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Pant sizes, say what?!


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So, when people say waist size, what on earth are they talking about?

Who wears their pants at their waist?! and when you buy pants, is the number (34, 28, 32 whatever it is) mean the size of your waist? or the amount of fabric they have placed at the waist band of the pants?

And... what size in 28,34,32 etc. correlates with what size in 2,10,8 etc.? Is there any logic behind any of it?

I'm just curious because I went into a store the other day and none of their sizes made sense. I tried on one size in one cut and it was huge, and then went down a size in another cut they were a bit small.

Should I just conclude that designers make no sense?
Edited Apr 26 2007 07:02 by united2gether
Reason: moved to The Lounge forum
24 Replies (last)
Well... Lots of designers vary their size vastly.  I had a total rant about it lately. 

Best policy about clothing is "Always try it on before buying."  Jeans are especially hard to buy because of the Low rise, hipster, traditional waist, mid waist.  Yet they all measure at the same part of the pants to make a size.  :)  Many of us do feel your frustration though.
Designers make no sense is the best answer.

I know that a 4 is 27 inches in Lucky Jeans, because those are what I wear....other labels can run different and a 27 might be a 2 or a 6.
You just have to try them on until you find what fits you.
Yeah, but what part of you is that 27 inches representing?
I think the 27 inches is the size of your actual natural waist, even though the jeans don't come up that high. Regardless of the cut of the jeans, they are sized according to your waist measurment. They just assume that a person with X waist size will fit Y pants.

It doesnt make much sense one you think about it, huh.
That makes little to no sense.

I'm not a size 24 in pants.... crazy crazy crazy designers.
I totally agree agree with the crazy designers.  I work in retail and I suggest to everyone to try on you clothes before you purchase, because something such as color (black is always tighter) will throw off the size. 

One can never ever buy an identical pair of pants because it is impossible to recreate one.
I don't have any argument with the waist size of pants.  What I have a problem with is the length.  I used to be able to buy pants off the rack to fit my 5'4", average length legs.  Then I had to start buying petites because the average was too long.  Now the petites are at least 4" too long. 

What is wrong with clothing manufacturers that they can't produce clothes that fit real women?

By the way, I wore those low slung jeans back in the 70s.  They looked terrible then and they look terrible now.  I give them another couple of years before they die out and we're back to a more flattering style.  They don't look good on anyone, so don't kid yourselves.
Ohhhh clairelaine I soooo hear you...I'm 5-3 with a 27inch inseam...definitely short length...but even petites now need to be hemmed....  crop pants come to my ankles!  I give up!
Claire, me too, except I'm 5' and 26 inch inseam! It's so frustrating that the petite lengths have been lengthened. But the weird thing is I often fit better in a regular pant because I have a long torso so I need the extra length in the rise. Sigh...

I think it all depends on the manufacturer, but for example Jcrew uses 27-28-32-34 whatever for their jeans, similar to men's pants, and it's intended to be the actual size of the jean's waistband, wherever you want that to hit on you. I know this because I've got my eye on a pair of 27's that were too tight two months ago, but just right in the rise (whereas the 28's fit in the waist but were way too long in the rise and everywhere else), so maybe I should go back and see if they fit me now...

As for me, there's not a whole heck of a lot of difference between my "natural" waist, the waist-at-belly button, and my hip. When I get pants to fit my waist (either one), inevitably they are several inches to wide at the hips and thighs.

I've learned to just rely on skirts instead. :-)
i agree, i don't even understand all that. i usually buy the odd or even number size jeans, and the waist sizes completely baffle me. i don't even know what to look for. i have enough trouble finding out what i am in simple sizes.
i think they cut pants longer now because its the fashion. that slouchy over the shoe thing.

which...i am glad for as i am too short for a tall but too long legged for a regular.

really $$$ pants are left unhemmed. if you just window shop in a store that you shouldnt waste money on (gahh $$ clothing) you will find that a lot.

also..anyone notice as you lose weight....the same size will fit you butt...but the legs get longer because the thighs are shrinking...
i was totally confused on that one until i started doing measurements. ha haa

take them to a cleaners to have them hemmed. its not very $$$.
my grams @ 4'11'' had to do that with all her clothing.

it's times like these i'm glad i'm a dude.  32x32 is all i need to see for pants.
#13  
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Yeah, add me to the list of people who are too short for petite length :( Or, you know what's worse? When there ISN'T petite. One style I loved in AE *only* came in regular, so I had to get regular - which luckily aren't too long, for a change. But once, I was in Gap, and for the style I liked, they had 0-18 reg but in short length, only 4-18. WHAT?! I couldn't understand that logic at all. I mean, wouldn't you think 0-2 are the ones more likely to need a shorter leg?!
Speaking of really annoying pants sizes, how about Guess Jeans?

I was there today and I'm a size six normally, so one would think that equals=28, right?...nope I was anywhere from a 25 to a 28 and every single one of their pants fit differently...

very frusterating!
Hey, tall women are "real women" and have pants problems too! I am 5'9" -actually not super tall but most of my height is in my legs, and even though everyone seems to want long legs it can be very frustrating to try and buy pants. When I was a teenager (a while ago now) I could only wear guys' jeans, which didn't fit me well as I have hips! Long length, petite length etc just weren't available in New Zealand then and are still pretty rare. Now I live in Japan so the situation is even worse...

As people have been getting taller the leg lengths are getting longer so that finally in the last couple of years I can buy pants which don't end somewhere at the top of my ankles and look ridiculous. At least you shorter people can have the pants shortened- if the pants are already too short for you then it's too bad, you have to keep looking.

"Real women" come in all shapes and sizes remember, I have female friends who are over 6 feet tall.
Apsara - unfortunately, it's not always just a simple matter of hemming. Often longer pants are proportioned differently. For example I've had bootcut pants that, if hemmed, would destroy the vertical line of the bootcut completely.

Talontedgirl - someone once explained why this is. When clothing is mass-manufactured, they basically stack fabric and cut several pieces at once. When they do this, none of the pieces end up being exactly the same. Try it with a stack of paper, and you'll see what I mean. So it does pay to try on numerous pairs in the same size, because they will all be different, some looser (those that came from pieces on the top of the stack), some tighter (those that came from pieces on the bottom of the stack). Unfortunately I always get frustrated because they never have a lot in my size to choose from, because I'm not "average." They'll have maybe one or two size 2's, and a zillion size 8's and 10's because that size is more common and in higher demand.

My body is just so weird. I'm only 5feet tall, 26 inch inseam. But my torso is odd - I'm petite from shoulder to just below the chest, but regular size in my lower torso. So parts of me, particularly my rise, require a regular pant. But my thighs are quite thin so must regular pants are huge in the thighs and too baggy in the butt. Also even though my legs are stubby, my arms aren't petite length: I need petite length sweaters for the upper torso and shoulders, but they are usually too short for my arms!! Someone once gave me a petite coat that has elbow pads, and the pads hit above my elbows! Looks hilarious!

Bathing suits are also a challenge - I have a 60" measurement for one-piece bathing suits but all the size 4's and 6's are usually 58" inches, assuming a shorter torso.
jenmcc, my stepmother who is quite petite has the same complaint about hemming changing the cut of the trousers. I realise that, but I still think it's a bit easier if the pants are too long for you rather than the other way around, when you don't have any options at all. Thank goodness for Zara- if they didn't have shops in Japan I'd be doomed to above ankle pants! Maybe I can buy regular length and pretend they're capris...

I hear you about the upper body thing too. Although I have quite wide hips, I have a very small torso and not much in the way of boobs, but... hugely long arms to go with my legs! I very rarely find a long-sleeved top or jacket that has sleeves long enough for me- I have to push the sleeves up to my elbows so they don't look silly.

There is so much variation in body types that it's impossible for the manufacturers to suit everybody, we just have to do the best we can with the body type we've been given. Diversity is a wonderful thing...
Finding pants can be a bit of a challenge.  Here is how I understand pant sizes - and yes I know every make is different.

Junior stores and departments sell pants/bottoms in ODD numbers: 00, 0, 3, 5, 7 9, 11, 13, etc.

Regular stores sell pants/bottoms in EVEN numbers: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 10, 12, 14, etc. 

Jeans TYPICALLY come in waist measurements: 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, etc.  I correlate a 27/28 with a junior size 7 OR a regular size 8. 

For example, I wear a 9 juniors, an 8 or 6 regual, and a 28 or 29" jean.  This just means that I have to try on some things before I know they will fit, but its worth it.  I also find some stores the sizes run bigger, so a small will usually be too big.  I am 5'9" too and have long legs AND a long torso.  So I need longer tops and longer inseams.  But in tops, I need a small OR a size 4 jacket.  So I am 'mis-matched' in numbers but I think I look ok overall.

You never know, but if you try stuff on and concentrate on FIT then you will walk away with some great stuff.
I disagree that in jeans a 27 or 28 is a size 8. I wear a size 4 in ALL pants. And my jeans are a 27 or 28.
#20  
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I wear a 26in waist and a 33-35in leg

every1's making me feel like a lanky twat :(
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