Industry, News — November 19, 2014 at 5:01 am

What is an ‘Average Bra Size?’ (And Why Does It Mean Nothing Ever Fits You?)

by

Today’s guest post is by Catherine Clavering of Kiss Me Deadly. For more on stats and bra fit (and why you can’t trust every press release you read), check out one of her earlier articles for TLA: “Bra Fit Science: Why Sampling Methods Matter for Lingerie Research.

catherine kiss me deadly

Stand back everyone, we’re about to commit MATHS (Or MATH, if you’re in the USA).

I know this is a lingerie blog and usually quite arty, but sometimes we need to talk numbers. Sadly, many people are allergic to numbers, possibly due to horrible teachers, terrible cultural expectations, or just sheer boredom.

This is an unfortunate situation since mass manufacturing – the method of production that has brought the price of clothing and undergarments down so much in the last century or so – relies heavily on a good understanding of numbers. Specifically, it relies on statistics, a word that tends to make people flinch and sometimes even cry.

When you get taught stats, it’s all cards and coin tosses and fish, rather than anything you might need a in a career outside of a casino that serves seafood. This means most people fail to pick up anything useful, and then get into some major misunderstandings. How do these affect the lingerie industry? Let’s start with one of the most popular statements.

Kiss Me Deadly Alouette in Red - 2006

“The average dress size is a US18/UK14 so why isn’t every lingerie company a plus size company?”

Cora and I see variations on this comment all the time. It stems from serious confusion about what averages are.

If, like most people, you didn’t really follow the whole “means, medians, and modes” section at school, then this next thing Will Blow Your Mind.

The average is NOT the same thing the size most people wear.

Yes, I know that sounds wrong, but let me lead you through it via the grisly medium of fingers.

Imagine you make gloves. Would you make gloves for people with hands that had 4 fingers and a thumb on each? Yes? OK, but the average number of fingers and thumbs is actually less than that.

Some people get born with extra fingers and some with less, but it’s much more common for people to lose their fingers and thumbs to accident or illness. So the average number of fingers is less than 5.

Similarly, bras are usually made for people with 2 breasts. You don’t really see anyone with more than 2, but you do get plenty of people with less than 2. Yet it wouldn’t make any sense to produce bras with 1.85 cups just because that’s the average.

This is because, when you do an average, its an “arithmetic mean.” In other words, we take all the people, add up the total number of fingers, and then divide all the fingers by the number of people.

The problem with this is it gets skewed – pulled upwards or downwards by people who are unusual. The technical term for this is “statistical outlier.” This is how you can end up having an average size that isn’t the size most people wear. Size is notoriously skewed, so that the most often worn size is almost always less than the arithmetic mean average (wages also follow this pattern).

What you want in products is the thing that the most people can use, which means going for the mode – the most frequent value. Here’s a graph of UK dress sizes from KMD fans.

kiss me deadly dress sizes

You can see that even though yes, the average UK dress size is a 16, the most frequently worn size amongst KMD fans is a UK 10. Which brings us to the next topic:

How Your Customer Group Affects Averages and Sizes.

The “average dress size” includes everyone from about age 18 to 100 and whatever. But even my extremely cool grandma isn’t out buying fashionable undergarments (though she does appreciate a nice sparkly applique on a jumper). So if you’re making lingerie, you probably want to size it around what’s most commonly worn by women in the age range who buy from you.

Most companies won’t release that sort of data, so here’s ours. KMD has a pretty good spread of fans, from under 18 to over 80, but the people who actually buy regularly from us at full price (look, someone has to pay the bills… so fond as I am of the students buying on sale, I’m also basically waiting for you to grow up and get better jobs) are about 25-40.

Kiss Me Deadly Vargas - 2007

As far as I can tell, given commercial secrecy, that age range of magic full price buyers is pretty typical. For cheaper brands, it can be more like 18-30. For mastectomy brands, we’re talking 50+. As each decade passes, our bodies change, and generations as a whole often differ considerably (generally speaking, people get taller….by the time I die my 5’1 stature will be very peculiar indeed). All of these factors are taken into account when brands decide on a sizing range.

Customer group sizing needs also change by area. There’s considerable variation even within Europe (we need to do taller garments for the Northern Europeans, the Netherlands and Germany – particularly longer bra straps), and we can’t sell anything in China or Japan because everything we make is enormous by their standards.

So, back to the technical terms. The arithmetic mean is what most people do when asked for an average. The median is the middle (i.e. 50% of people are above, 50% below). The most frequent value is the mode. The mean is the average of all the numbers. It’s the most affected by skew.

And that is why brands don’t make for an average dress size – they make for the mode of dress sizes for their customer group.

How do averages and bra sizes play out?

A.k.a. “The average bra size is X so every company should automatically make this size/debut with this size/purchase more of this size!”

I started writing this a few months ago and got completely stuck on bra sizes. That’s because you can’t DO an average bra size.

Bra sizes are not sensible. Your cup size depends on your back size, so the same volume cup has a different label depending on what back size it’s stuck on. Under these circumstances, how is anyone claiming to make an average? Do they add up all the back sizes and then divide them, then do the same to the cup sizes? Cup sizes aren’t even a number, so how does that work? Also, that ignores the fact that they are related. Perhaps they average out the underbust and overbust measurements of women, and then work it out from them, but with half the UK using the +4 method and the other half using the +0 method, which are they using to do a theoretical average from? ARGH!

I am genuinely baffled. I strongly suspect that all the average bra sizes statistics are basically total rubbish. And that’s before we get into the fact that there’s even less consistency about what counts as a 34 band than what a UK size 16 really is. I’ve seen 34 bands with as much as 8 inches difference between them…and that’s in a garment that’s supposed to be much more technical about fit.

Kiss Me Deadly Van Mimi - 2008

So let’s ignore all of that. Let’s imagine I hid in under the sofa, and let’s imagine “the average bra size is 36DD” or whatever else you’ve heard.

Again, just because it’s the average doesn’t mean it’s the most commonly worn size. And it doesn’t mean it’s the size bought most often by your customer base. To make the most money, you want to find two things: 1) a range of sizes the factory is happy to make and 2) the range of sizes you can sell at full price the easiest.

So, even if the average is the most commonly worn bra size for a country, is this relevant to individual brands? How many brands really provide bras aimed at every single woman from age 18 to 100+ with every body type imaginable? Are the other commonly worn sizes grouped around that size or are they all over the place?

You see, most brands and retailers will start instead from a size base that they know covers a reasonable range of their main customers, based on criteria like age range, geography etc.

Even if your customer base is large, it might not make sense to cater to all of it. For example, if you have four customer groups, some core sized, some plus size, some petite, and some small back/full bust… which will you choose? Because doing ALL of them will cost you a bomb. You need four different patterns for each bra style you do, plus fittings and samples, plus you’d have to grade (and possibly make) all the sizes in between for the factories minimum amounts, even if actually you knew only three sizes would sell .

Or… you might know that (and this is a magic stats thing) that 70% of folk fit within the 12-15 core sizes, and that 30% are in the rest of the sizes, but those 30% are spread out across more like 30 sizes. Which of those 30 sizes are worth doing, if any? How many more people of those sizes can you get to buy from you? Then remember to factor in that people who are in those sizes stop looking, and they especially stop looking in brands that are known for doing core sizes.

This is why bra sizes basically give everyone a headache and are made of wrong. Seriously, the whole thing makes me employ rude words.

Hopefully, all of you can now see the difference between the mean (the average) and the mode (the most often) and how that affects things that are made in bulk. I can honestly promise that this is a valuable piece of learning, and that next time you inevitably try on something that doesn’t fit, you can blame it on skewed distributions and a mismatch of sample population and your tastes… rather than your body!

Ever done sizes stats before? Ever thought about them in relation to fashion? Let us know in the comments!

Original Content Provided by The Lingerie Addict

31 Comments

  1. TBonz says:

    November 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    All I know is that I’m too a bit too large (band-size) for most regular bras in stores and online but too small (cup-wise) for plus size. I’m mismatched. My mom is mismatched the other way and I know we’re not alone.
    So my bra buying is rather limited and I’m rather frustrated. Seems to me that most bra sales now are aimed at the young and small or women who are a small band and a large cup (like a 34 F or something similar).
    Online buying is hit or miss. With return fees and postage, I’ve found it to not be worth it.. Even when measured properly and buying what should be the right size at a company, more often than not, it doesn’t fit the way it should. So I’ve kind of given up.

    Reply

  2. TBonz says:

    November 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    All I know is that I’m too a bit too large (band-size) for most regular bras in stores and online but too small (cup-wise) for plus size. I’m mismatched. My mom is mismatched the other way and I know we’re not alone.
    So my bra buying is rather limited and I’m rather frustrated. Seems to me that most bra sales now are aimed at the young and small or women who are a small band and a large cup (like a 34 F or something similar).
    Online buying is hit or miss. With return fees and postage, I’ve found it to not be worth it.. Even when measured properly and buying what should be the right size at a company, more often than not, it doesn’t fit the way it should. So I’ve kind of given up.

    Reply

  3. TBonz says:

    November 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    All I know is that I’m too a bit too large (band-size) for most regular bras in stores and online but too small (cup-wise) for plus size. I’m mismatched. My mom is mismatched the other way and I know we’re not alone.
    So my bra buying is rather limited and I’m rather frustrated. Seems to me that most bra sales now are aimed at the young and small or women who are a small band and a large cup (like a 34 F or something similar).
    Online buying is hit or miss. With return fees and postage, I’ve found it to not be worth it.. Even when measured properly and buying what should be the right size at a company, more often than not, it doesn’t fit the way it should. So I’ve kind of given up.

    Reply

  4. Catherine says:

    November 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    It is frustrating 🙂 Have you taken a look at Curvy Couture? Or Ulla?

    Reply

  5. anon says:

    November 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    36% of Americans are clinically obese and 60% are considered overweight. I find it VERY hard to believe that 6 is the mode dress size in the US. It might be the most sold dress size, since we know smaller women buy more clothes than larger women, but no way is it the most common dress size.

    Reply

  6. Rebecca says:

    November 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    No one said 6 was the mode dress size for ALL WOMEN in America. 6 is the mode dress size for KMD CUSTOMERS. Kind of a big difference there.

    Reply

  7. Cora says:

    November 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Just as a quick note, Kiss Me Deadly is not a US company.

    Reply

  8. Amaryllis says:

    November 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    As Rebecca said – and also, KMD makes primarily for a UK market not an American one. The core statistics might be slightly different to the ones you’re quoting. But the article is all about why the national averages AREN’T what a brand makes most of, and why.

    Reply

  9. Catherine says:

    November 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    It’s hard to get an idea of what the mode for dress sizes in the USA is since; those figures are only available in the UK for a price. So, since most folk are opaque about their figures, all I can do is show you ours. The figures the size survey in the Uk release show and average UK dress size of around 16; our average would probably be a 12-14 – but our mode is a 10. That’s limited by a small sample, by our customers being skewed towards younger women, and our customers being predominantly British (who tend to be smaller than the average American). But all these limitations apply to large brands too – Victoria Secrets has 40% of the US market, but do they design for ALL women, or do they design for 18-30 year olds?
    I’m sorry that that wasn’t clear, as this is exactly the sort of issue I was trying to convey.

    Reply

  10. anonymous says:

    December 12, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Where did you get that statistic? It implies that only 4% of the US is at a healthy weight or is underweight, unless the 36% is included in the 60% (which isn’t clear). Also, obesity statistics are derived from BMI, which is highly unreliable in representing what kind of weight someone is carrying or how they’re carrying it. Not all women of the same height and weight will be the same.

    Reply

  11. Laura says:

    November 19, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I loved seeing this post! Outside of being generally interested in lingerie, I work for a company that deals with business intelligence so getting some insight into how KMD uses data to make better decisions for the company was great.

    Reply

  12. anon says:

    November 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Maybe I’m too much of nitpicker, but is misleading and I think sloppy to use data unrelated to your point to make your point. I took your point as: the mode size of women in the US/UK is actually much smaller than a size 14/16 because a few very large people are skewing the curve. Then you use a chart unrelated to the general population as evidence to prove your point.
    But i would guess that the mode size is actually probably is a 14/16 or much closer to that than a size 6. The most I take away from this is that manufacturers are loathe to make larger sizes because they don’t sell well. Which is fair enough I guess, but I still doubt that the mode size is very different from the average. (KMD customers not withstanding)

    Reply

  13. Catherine says:

    November 19, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I’d have loved to use a large scale survey data graph. There’s a really simple reason I could only use our data, and that’s the pure and simple reality that no-one else releases theirs. There are literally zero brands who release their size survey results.
    All the average figures released are part of press releases, usually from people who make their living selling the detailed data:http://www.size.org/
    I can tell you that when we’ve done surveys with multiple brands and larger numbers (up to about 800 people, which is not terrible), yes, you get a small percentage of people in the upper ranges who skew it. That’s not surprising, because it’s nigh on impossible to be an adult woman and be significantly smaller than about a UK6, maybe 4, before you die, whilst it’s perfectly possible to carry on living up to well past a size UK 26, so a skew naturally develops.
    Additionally, the mode size of a brands customers might very well differ enormously from the mean for a population as a whole – as you can see from KMD customers, who are, for example, skewed massively younger than the population as a whole. There’s no obvious reason why that would be true for just the KMD customer base and not fashion shoppers as a whole.

    Reply

  14. Catherine says:

    November 19, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I’d have loved to use a large scale survey data graph. There’s a really simple reason I could only use our data, and that’s the pure and simple reality that no-one else releases theirs. There are literally zero brands who release their size survey results.
    All the average figures released are part of press releases, usually from people who make their living selling the detailed data:http://www.size.org/
    I can tell you that when we’ve done surveys with multiple brands and larger numbers (up to about 800 people, which is not terrible), yes, you get a small percentage of people in the upper ranges who skew it. That’s not surprising, because it’s nigh on impossible to be an adult woman and be significantly smaller than about a UK6, maybe 4, before you die, whilst it’s perfectly possible to carry on living up to well past a size UK 26, so a skew naturally develops.
    Additionally, the mode size of a brands customers might very well differ enormously from the mean for a population as a whole – as you can see from KMD customers, who are, for example, skewed massively younger than the population as a whole. There’s no obvious reason why that would be true for just the KMD customer base and not fashion shoppers as a whole.

    Reply

  15. jessa says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Is TLA still an anti-body snark blog? Because you surely could think of a less offensive way to say that adult women are more likely to have significantly above average measurements than significantly below average measurements? Some people are short, some are fine-boned, some are just naturally very slim. Granted, there are less of them, but by no means are they all about to die.

    Reply

  16. anon says:

    November 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I know I’m being silly – but I DO understand statistics (I have degree in economics) and that outliers can skew the average vs. the mode. My point is that we don’t have any evidence that is really true in the case of average vs mode sizes (except for your small and not representative sample).

    Reply

  17. Catherine says:

    November 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I’m sorry, I really don’t know what to say – if you’ve decided that an absence of data means you can assume that it *should* be a more symmetrical distribution, this flies in the face of both the reality of the asymmetry of sizing possibilities (the distinct limit on the lower end of sizes) and would mean that pretty much every core size brand was doing something incredibly stupid. I’m also unclear as to why that would mean that the mode of each brands customer base is actually likely to be close to the national average for all women across all ages and groups, unless you think size is independent of class, ethnicity, age etc (it’s not, and there’s the some serious research on this, happily, though it generally hinges on concerns around obesity).
    On the upside, I tracked down a link for the minimal data sizeUk released for free here if it’s of interest:http://www.arts.ac.uk/media/arts/research/documents/SizeUK-Results-Full.pdf

    Reply

  18. Catherine says:

    November 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I’m sorry, I really don’t know what to say – if you’ve decided that an absence of data means you can assume that it *should* be a more symmetrical distribution, this flies in the face of both the reality of the asymmetry of sizing possibilities (the distinct limit on the lower end of sizes) and would mean that pretty much every core size brand was doing something incredibly stupid. I’m also unclear as to why that would mean that the mode of each brands customer base is actually likely to be close to the national average for all women across all ages and groups, unless you think size is independent of class, ethnicity, age etc (it’s not, and there’s the some serious research on this, happily, though it generally hinges on concerns around obesity).
    On the upside, I tracked down a link for the minimal data sizeUk released for free here if it’s of interest:http://www.arts.ac.uk/media/arts/research/documents/SizeUK-Results-Full.pdf

    Reply

  19. Rose says:

    November 20, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Thank you for such a clear and useful article! I found the example of KMD really helpful as an indicator of how brands’ own stats need not be expected to fit national norms. (And I’m forever weeping that I didn’t know about KMD until after the 2008 van Mimi. So, so gorgeous.)

    Reply

  20. L says:

    November 21, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Thank you for this article! It was an interesting read and I actually enjoyed the maths/stats involved.
    As someone who is an outlier as far as clothing/lingerie sizes go in the country I am in, I am so glad I know a bit about sewing and can simply tailor things to fit better.

    Reply

  21. Christina says:

    November 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Did you mean to insult half of your readers with your tone? You basically insulted everyone in each of the opening paragraphs. I can’t help but think that you wouldn’t have taken the same sardonic tone when writing for a men’s blog.

    Reply

  22. Catherine says:

    November 25, 2014 at 2:14 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever written for a mens blog, but I can sincerely assure you that I am very consistently sarcastic, and you’re absolutely right that it’s a marmite trait.
    I’ve spent far too long working in industries that think that being creative or being good with people means you can’t possibly be good with maths or IT . . . it sounds like you might have some experience of the frustrations of that notion 🙂

    Reply

  23. Catherine says:

    November 25, 2014 at 2:14 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever written for a mens blog, but I can sincerely assure you that I am very consistently sarcastic, and you’re absolutely right that it’s a marmite trait.
    I’ve spent far too long working in industries that think that being creative or being good with people means you can’t possibly be good with maths or IT . . . it sounds like you might have some experience of the frustrations of that notion 🙂

    Reply

  24. jessa says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:15 am

    “I’ve spent far too long working in industries that think that being creative or being good with people means you can’t possibly be good with maths or IT . . . it sounds like you might have some experience of the frustrations of that notion :)”
    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here, you’ve come across people who think it’s impossible to be both good with people and numbers, so you’ve decided to perpetuate that myth? It is possible to be sarcastic without being condescending. Also, it is well known that there is a correlation between musical and mathematical genius, so I don’t know where that business about creativity comes from.
    Quite aside from that, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make – regardless of statistics put out by PR, I think we are all aware that most people’s bodies do not adhere to any average standard – you might wear different sizes on top and on bottom, you might need the waist taken in, you might need trousers taken up, and so on. We are all aware that clothing is made to fit a body that the vast, vast majority of us, in one way or another, doesn’t have. That doesn’t require any knowledge of mean or mode. You go on to explain that this happens because it is the most profitable way for businesses to operate. Again, not much of a surprise, but also not much use to a consumer who simply does not and cannot, barring major surgery, have the body that would fit perfectly in a core size. We know we are not the “norm”, but it is really quite galling to read someone explaining that, as someone outside of the norm, your body will not be catered for, because of the bottom line (yes, we already knew that thanks), and then go on to lecture to people as to why the numbers completely justify that. Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works. There may be a case for explaining to the public exactly why sizes are produced in whatever quantities, but the tone of this article is completely inappropriate for any kind of educational purpose.
    Finally, this is a small point, but statistics is really not mathematics (apart from probability), it’s a science. Just because there are numbers in it does not make it maths.

    Reply

  25. jessa says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:15 am

    “I’ve spent far too long working in industries that think that being creative or being good with people means you can’t possibly be good with maths or IT . . . it sounds like you might have some experience of the frustrations of that notion :)”
    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here, you’ve come across people who think it’s impossible to be both good with people and numbers, so you’ve decided to perpetuate that myth? It is possible to be sarcastic without being condescending. Also, it is well known that there is a correlation between musical and mathematical genius, so I don’t know where that business about creativity comes from.
    Quite aside from that, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make – regardless of statistics put out by PR, I think we are all aware that most people’s bodies do not adhere to any average standard – you might wear different sizes on top and on bottom, you might need the waist taken in, you might need trousers taken up, and so on. We are all aware that clothing is made to fit a body that the vast, vast majority of us, in one way or another, doesn’t have. That doesn’t require any knowledge of mean or mode. You go on to explain that this happens because it is the most profitable way for businesses to operate. Again, not much of a surprise, but also not much use to a consumer who simply does not and cannot, barring major surgery, have the body that would fit perfectly in a core size. We know we are not the “norm”, but it is really quite galling to read someone explaining that, as someone outside of the norm, your body will not be catered for, because of the bottom line (yes, we already knew that thanks), and then go on to lecture to people as to why the numbers completely justify that. Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works. There may be a case for explaining to the public exactly why sizes are produced in whatever quantities, but the tone of this article is completely inappropriate for any kind of educational purpose.
    Finally, this is a small point, but statistics is really not mathematics (apart from probability), it’s a science. Just because there are numbers in it does not make it maths.

    Reply

  26. laurie van jonsson

    jessa says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:15 am

    “I’ve spent far too long working in industries that think that being creative or being good with people means you can’t possibly be good with maths or IT . . . it sounds like you might have some experience of the frustrations of that notion :)”
    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here, you’ve come across people who think it’s impossible to be both good with people and numbers, so you’ve decided to perpetuate that myth? It is possible to be sarcastic without being condescending. Also, it is well known that there is a correlation between musical and mathematical genius, so I don’t know where that business about creativity comes from.
    Quite aside from that, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make – regardless of statistics put out by PR, I think we are all aware that most people’s bodies do not adhere to any average standard – you might wear different sizes on top and on bottom, you might need the waist taken in, you might need trousers taken up, and so on. We are all aware that clothing is made to fit a body that the vast, vast majority of us, in one way or another, doesn’t have. That doesn’t require any knowledge of mean or mode. You go on to explain that this happens because it is the most profitable way for businesses to operate. Again, not much of a surprise, but also not much use to a consumer who simply does not and cannot, barring major surgery, have the body that would fit perfectly in a core size. We know we are not the “norm”, but it is really quite galling to read someone explaining that, as someone outside of the norm, your body will not be catered for, because of the bottom line (yes, we already knew that thanks), and then go on to lecture to people as to why the numbers completely justify that. Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works. There may be a case for explaining to the public exactly why sizes are produced in whatever quantities, but the tone of this article is completely inappropriate for any kind of educational purpose.
    Finally, this is a small point, but statistics is really not mathematics (apart from probability), it’s a science. Just because there are numbers in it does not make it maths.

    Reply

  27. jessa says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:15 am

    “I’ve spent far too long working in industries that think that being creative or being good with people means you can’t possibly be good with maths or IT . . . it sounds like you might have some experience of the frustrations of that notion :)”
    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here, you’ve come across people who think it’s impossible to be both good with people and numbers, so you’ve decided to perpetuate that myth? It is possible to be sarcastic without being condescending. Also, it is well known that there is a correlation between musical and mathematical genius, so I don’t know where that business about creativity comes from.
    Quite aside from that, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make – regardless of statistics put out by PR, I think we are all aware that most people’s bodies do not adhere to any average standard – you might wear different sizes on top and on bottom, you might need the waist taken in, you might need trousers taken up, and so on. We are all aware that clothing is made to fit a body that the vast, vast majority of us, in one way or another, doesn’t have. That doesn’t require any knowledge of mean or mode. You go on to explain that this happens because it is the most profitable way for businesses to operate. Again, not much of a surprise, but also not much use to a consumer who simply does not and cannot, barring major surgery, have the body that would fit perfectly in a core size. We know we are not the “norm”, but it is really quite galling to read someone explaining that, as someone outside of the norm, your body will not be catered for, because of the bottom line (yes, we already knew that thanks), and then go on to lecture to people as to why the numbers completely justify that. Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works. There may be a case for explaining to the public exactly why sizes are produced in whatever quantities, but the tone of this article is completely inappropriate for any kind of educational purpose.
    Finally, this is a small point, but statistics is really not mathematics (apart from probability), it’s a science. Just because there are numbers in it does not make it maths.

    Reply

  28. Cora says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:51 am

    “Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works.”
    I thought this was an interesting sentence and I hope you might expand it.
    Prior to the rise of mass production (which has kept clothing prices incredibly low…accounting for inflation, we spend far less on clothing now than people did even a generation ago) all clothing was made to order. Women who could sew would custom make a dress for themselves from a pattern, and women who could not or did not would go to a dressmaker or seamstress and have clothing made for them. Even when mass production became more popular, tailoring was the norm because people understood that expecting a custom fit from mass produced garments was unreasonable.
    In that way, you’re absolutely right that the clothing industry did not used to work the way it does now. However, for most people, sewing their own clothing or having all of their clothing made-to-order is not an option. With that said, when you mention that today’s clothing industry is not how things have to be, what alternatives do you have in mind? What other way do you think the fashion industry could work? I’m genuinely curious as several things have come together (customers’ obsession with low prices being one of them) in making things the way they are now.

    Reply

  29. Cora says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:51 am

    “Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works.”
    I thought this was an interesting sentence and I hope you might expand it.
    Prior to the rise of mass production (which has kept clothing prices incredibly low…accounting for inflation, we spend far less on clothing now than people did even a generation ago) all clothing was made to order. Women who could sew would custom make a dress for themselves from a pattern, and women who could not or did not would go to a dressmaker or seamstress and have clothing made for them. Even when mass production became more popular, tailoring was the norm because people understood that expecting a custom fit from mass produced garments was unreasonable.
    In that way, you’re absolutely right that the clothing industry did not used to work the way it does now. However, for most people, sewing their own clothing or having all of their clothing made-to-order is not an option. With that said, when you mention that today’s clothing industry is not how things have to be, what alternatives do you have in mind? What other way do you think the fashion industry could work? I’m genuinely curious as several things have come together (customers’ obsession with low prices being one of them) in making things the way they are now.

    Reply

  30. New Year, New Shape (AKA Bra Fit Hints and Tips) | A Little Pin Up Everyday

    Cora says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:51 am

    “Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works.”
    I thought this was an interesting sentence and I hope you might expand it.
    Prior to the rise of mass production (which has kept clothing prices incredibly low…accounting for inflation, we spend far less on clothing now than people did even a generation ago) all clothing was made to order. Women who could sew would custom make a dress for themselves from a pattern, and women who could not or did not would go to a dressmaker or seamstress and have clothing made for them. Even when mass production became more popular, tailoring was the norm because people understood that expecting a custom fit from mass produced garments was unreasonable.
    In that way, you’re absolutely right that the clothing industry did not used to work the way it does now. However, for most people, sewing their own clothing or having all of their clothing made-to-order is not an option. With that said, when you mention that today’s clothing industry is not how things have to be, what alternatives do you have in mind? What other way do you think the fashion industry could work? I’m genuinely curious as several things have come together (customers’ obsession with low prices being one of them) in making things the way they are now.

    Reply

  31. Cora says:

    November 27, 2014 at 7:51 am

    “Guess what? This is not how the clothing industry used to work. This is not how the clothing industry has to work. This is just how the clothing industry currently works.”
    I thought this was an interesting sentence and I hope you might expand it.
    Prior to the rise of mass production (which has kept clothing prices incredibly low…accounting for inflation, we spend far less on clothing now than people did even a generation ago) all clothing was made to order. Women who could sew would custom make a dress for themselves from a pattern, and women who could not or did not would go to a dressmaker or seamstress and have clothing made for them. Even when mass production became more popular, tailoring was the norm because people understood that expecting a custom fit from mass produced garments was unreasonable.
    In that way, you’re absolutely right that the clothing industry did not used to work the way it does now. However, for most people, sewing their own clothing or having all of their clothing made-to-order is not an option. With that said, when you mention that today’s clothing industry is not how things have to be, what alternatives do you have in mind? What other way do you think the fashion industry could work? I’m genuinely curious as several things have come together (customers’ obsession with low prices being one of them) in making things the way they are now.

    Reply

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