November 27, 2007

A Man's Guide To Women's Clothing Sizes

It's the most wonderful time of the year--the time when loved ones set out to buy other loved ones presents. Throughout the years, as I've shopped in malls and spoken to dozens of other women, I've come to realize that there are just some things men don't understand about women's clothing. Therefore, I have written the following guide for men. Feel free to pass it along to the man in your life.

*Always ask your wife or girlfriend what her clothing sizes are. She should be able to give you a letter (S, M, L) and a number (6, 8, 10). I'll explain this in a minute.

* Women's clothing do not follow the same sizing as men's clothing. This is a fundamental fact that will not change.

*Women's clothing usually comes in sizes that are even numbers--2, 4, 6, 8, etc. The number itself has absolutely no meaning, beyond telling you what size the article is.

*Yes, there is a size 0. No, we probably don't wear it.

*The terms "XS, S, M, L, XL, 1XL," etc. are not standardized against the above numbers. Yes, we are aware this makes no sense. No, there is nothing we can do about it. Stop complaining. In general, you may use the following suggestions. Always check a sizing chart if one is available. In the event of conflicting information, choose the size that matches the number you have been given.
-XS = 0-2
-S = 4-6
-M = 8-10
-L = 12-14
-XL = 16 +
This is a guideline. There may be an overlap. Tread carefully.

*If an article is found in the "Juniors" section, put it back. These are for teenagers.

*The "Ladies" section is for average women. The "Womens" section is for larger women. The "Petites" section is for short women.

*Women's pants do not come in varying waist and length measurements. Use the number scale above. Pants are very personal--save your receipt.

*A PhD in mathematics will not help you figure out a bra size. A gift card is your best bet on that one.

*Yes, it is possible to need an XL shirt and XS pants (and vice-versa). If this happens, do not ask the woman "are you sure this is right?" She's sure. Just compliment her ample bosom and go buy what you've been told.

*Bathing suits? Don't bother. It's winter anyway.

*Cut matters. Women are shaped differently and the cut you think of as "flowing" may look like "walrus" when she gets it on. Check her closet. And while you're in there, take a look at the colors she likes too.

*Don't say things like, "I got you the X-Large because when I was looking at the Small I kept thinking, 'there's no way she'll fit into this.'" In fact, if you have misjudged the size, it's best to keep your mouth shut.

*When you're in a store, do not approach a random stranger and say, "You look like my wife's size--would this fit you?" That's creepy.

*When in doubt, a gift card is always lovely.

In summary, dear men, women love it when you've clearly made an effort. Feel free to ask your woman for her proper clothing sizes and be prepared to buy items that don't fit properly and not be offended if they need to be returned. In the end it's the thought that counts.

PS. I can assure you that my own husband is not guilty of these offenses. This is merely a public service announcement for other clueless men.

Posted by Shelby at November 27, 2007 01:17 PM

This is brilliant.

Posted by: Anita at December 3, 2007 11:43 AM
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