Since 1927, women’s clothing sizes in the U.S. have been controversial, but it wasn’t until the 1940’s that the federal government tried to standardize them.
They tasked the Works Progress Administration to conduct a study on the average American female body during World War II to fill the void of a standardized women’s sizing chart.
While conducting this “study,” it was assumed that for ready-made clothing a women’s bust would directly correlate to their bodily proportions. This assumption was made because in 1812 military uniforms were ready-made based on a single measurement: the chest. The endeavor to create a standard size for women ultimately failed and left retailers to determine their own size parameters.
In today’s market, you have junior sizes XXS-XL or 0-17 and women’s clothing sizes XXXS-3XL or 000 all the way to 26W, occasionally larger. This type of sizing does not include plus-size stores that have their own size chart, like Torrid where 0 equals large and 4 equals 4XL. Or stores like Brandy Melville that have a one-size-fits-all “chart” that includes XS/S, Small or, S/M.
At most stores, if you are sizes 00 – 12 there will typically be a size for you. If you are larger than a 12, you’re out of luck. Stores often do not stock sizes 14 and up. Or, when they do, these rare sizes are only at one location and you need to hunt around to get it. Most of the time, you have to order your size online.
A similar problem occurs with models. In 2018 a runway model is a size 0-4 and if you are larger than said sizes you shouldn’t look at the model and expect the clothes to fit in a similar fashion.
The same does not hold true for “plus size” models: a standard plus-size model is a size 8 yet most plus-size clothing starts at 14 or 16. If you do the math, a plus size is on-average half that of an actual plus-size women. Thus, women who are sizes 8 and 10 are the women who should be looking to these models for reference as to sizing.