Does size really matter if I am a 16 and the skinny jeans I want are a 10?

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Answered by: Ellen, An Expert in the Fashion - Style Basics Category
Does size really matter? Well, we certainly THINK it does! In fact, we tend to get all hung up about it. You know that if you normally wear a size 12 dress and you try on a 16 that’s too tight…it’s a really, really BIG deal! You may even turn to chocolate to ease the pain of that dreadful moment when an evil zipper just wouldn’t budge.

But hold on! Before you grab that Hershey bar, you need to be aware that manufacturers’ sizing varies tremendously. For example, “Juicy Couture” shorts will not fit the same way “Ralph Lauren” shorts do. “Calvin Klein” skirts don’t fit like “Anne Klein” skirts (even though they share the same last name). So when you are shopping, it’s helpful to know if your favorite designers tend to run large or small. You may need to consider sizing “up” (larger) or “down” (smaller) when making your selections.

I generally encourage fashionistas to move “up” when they are in doubt about fit. That’s because it’s a heck of a lot easier to take clothing “in” than it is to let it “out”. The same holds true for hemlines. Long skirts can usually be shortened…but minis can’t be lengthened. Be cautious when purchasing items with “pointy” handkerchief, asymmetrical, fringed or lacy embroidered hems. If shortened, these pieces may lose the unique quality that makes them special.

It is also important to remember that “One Size fits All” … doesn’t.

So be sure to read the designer’s description carefully when purchasing items online. Review the Size Range (“These leggings fit ladies who wear 4-6-8 Jeans”), Weight Range (“Fits 125 -165 Pounds”) and specific Measurements.

How can you possibly make an informed decision without having the details?

Another fun fact: Imported merchandise doesn’t always fit the same way domestic merchandise does. This tends to be especially true with trendy, inexpensive, “disposable” fashion items. Size conversions differ greatly depending on the country the clothes originate from. In other words, if you buy an XXL top online from China (and you are expecting a 2X -16/18) you may be very disappointed when the item you receive is only about a size 12.

One of the best ways to minimize sizing issues is to purchase clothes made with spandex that feature pull-on styling. I don’t know who invented spandex (a/k/a elastine) but he/she deserves a Nobel Prize! It is this “magical” super stretchy fabric that allows teeny-tiny, itty-bitty shorts to accommodate a great big booty! The higher the percentage of spandex, the more “give” an item will have and the greater the possibility it will work for you. Even pieces that are very fitted (such as jean jackets) usually have spandex added for a more comfortable, polished look. You will find that many of today’s high-end designers utilize spandex on a regular basis in their collections.

So keep in mind that, like age and weight, size is just a number. One that can sometimes be a bit deceptive. Use it as a guide when selecting clothes, but consider other factors as well, because what REALLY matters is FIT.

It’s perfectly OK if you are a 10 and that stunning “little black dress” is a 14. Does size really matter? NO!

If it looks absolutely fabulous when you try it on, buy it in every color and simply cut out the tags.

You (and your sales associate) are the only ones who will ever know!

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