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What is Medium Sizing?

What is a Medium? No really what is it? Everyone knows what size they are when it comes to arbitrary labels … someone will tell you that they are always a medium (for example) no matter what brand or type of clothing they buy. The reality is far from that. Firstly a singular person has a preference for a certain style and closeness of fit they like, and they’ll also prefer not to buy a garment that is labelled a size larger even if it fits exactly the way they like (brands know that hence we have vanity sizing).

But do you know what most people don’t know? … they don’t actually know what their bust actually measures ... no really, I’m serious. They can tell you they’re a medium and a D cup, but they’ll have no idea exactly how many centimetres or inches that is!

Why is this a problem? Because they don’t know what they’re buying more often than not … and if the fit is wrong when they get the item, say, sent from online, then it’s the brands fault for incorrect labelling. But there is no such thing as a standard … even if the brand has size tables explaining that a medium is 94cm, the customer will generally not measure themselves and still buy using the arbitrary label.

Oh I don’t believe that Stuart, people aren’t that stupid! Sorry but this is the truth and I’ve always known it. I’ve seen people tell me what label they are so many times but very few could every tell me what actual measurement they were. Furthermore when we measured them they’d firstly appear shocked and tell me I’d measured wrongly, and when I’d tell them they were literally 2 arbitrary sizes larger in some brands their reaction was that the larger labels must be wrong.

Not all all. Arbitrary labels like small medium and large, or 8-10-12-14, are just that … the arbitrary whim of the brand. There is little to no uniformity between brands. About the only linear trend I see as a pattern maker is that a medium is slowly getting larger over time … meaning that either you stay the same label size as you get bigger with age, or, if you stay the same measurements as you age then your label size is slowly getting smaller … wow what a confidence boost for you to feel good and want to buy that piece of clothing.

It’s marketing and you fell for it. If brands sold clothing by actual real measurements then they couldn’t get a marketing advantage by lying to you. Most know that you won’t be bothered to send back a garment that’s the wrong size if you bought it online (less than 10% do). Most brands know you won’t actually measure yourselves and check their size tables (less that 15% do). They don’t care if you don’t buy from them again … they already made a sale and they’ll just target the next person.

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Medium Sizing Table


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