The sizing industry for women’s plus size clothing has all of us confused.  It seems each plus size clothing store online has their own size chart.  Why? It’s because when our government first began standardization for women’s sizing it was based on men’s military uniforms.  The pattern makers just adjusted the chest area.  Then in the early part of the 20th Century mail order catalogs offered standard sizes.  The measurements were based on paid volunteers from low income families.  These women were not standard sizes but smaller in frame and lighter in mass, as compared to the average woman at the time.

It was after WWII, as the fashion houses were establishing themselves in Paris and New York another set of measurements were established.  Again the larger sized women was ignored and the slimmer ladies won the charts.  Too bad because this would have been a good time to start a true fit for women.  Plus size women would have had a history and sizing could have become standardized for the larger size apparel.

Lane Bryant did conduct a sizing survey in the latter part of the 1980’s.  It attempted to capture women across USA.  Can you imaging trucking across from New York to LA with a measuring tape?  The reasoning for their size chart was not shared with the public officially.  They introduced fit and started to cut and sew.  However, it did not take in account all women from all walks of life and weight.  But then one company cannot be everything.  Therefore, other women’s plus size clothing online stores have surfaced in between their gaps.  Making it Big tends to highlight super size up to 6x.  In addition, to that they sell tops with sleeves for women with very wide arm muscles.  Generous Fashions’ back shoulder measurement takes into account that some women are a bit thicker at that location.  They did a study that a good percentage of larger women need more room there to stretch and move.  Then there is Big On Batik who exploded on the plus size clothing scene prior to 2006 with big dresses that added extra stretch at the hips.  They realized women are often between sizes and need the give and take.

What it all comes down to is this.  You have to read each companies size chart.  Do not guess or do some wishful thinking.  It will bleed your pocket book.  Know your measurements or at least your chest, hip and the length you prefer to wear.  Then compare notes and purchase.

Have you found any particular online store that has your fit?