woman wearing jeans, wrapping a measuring tape around her waist

Why The Women’s Size Chart is F*cked & How We Got Here

What’s the first thing you think of when you think about jeans shopping? For us, it’s trying on jeans at different stores that are all the “same size” but fit us completely. different. Or all the photos of retouched models in advertisements.

That’s why we try to remember that as long as we’re comfortable and confident in our clothes… the size really doesn’t matter (because that size at the next store might fit differently anyway!). 

And while we’re exhausted by the jeans shopping process (the entire reason Revelle exists is to fix this problem!), we find it easier to handle when we take a minute to recognize how we got here. When you see how the women’s size chart came to be, it’s no wonder there are wild inconsistencies (and a major lack of inclusivity that is just now beginning to be addressed).

How The Women’s Size Chart Came To Be

The history of the women’s size chart is an interesting, and frustrating, journey (to say the least). 

In the early 20th century, allll clothing was custom-made and there were no standardized sizes. Can you imagine having to go to a tailor for every single piece of clothing you owned? But during WWII, many women went to work in the factories… And what did they need? Uniforms.

As a result, the first standardized size charts were developed, with only three sizes available: small, medium, and large. This small first step helped make sure clothing was comfortable and fit properly (or at least as properly as possible with only three sizes). 

After the war, the women’s fashion industry expanded its production, marketing, and sizing. They started using the term “misses” to describe a certain range of sizes (read: smaller sizes only). This range became the new standard sizing for all women’s clothing. The problem? These sizes were based on measurements taken from a small sample group of women, so they weren’t an accurate representation of actual sizes that American women would need (obviously… cue our *eye roll*).

womens fashion ad 1

After many years of marketing only to the “misses,” the fashion industry began to realize that their current sizing model wasn’t working for all women. So, in the 1960s, some brands began carrying plus-size clothing. While this was a positive step forward, the plus-size items were often made using cheaper materials and there were far fewer designs available… Sending the message, loud and clear, that the fashion industry didn’t value larger women as much as their “average-sized” counterparts.

women's fashion ad 2

In the 1980s and 1990s, the fashion industry continued to focus on the “average” woman, which continued to make more and more women feel excluded and discriminated against because they couldn’t find clothing that fit them properly (or advertisements that represented their body shape, size, or color).

womens fashion ad 3

It wasn’t until recently that brands began making considerable efforts to offer inclusive sizing, feature diverse models, and stop retouching photographs. Read about some of our favorite body positive brands that are actively working to make women’s fashion a more inclusive place.

We know there is a longgg way to go before women’s sizing will accurately include all women (and become standardized across articles of clothing and brands), but we have a lot of hope that we’re heading in the right direction.

At Revelle, we believe that every woman’s body is beautiful and that everyone deserves to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. Our hope is that women are able to use Revelle to find jeans that make them feel comfortable and confident in their body (no changes necessary!)… regardless of the size on the tag!

Find Your Perfect Fit

At Revelle, we like to think of ourselves as jean experts. We know that a woman’s body isn’t defined by one body shape. That’s why we use our algorithm to find the best jeans for your individual proportions. So whether you order mom jeans, jeggings, or wide-leg jeans, you know they’ll fit the first time you try them on.

Simply answer a few questions about your proportions to gain access to a personalized, online jeans store filled with jeans just for you! We’ll even recommend which size to buy at checkout based on how each denim brand fits.

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