The phrase “jeans shopping” is liable to strike fear into many women’s hearts. You go into a jeans aisle, you might never come out again. There are so many different cuts and sizes, and the number labels seemingly don’t mean anything. That’s true for all of women’s clothing sizes, not just jeans.
Well, thanks to one Twitter user’s viral photo, you now know that the numbers game is not just in your head.
Chloe Martin, 18, posted a photo of six pairs of jeans laid on top of one another. She wrote, “Incase [sic] you’ve ever wondered why women get so frustrated with our clothing sizes — every pair of jeans pictured, is a size 12.”
The six pairs of pants are noticeably different in size. Like, several inches different. They can’t possibly all be the same size, and yet they are. It’s like a cruel joke!
Chloe’s tweet has almost 300,000 likes and counting, because this is a problem that most women deeply relate to.
Shopping for women’s jeans is THE WORST. Just ask any woman you know. Even the thought of going shopping for new jeans is daunting and stressful.
The problem is that women’s clothing sizes are absolute nonsense. The size labels don’t mean much, because there aren’t standard measurements for the same sizes across brands. A size 2 at H&M could be completely different from a size 2 at Macy’s.
“Customers aren’t imagining the variation that exists in sizing,” Jessica Murphy, cofounder of True Fit, told Today in 2016.
Jessica says there used to be a standard in sizing, but then the market became more brand-centric, and each brand developed its own sizing system. Thus the chaos that we have today.
At this point, there are sometimes sizing inconsistencies even within the same brand or store.
The problem is especially frustrating when it comes to jeans, because jeans have to fit in a very specific way to be comfortable and wearable. Most women must wear multiple different sizes of jeans across brands and styles, so finding a new pair is an exercise in blind faith and lots of fitting room visits.
But even though we all know the inconsistency is there, it’s rare that you see it quite this clearly.
Twitter user Chloe Martin posted a photo of six pairs of jeans laid on top of each other. They’re all size 12 — but they have wildly different measurements.
What even is a size 12? Is there such a thing?
Chloe had bought the jeans without trying them on first; they were all size 12, so she figured they’d all fit reasonably well. Newsflash: They didn’t. One pair wouldn’t even fit over one of her legs.
When Chloe posted the photo, she thought just her friends would see it. She had no idea so many people would relate!
Chloe says she understands why brands mislabel their clothing sizes. It’s called “vanity sizing,” and it’s the reason why a size 8 dress today is about the same as a size 16 dress in 1958.
“If you go into a shop and you buy a size 10 pair of jeans that fit, you’re going to want to keep going there instead of the shop down the street that you are a size 14 in,” Chloe said. “However, it’s very frustrating when you’re a different size in each shop.”
The sizing issue is much worse with women’s clothing than with men’s. Men’s pants tend to be labeled by measurement rather than a size number, which makes so much more sense.
One Twitter user pointed out another source of variation, aside from purposeful vanity sizing: The fabric measurements can change depending on how many layers of fabric are cut at the same time.
One woman literally tried to start a petition to standardize women’s sizes, and WOW please, that would be a miracle.
Until then, size 8 women are in luck, according to one Twitter user’s experience.
The rest of us will continue looking and feeling ridiculous in dressing rooms.
If Chloe’s photo teaches us anything, it’s that we should give zero thought to which size we ultimately end up buying from the store.
Because sizes don’t. Mean. ANYTHING.