal responsibility as well as fashion sense.
How Do I Know My Body Size?
Take a moment to take some measurements. For Girls, Tweens, and Boys, the measurements include height, chest, waist, and hips. For Ladies, measure the bust, waist, and hips. For Men, measurements include chest, collar, waist, and inside leg (or inseam).
Bust – measured just below the underarm
Waist – measured at the top edge of the waistband
Hip – measured at the widest point
Inseam – measured from crotch seam to hem edge
Pro Tip: Keep current measurements handy in a document on your computer desktop.
Is it Better to Size Up or Down in Clothes?
Always size up. Even sustainable materials like lyocell can shrink after a wash. An item of clothing is easier to take in than let out, so buying a size up ensures a better fit if any adjustments need to be made.
If your personal style leans more gender-neutral, sizing up will be ideal for you. Choose a brand that offers a season-less, mix-and-match collection made from sustainable materials, and you will have a successful fit every time. The flexibility of trendy, sustainable pieces creates a style that transcends the idea that you have to have new pieces in each season.
Tips for Finding the Right Size When Buying Clothes
Measure your favourite clothes
Know your key measurements
Take note of descriptive words used by the brand
If you have an outfit you love to wear, take the measurements of each item. This will provide a more accurate reflection of the fit you like versus the numbers on the measuring tape. Be sure to measure each item on a flat surface to get the most accurate measurements.
Update your key measurements regularly. If you have been putting in those extra steps, make sure you’re tracking those lower numbers. Been indulging your inner foodie and need some extra room? No problem. Just take note of new measurements and remember to size up.
Brands use descriptive words when describing their styles. Loose, relaxed fit, fitted, and boxy are a few examples. Online brands are trying to give you as much detail as possible, so it is important to pay attention to how they describe the fit and decide if that suits your personal style.
Clothing Size Calculator
Want some extra assistance in finding the right size for you? Try a clothes calculator. A sizing calculator can make taking and storing your measurements very easy.
When Sizing Up Meets Personal Style
Some of us like our layers. Starting with a foundational tank and layering on an oversized shirt or trendy blazer is a season-less style choice that works for men and women. When creating a layered look, a little extra room in the top layer is essential for comfort.
Ladies can pair an oversized blazer with a spaghetti vest and create an outfit with wardrobe staples that work for the daytime or an evening out. Wear with shorts for an oversized casual look, or add wide-leg pants to showcase sustainably produced fashion with a look that is uniquely you.
How to Find the Right Size Dress Shirt for Men
A sharp-dressed man walks with a high level of confidence. A man wearing trendy, environmentally aware designs that fit well can look good and feel good about his style. Finding the right dress shirt is as easy as keeping good measurements of your collar, chest, and sleeve length.
For the best fit with a casual shirt or T-shirt, the easiest way of getting it done is to measure the best-fitting shirt you have in your wardrobe right now. Body measurements are different from measuring an existing shirt so remember to allow for a little shrinkage, even with sustainable materials.
How to Find the Right Pant Size for Men
You can find the proper fit for men’s pants by getting proper measurements of the waist and inseam. At the waist, measure around the waist just over the hipbone. For the inseam, measure from the crotch to the top of the foot. If measurements fall between sizes, order the larger size. Always measure with the tape measure pulled snug but not too tight.
How to Find the Right Dress Size for Women
When women look good, they feel good. This is especially true when wearing responsibly sourced fashion that fits just right in all the right places. Measurements for a dress include the standard bust-waist-hips numbers, but also consider the length of the dress. Short dress lengths can be tricky because they must consider the length of the dress when sitting down.
Pro-tip: Midi dresses are not only trendy but ultra-soft and comfortable.
How to Find the Right Pant Size for Women
Finding the perfect pair of pants is all about knowing your numbers. The two most important measurements for women’s pants are waist and leg length (or inseam). Because sizing varies between brands, this is another great opportunity to take notes on your favourite pair of pants. Lay them out on a flat surface to get the exact measurements of what makes the right pant size for you.
How to Find the Right Shirt Size for Women
When taking measurements for the right size shirt, it is important to be relaxed and not hold your breath. Take a measurement of your bust over the fullest part of the bust. Measure your waist at your natural waistline, which is the narrowest part of your torso. Including a sleeve measurement is also important, as the length of your sleeve can impact the comfort of the shirt for you. It is best to let someone else measure the sleeve.
Pro-tip: Take the measurements of a favourite shirt already in your wardrobe.
Fashion Challenges for Gen Z and Gen Alpha
Clothing the next cohort of fashion-forward individuals will present a new set of challenges. Gen Alpha, born beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2025, is expected to lean into multiculturalism and veer away from gender norms. Their clothing preferences will continue in the path of Gen Z (1995-2010/12), placing an emphasis on comfort over a put-together look, and will emphasise body-positive images.
Gen Z and Gen Alpha Style Preferences
What feels right
Additionally, these generations will place a high value on sustainability and responsibly produced fashion. They will grow up on technology and bid farewell to the notion of “pink” and “blue.” Influenced by global movements, these generations will be focused on “empowerment through empathy,” which includes emphasizsng the green movement in every area of their lives.
Sizing Up is Gen Z’s Answer to Gender Neutral Style
Gen Z leans towards a fluid look that eliminates the traditional stereotypes of what each gender “should” wear. The ultimate gender-neutral look is to pair oversized pieces with foundation staples that reflect a personal style that just feels right. Gen Z isn’t making fashion choices to look pulled together. Rather, they have style preferences that support sustainably produced designs and champion environmentally aware fashion.
Oversized Options for Girls
This generation and Gen Alpha will favor an oversized T-shirt with shorts over a well-fitting button-down shirt. They are more likely to style a Basic Tee with Bermuda shorts as a low-key, casual choice that will work for both boys and girls. Gen Alpha continues to disrupt traditional male-female fashion norms, and their parents are perfectly happy to encourage their expression of personal style.
And thanks to their commitment to green materials and sustainably produced clothing, these younger generations are calling attention to global issues on Earth-friendly production and reducing waste in a big way. These generations have been making waves since they hit the scene. The difference they will make for this planet has its roots in the green movement and sustainable products.
Sizing Presents a Problem for Gens Z and Alpha
Not only are Gens Z and Alpha turning their backs on gender norms and traditional size labels, but they are also upending the sizing chart itself. These generations have set new sizing standards, which have fashion brands struggling to keep up.
For example, in Asian countries, each country has its own measuring system for children’s clothing. Some countries base sizing on height, some on age, and still others size based on if the product is for domestic use or export.
Traditionally, sizing for children has been based on size and age in most countries. The recent generations of children have changed the landscape of those measurements due to changes in size, shape, and stature. Lifestyle changes and an increase in obesity have also caused a shift in traditional measurement methods.
How Recent Generations Changed the Sizing Charts
The height and weight of the more recent generations of boys and girls are challenging the norms from previous studies. While the height of a 10-year-old boy in 2018 remained consistent with measurements in 2002, the average weight increased by ten pounds. Compared to the average 14-year-old boy, whose height can range from 5’0” to 5’9.” Inseam sizing alone can present an ongoing challenge to keeping up with boys’ growth and personal style.
Parents solve the sizing problems by purchasing larger clothes. Or several sizes of the same item, which has created an unsustainable return practice. The fashion industry is being forced to address the sizing issue and how it impacts the shopping practices of today’s parents for tweens and teens. The shifting size, shape, and stature of Gen Z and beyond demand changes to the traditional idea of what size a child of a certain age “should” be.
Sizing Charts Can Be Brand-Specific
Nobody wants to be boxed into any specific size label or traditional sizing system. Keeping a versatile wardrobe filled with sustainable pieces means finding the brand that works best for you. Pay special attention to the sizing guide for each online brand and compare their guide to your measurements.
When sustainable style is important to you, you can lean into pieces that fit you well rather than worrying about sizing that has historically boxed us into size categories of small, medium, and large. You are more than that and deserve a brand that recognises a more fluid system of sizing. Wear what feels good and meets your ethical goals of sustainability.
Be Aware of the Return Policy
Each year, 5 billion pounds of waste is created from returns alone. The system (or lack thereof) of returning retail goods is a global problem. Large retailers don’t have a system that sorts out the returns for items ordered that didn’t fit from items returned for defects such as a rip or tear in the fabric. Some returns go to discount stores, but many get loaded on a truck bound for the local dump.
One of the many benefits of working with a retailer that prioritises sustainably produced designs is that you can feel comfortable with their sense of responsibility to the environment. Research their return policy. In some cases, you must pay for the return shipping, so depending on the cost of the item, it may be more environmentally sound to donate the ill-fitting item to a local thrift store or donation station. Sizing errors can often be avoided by closely following the sizing charts and establishing loyalty to a brand that is in line with both your personal style and sustainability goals.
Author: Moose May