Are Clothes Sizes Getting Smaller?

Are clothes sizes getting smaller over time? Kiwi Sizing examines this curious trend to help clothing brands untangle sizing issues.
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Team Kiwi Sizing

Last updated on January 22, 2024

Are clothes sizes getting smaller? It often seems as though sizes are shrinking across the board, which can make it challenging for both the customers buying items and the businesses involved in the clothing industry. 

As an online clothing brand, meeting your customers’ expectations is of the utmost importance to foster loyalty and support a healthy bottom line. This is especially true when it comes to consistent clothing sizes, which can give confidence to customers seeking garments that not only fit well but also fit comfortably.

Size Charts and How Clothes Sizes Are Getting Smaller

Are Clothes Sizes Getting Smaller?

Many clothing brands utilize size charts to help customers select apparel. Size charts use a person’s bodily measurements and vary according to gender. For women, size charts take into account the following measurements:

  • Waist
  • Hips 
  • Bust

Men’s size charts use the following measurements:

  • Arms
  • Neck
  • Inseams

These measurements allow a clothing company to create sizes that meet the needs of its customers. However, remember that size charts are not completely uniform from retailer to retailer. That means a person may wear a smaller size when patronizing one clothing brand and require a bigger size when shopping with another. There’s also the matter of vanity sizing, which isn’t typically based on a person’s specific body dimensions. 

Understanding Vanity Sizing and Why Clothing Brands Use It

For those pondering if clothing sizes are getting smaller, vanity sizing seems to offer a definitive answer. Vanity sizing is when retailers label garments with a smaller size than they might traditionally receive. For instance, a pair of pants that might normally be size 14 can become a size 10, while a size 10 may now feature a label of size 8. 

Clothing brands use vanity sizes to boost the confidence of their customers, and brands hope increased confidence also increases loyalty in their business. If a person wears a smaller size at one store as compared to another, that person might be more inclined to shop at the former store. 

The real issue arises when consumers buy clothing online. While you can try on a garment when shopping in-store, you must wait to assess the fit of clothing ordered online. In this case, vanity sizing can prevent consumers from finding garments that actually fit them, which can result in a lot of inconvenient returns. 

What Can Online Clothing Brands Do to Avoid These Issues?

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Returning ill-fitting clothing frustrates customers, but it also costs your business money. According to a survey cited by Coresight Research, clothing brands typically spend up to 66% of a product’s total cost when processing returns. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to avoid the issue:

  • Install apparel size recommenders on your e-commerce site
  • Avoid vanity sizing in favor of true sizes based on relevant information
  • Invite customers to provide feedback on clothing sizes and their experiences
  • Provide guidance on how customers can take measurements to determine their size
  • Ensure easy access to customer service to address questions and concerns

With these steps, you can rest assured that your customers are able to find quality clothing that suits their specific body types. 

Technology Can Address the Problem of Clothes Sizes Getting Smaller

Kiwi Sizing understands the challenges online retailers face when it comes to customer concerns about clothing sizes getting smaller. That’s why we offer smart tools to provide your customers with a stress-free shopping experience. Contact us today for more information. 

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