We travel the world at jet speed. We’ve got used to do our shopping in Paris or Milan one day and in New York or Los Angeles next day. Shopping for clothes has become easy no matter if you are after some casual every day wear or looking for some exclusive pieces. However, there seems to be one little problem: clothing sizes differ too much. Size systems vary from country to country, from brand to brand.
Please, note that there is no international standard for men’s or women’s clothes sizing.
Although this might sound quite disappointing, do not be discouraged. People manage to buy their clothes and you could too! There are just some points to bear in mind while doing shopping abroad.
Here is what we have learned over the years:
First of all, you should know your size (in your country of origin) and your measurements. Once you know that you could always choose apparel that fits you perfectly. Clothes manufacturers still put those magic numbers on tags in centimeters or inches.
You should be “culturally aware”. Remember that standard S/M/L/XL sizes that we are all so used to may run a bit bigger or smaller depending on what country you shop in. For instance, clothing bought in China, Korea or Thailand tends to be a little shorter and generally smaller than its European counterpart. On the other hand, American size M could fit a person who usually wears size L.
Another phenomenon to consider is “vanity sizing”. Some manufacturers mark their clothes with smaller sizes to make it more appealing to buyers. That is the reason why the United States and some other countries have XXS and 00. Unfortunately, there is no way to find out about this beforehand. The only solution here is to try on an item of clothing in different sizes.
You should also remember what fit you prefer in clothes. If you like things to look oversize on you, you might opt for a bigger size. Vice versa, if you prefer a slim fit, shop for smaller sizes.
Last extra point: do not forget about shrinkage – some fabrics shrink after washing.
Luckily, today you could use a size converter to help you find the right size. Just keep in mind that every person is different; size charts and converters are merely your guides in the world of apparel.