People tend to love math because it’s truth is absolute and permanent. 1×1 is always 1. 2 + 2 is always 4. However, when it comes to the world of women’s fashion, tried and true mathematical principles fall to the wayside. A Target 4 is more like an H&M 6, and a Free People 12. This is the non logic that women consistently go through just to buy a pair of pants.
Megan Perkins (@justablusmom) created a Tiktok video to reveal just how much of a minefield the retail sizing systems are, and hopefully it will encourage women to just STOP letting arbitrary numbers determine their self image, or, as Megan put in her video’s caption: “Don’t judge your body by the number on the label.”
Don’t judge your body by the number on the label. #womensfashion #bodypositivity #itsjustanumber
In the video, Megan took four pairs of size 14 jeans, “different styles, all button fly,” from Old Navy, which were placed neatly on top of one another. As she pans to the left, the discrepancy between sizes is…apparent, to say the least.
Noting in the video that she’s only “talking about waist sizes,” she began differentiating how each pant fit. One was huge, one fit perfectly, another a little snug, and the top couldn’t fit over her hips. The on-screen text aptly read: “it’s not you, it’s them.”
Megan’s video began with “and this is why women hate their bodies.” And she’s not wrong. It’s already been documented how the radical sizing difference can negatively impact body image, especially, teenage girls who think that their fat because suddenly they went up a dress size. I mean, really, how can size 4 be the universally accepted “ideal size” promoted by magazines and clothing brand companies if we can’t even agree on what a size 4 really is?
Even if it doesn’t affect your self esteem, man-oh-man is a nuisance. As someone who somehow ranges between a 2 and an 8 myself, I seriously am in awe of people who can buy jeans online. Several TikTok users wondered why we couldn’t incorporate the simple universal sizing the men’s clothing has.
“Meanwhile my husband can buy 36x34s at ANY store and they all fit.” one commenter astutely put.
Okay, okay, okay. The woman did say they were different styles, right? Could that have made some impact on the sizing? An Old Navy worker seemed to think so, claiming that “this isn’t a fair comparison. Those are different styles of jeans. They are designed to fit differently.”
That arguing point was given ANOTHER video by @justablusmom, this time with all the pants having the same rise and same cut. Think it really changed anything? Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
More jeans comparisons. #womensfashion #bodypositivity #itsjustanumber #doesthisclearitupforyou #stopit
In the follow up video, three pairs of identical pants were piled neatly onto one another, waistbands all aligned, same as before. Only this time, the sizes were 12, 14, and 16. How can this even be possible? I’m no math wiz, but even my right dominant brain can figure out that this doesn’t add up.
Even the jeggings didn’t align in size, and were, and Megan put, “at least two sizes difference.” This makes zero sense. Although I don’t feel comfortable using the word “zero” anymore. Does it even mean what I think it means?
One person commented that “The point is, it’s not just Old Navy, it’s all brands and it’s ridiculous! Regardless of style/fit, a size 14 should fit someone who’s a size 14.”
Another person wrote: “It’s not just Old Navy, it’s every store, and it’s shirts too!” Might I just add from personal experience that this includes bras as well. Perhaps this is the secret Victoria has been keeping…
Jokes aside, clothing brands definitely need to take the initiative to create more universal sizing, so that it doesn’t play crazy mind games for women and make them question their bodies (even more than they already do). But let’s not wait for them to start being a bit kinder to ourselves, whether we’re wearing our size large sweatpants, or our size small leggings. I mostly wear a nightgown these days, anyway.