Okay, here are the cards.

by Erin on June 27, 2006

size card

That's what they say on the front; there's also a back template that says "Confused by this card? Visit http://www.dressaday.com". I'll put up a little explanation about it in the next couple days.

You can download the front here, and the back here. They're both PDF files.

You can use this template with most Avery brand business cards but don't get the "clean edge" versions as those do not print front and back. (Remember, to print front and back, you have to turn the sheet over and run it through again …)

Sorry I wasn't able to make these in Hebrew, as one commenter asked. (Although anyone can download the template from the Avery site.)

I spent a little time last night looking for citations about the average size of the American woman, retail information, etc. This article was the most easily accessible online and had the clearest citations for some of the most-repeated pieces of information, such as "Since 1985, the average American woman has grown from a size 8 to a size 14!” It's not a feminist-theory publication, either — it's a marketing trends report from USC.

I also found some fairly off-putting stuff, like two Rocky Mountain News columnists (talking about a law in Argentina requiring stores to stock a full range of sizes) saying "Those empanada-chomping suburban women will get no sympathy from size-zero supermodels."

And how about "It's hard enough to produce regular sizes well, without being compelled to cut for people who often do not have the discretionary income to buy my products anyway," left in the comments here? There seems to be a logical disconnect: if so many women are over a size 14, they can't all be poor … in fact, the CIA World Factbook says only 12% of Americans are below the poverty line. And although women are disproportionately poor, not every plus-size woman is. (The ones I know are desperate to buy stylish clothes that fit!)

The last thing I want this to be, though, is a sneering war between the larger and the smaller (I got a couple of "friendly" emails assuming that must be plus-size for caring about this and telling me that if I just lost weight, I could shop in "regular" again. Well, not exactly — I wear between an 8 and a 12, depending on the store, so most stores stock sizes I could theoretically wear. It's just that I've got almost a ten-inch differential between my waist and my hips, plus I'm short-waisted, which are both hard to fit. If I lost weight, I would have the same problem, only between sizes 6 and 10 and not 8 and 12.)

I know it can be just as hard for people on the 0-2 end of the spectrum to find clothes, plus there's not as much sympathy. ("You're so skinny, you can wear anything!" Well, no — not if the chest gapes, the sleeves billow, and the waistband falls off your hips!) And god forbid you are bigger than a C-cup and a small size. You might as well write away for the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog and be done with it.

So write your size (whether it's larger or smaller than what's in the store) on the back of the card if you use them. If you would have bought a particular thing, write something like "blue sundress, $100" too. Make it as real as possible. Turn that vague size-14 statistic into real money, and show them that money walking out of the store. The stores won't know that they're not serving your needs unless you tell them.

{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Courtney June 27, 2006 at 9:33 am

Good for you, Erin! I totally sympathize…I’m a size 6-8 but am a total pear – small on top and an almost 12″ differential between my waist and hips. I gave up shopping for dresses and one-piece bathing suits several years ago for skirts and two pieces that can be purchased separately.

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Laura June 27, 2006 at 9:46 am

Absolutely True! I wear a size 22, and consider myself lucky that I am proportional between my top and bottom, as many women (both large and small) are not. However, I find myself relagated to perpetually shopping in only two stores. I’ve recently made my first forays into making my own clothes, because I can never find anything ‘my style’ at those stores. More importantly, I’ve never been able to really find my own style, as I’ve always been plus-sized and have been at the mercy of those two stores changing trends year in and year out. I’ve often commented to friends that many stores would make sooo much money if they would expand their lines even a little to include larger sizes! Wonderful post. Love the Blog!

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 9:55 am

i love the spirit of this–unfortunately, if the cards are left in just big chains like forever 21 (where i always am squeezing into a L)–this will make no impact. letters or emails to the industry would be likely to have more of an effect, or to smaller designers like modaspia, since there is less of a bureaucracy to making decisions. otherwise you’re just giving cards to shop assistants probably making little more than minimum wage–there’s no connection to the people making decisions.i find “size” irrelevant over measurements, so articles talking about how american sizes or the sizes of american women very confusing–b/c they have to take into account how women’s sizing has changed, and usually they don’t. if they say the size of american women has changed from an 8 to a 14 over 20 years, well, the sizes themselves have changed too. have you done a post about that? i might have missed it in the archives.

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rowena___. June 27, 2006 at 9:58 am

erin, the cards are great, the only thing i’d change is that on the back, i would put the permalink to the post that started this. otherwise, if someone visits the site, they might just come up on a pretty dress and not understand the message.

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Laura June 27, 2006 at 10:01 am

Heh. I have a *fifteen* inch differential between waist and hip, and am short-waisted. I know the pain of the differential. :(On the plus side, through diligent research I have discovered how to locate dresses and pants that will fit me.Skirts are a loss, though.

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Notamermaid June 27, 2006 at 10:03 am

re: changes in sizes vs the change in size of the average women… sizes have “inflated” – eg, a current 4 or 6 is much more like a vintage 14 or 16 – while women have gotten bigger. Thus, if the article states that the average women has moved from an 8 to a 14, and they have not adjusted for the change in sizing, than the actual change in the average woman is even bigger than suggested by these numbers.

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Emily June 27, 2006 at 10:12 am

Erin, I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now and thanks to you I have just signed up for sewing lessons. I am 5’10″, with a 10″ differential between my hips and waist and an “F” cup chest. I wear anything between a 14 and an 18 — too narrow in the waist and back for plus sizes, too big around the hips and thighs for most “regular” stores – and too long in the leg for any of the above. I know exactly what Laura means about trying to “finding a style” when there is literally almost nowhere to shop. I have the most excellent collection of jewellery and shoes……..I love the cards and think that this is a great idea. If we are dealing with chain stores, I would encourage people to send them to regional managers. That might help make a difference.In the meantime, I am looking forward to having a full wardrobe of beautiful dresses sometime in the near future (I hope!).

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Jesse June 27, 2006 at 10:13 am

I especially love the wording on the card because it’s applicable across situations. Being a size 14 was often a pain in the ass for me, because “regular” stores didn’t have anything big enough, and “plus size” stores didn’t have anything small enough! @@

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Jenny June 27, 2006 at 10:20 am

I love this idea. I wanted a $250 dress from Cache, but they didn’t have a L or XL and were totally unwilling to call other locations to see if they did. Their reply was “they probably don’t have your size.” And I’m a size 10! They are SO getting one of these from me.

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 10:22 am

I love the idea of the cards! I will be passing this along to my sister who is large on the top, short waisted and has the hardest time finding anything, especially anything professional. Thanks for doing this! Your blog is great. :)

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 10:33 am

What a great idea….I am a size 8, and here in Denmark a lot of the local stores carry clothes, where I need a L or an XL – how ridiculous is that – OK fine, I could loose a couple of pounds, but I don’t think I am really overweight – if anybody does, they have been watching too many supermodels and read too many airbrushed magazines….However, I would like to add that it is not necessarily a “fat or not” issue – my fianc is 6.3 and can barely get pants that are long enough – which is ridiculous – ok, fine he’s tall, but he’s not freaky tall if you look at Scandinavian standards (and his fianc, me, who’s 5.3 has embarked on a crusade to tell all stores that they need to carry longer pants – can you imagine the look on the sales clerks’ faces when this little woman is telling them this???Henriette/Copenhagen

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 10:46 am

Size 10 is a L or XL? Size 12 is a Plus size? This is surreal.

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 10:50 am

Henriette–Lad os snakke om Kobenhavn. I’m 5′ 0″ and 116 lbs– short and hippy. Danes comes in one size– tall and skinny. It’s no good. I end up doing all my shopping back in the States.

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mimi June 27, 2006 at 11:00 am

i am a healthy, 5’7″, 140lb gal who has a 31″ waist and 43″ hips. yes, 43″ hips (big bubble butt – think j-lo). that has nothing to do with my weight and everything to do with my build. i can’t wear anything smaller than an 8, and that’s when it’s meant for curvy women. add to that a 32C bust, and i can NEVER find a good fit in ANYTHING. my top half is a 2 or 4, but bottom half is a 10 or 12. it *sucks*. i feel your pain. when i find something that actually fits, i buy 2 or 3 or in every color so i’m never without. and anyone that tells a healthy, curvy woman that she should loose weight should be smacked. repeatedly. with a rotten herring.

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Susan June 27, 2006 at 11:01 am

Short Waisted Women Unite! Now I know why I love the dresses you put up every day! We’ve got the same body shape and size.

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Carrie June 27, 2006 at 11:06 am

I agree with the third comment (anon) that leaving the cards with the staff at certain shops might not have a big impact. It could trickle up, but it might be more effective to target clothing manufacturers. I think the card would definitely work at smaller boutiques where owners hand select the merch and sizes they carry.I really like the addition of mentioning the item you would have bought and price. Those details turn a complaint into constructive criticism. Just my 2-cents.

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robbie June 27, 2006 at 11:12 am

do you think tube-tops will come back in style? I hope so!

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Lady K June 27, 2006 at 11:22 am

Those cards hould also be in French. I’m spending the summer in Paris and the sizing here is ridiculous. I spent three hours on the computer and found two stores here that carry sizes bigger than a 12. And I may not be rich but I will shell out top dollar for good clothes that fit. I’d rather buy a nice shirt than a baguette.

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Eugenie June 27, 2006 at 11:22 am

Erin, I love your site. I’m the one who wrote LOVE IN THE TIME OF TAFFETA and will be forever grateful to you for featuring the cover! I adore these business cards; they are SUCH a good idea. I have the same problem as you – crazy sizing standards in the stores always keeping me on my toes. Was shopping recently and in one afternoon, bought a size 8 top in one store and a 12 in another. WTF?

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Stephanie June 27, 2006 at 11:29 am

I’ve been lurking and reading back posts and this one made me want to comment. I don’t think the problem with finding clothes that fit have much to do with size (although I admit either end of the spectrum is more difficult). I am a size 6, but tall – 5’10″ and a D cup. Finding shirts that fit well is almost impossible – not only are the sleeves and body too short, but the shoulders, chest, and stomach are never all right. And pants – just as difficult b/c I have hips. Gapping waistbands are common. So, anyway – thanks for the interesting links and for putting together such a great blog.

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brianna June 27, 2006 at 11:34 am

Bravo!! Thanks so much for being so inspiring! I’ve always been upset by this happening to me, but never thought of doing anything about it! You’re my hero! :)

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carrie June 27, 2006 at 11:54 am

what a fantastic idea! My biggest fitting problem is being short. Remember the articles a few weeks ago in the NYT about retailers dropping petite lines? Petites are the *only* things I can fit into off the rack–we won’t even get into body shaping issues. In general I think women are largely at the mercy of manufacturers. Somehow we need to take back our power as beautiful stylish people no matter what our size or shape. The reality is that the concept of “fit” which used to be a given is now so diffuse that it hardly means anything. People today put up with all kinds of gaps, wrinkles, binding, or extra ease because in the real world statistically accurate averages don’t “fit” any individual.

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oracle June 27, 2006 at 12:20 pm

I love what’s happening here. And I think the energy of a thing is most important. Life evolves, and new and real change only come when we express ourselves from the core — and don’t worry *too* much about trying, instead, to calculate what we’re doing in the hope of controlling an outcome.In other words, I’d say let’s use these cards as we feel most moved to do — whether that means slapping them down on the cash counter of a shop we’re about to walk out of, or asking the clerk to give them to management, or to regional management, or whether we want to get on-line and write e-mails or otherwise be bugsome to those we identify as higher-up decision-makers. Everyone’s got their own kind of contribution to make. Just DO what you want to do with it — and let that energy flow! And then, we’ll see what happens.And let’s not assume that sales clerks never have any ability to influence what goes on higher up — or that we might not just make a staffperson’s day by handing her one of these cards! Just be careful not to *blame* the hired help — that’s all.

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Tracy June 27, 2006 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for the card idea, and thanks for the support. I wear a 22 and it’s kind of hard. I was at our local mall last Sunday shopping and trying on in the 4 stores that carry my size. I looked at the people around me and they were almost all larger than is considered “normal”. Who’s making clothes for them? I used to sew, it was the only way I could get decent clothes that fit. I need to start again. I enjoy your articles and dresses every day. thank you, Tracy

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Rainkatt June 27, 2006 at 12:55 pm

I have no idea what size I wear anymore. I wear a 36DD (E) bra, which means very few tops fit, but while I do have broad square shoulders, I don’t have huge upper arms, so most plus sizes gap or hang funny. I have no waist to speak of–34″ or 35″ most days (with a tummy), and 39″ or 40″ hips. If I find pants that fit my waist, they hang in pleats around my non-existent hips and rear. I have sort of skinny legs, and I’m old, so although I walk and exercise, that belly is always going to be there. I HATE even trying to find clothing.I like your idea; I’m not sure how effective it will be… but I like it.

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 1:13 pm

Ok, you ladies have totally inspired me. I have “differential” issues myself; we’ve all suffered long enough; and I’m going to do something about it. Here’s my promise: by the end of July I promise to get a whole BootyVintage section going on my website with lots of large sized vintage patterns and some larger vintage clothing too. Nothing under a 30″ waist!! I’ve been meaning to do this for years, but you all have given me the kick in the pants (pun intended) I needed. I’ll mail Erin the link when I have it ready and see if she thinks it’s worthy of mention. annaPS: posted the wrong stupid email yesterday, sorry– anewmanvintage (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 1:25 pm

Bless you for mentioning my problem, which nobody sees as a problem! I wear a designer size 4/6 with a 27 inch waist and 34 inch hips–but I wear an overflowing 34C/D depending on the bra. This makes finding my beloved dresses incredibly difficult, and no woman should be doomed to a life of separates. However, try complaining about that in public–”You’re skinny with big boobs? Cry about it.” I’m happy with my body, but I have issues like everyone else.

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craftingchaos June 27, 2006 at 1:43 pm

The main problem is, that the female body is so creative in depositing its fat. There are hourglass figures, pearshapes, jlo butts, women with broad shoulders, large bust size, really skinny ones and more. Moreover there are mixtures of all of them. That is why the industry loves skinny women. No fat means the silhouette is more determined. But even then, the body manages to be individualistic. I recently saw a very skinny (too skinny) woman in a bikini and still the body managed to creativly craft a pearshape. Fantastic that. But bad for the fashion industry, no way you can fit all of these shapes. My hope is in technology, 3d Scanner and automatic cutting should make made to measure clothes affordable. One shop owner once suggested liposuction (I was size 10 then), just that I can fit into her clothes. I was so shocked, that I wasn’t even able to respond. Cutting me is easier than cutting clothes ?

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3 to get ready June 27, 2006 at 2:13 pm

This is a FABULOUS idea! I’m usually a 12, but there are some stores where the XLs don’t fit me. It’s so aggravating! And don’t even get me started on the whole “I’m not 17 but I’m also not 60″ design wasteland. Maybe it’s me, but I hate having to choose between the spandex baby tees and the lavender knit pantsuits. Where the heck is the reasonably priced clothing for moms of small kids who don’t want to look like a sleazebag or their grandma???? I might cross out “in my size” and write in “for anyone within a decade of my age.” Thanks, Erin, for taking a stand!

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Ashni June 27, 2006 at 2:31 pm

Thank you! I’ve been in stores where the size 0 is too big for me. I’ve been in stores where the Women’s department (too big) sent me to Misses (too big) sent me to Juniors (too big) sent me to Girls (too small, or no curves) sent me to Women’s…If anyone else here is in the midwest, I’ve recently had good luck at Von Maur’s. They do alterations for free, so now I can get pants that fit.

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 2:58 pm

Woo-hoo for Von Maur! A family owned chain that I can always find something in. I’m lucky enough to live just minutes from the flagship store in West Des Moines. Remember to support independent retailers. They have much more freedom to respond to our sizing and alteration requests than corporate-owned mega-chains.

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Thoughts on Life and Millinery. June 27, 2006 at 3:01 pm

Us long waisted gals have a heck of a time too. So long waisted people didn’t notice I was pregnant until 4 weeks before the full term baby arrived! Houston Chronicle wrote 2 PAGE article about how hard life was for petites. I wrote back!Now I am sending your card to them!

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Thoughts on Life and Millinery. June 27, 2006 at 3:01 pm

Us long waisted gals have a heck of a time too. So long waisted people didn’t notice I was pregnant until 4 weeks before the full term baby arrived! Houston Chronicle wrote 2 PAGE article about how hard life was for petites. I wrote back!Now I am sending your card to them!

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 3:26 pm

Reading about everyone’s fitting problems reminded me why I sew all my garments except my knit tops and skirts.I think I’ll call my mom tonight to thank her for 1) my curvy figure and 2) teaching me to sew. =D–Lydia

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Kate in England June 27, 2006 at 3:43 pm

Since it seems that no-one is able to find clothes that fit, there must be something else going on here. And I think it’s a quality issue. There are all kinds of corners that manufacturers cut (sometimes quite literally) to get clothes out on the shelves as cheaply as possible, and those short-cuts often result in poor fit. Perhaps there should be another card, saying “…. if your clothes weren’t made from appalling fabrics and stitched together in a completely haphazard way”. It’s quality as much as anything that puts me off buying clothes these days – I think, “I’m not paying 150 for a silk dress that’s puckered at the seams and lined with polyester”.

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 3:48 pm

I read the commentators’ fitting problems & was reminded of shopping for a bra for my mother’s 2nd wedding. Ma was 5’3″ with her shoes on, and a 32D bra. Five different department stores (our area of the country had no malls back then). Just as the last store was about to close, Ma found her size–in a color that would have showed through her dress. She bought it anyway and the saleslady, bless her, stayed late writing Ma a special order for two more in a different color.To this day I can’t pass a bra rack without wondering if there’s a 32D in it, and if my ma needs another bra.

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Mother of Heroes June 27, 2006 at 4:35 pm

… and don’t forget that while the statistical average American woman is 5’4″ and her UK equivalent is just a little shorter, as we get wider we get proprotionately taller — or so clothing manufacturers would have us believe. Many manufacturers of plus-size clothing make them to fit someone 5’9″ — the average American *male*. In other words, too long (and often unalterable) for most women, and still too short for our tall sisters. Many manufacturers of women’s plus size clothing use men’s slopers (A sloper is a basic “no-style” pattern that is used to design the pattern for a “styled” garment.) Using a men’s sloper for a female garment will result in a garment which, in relation to the bust measurement, will be too small in the hips, too large in the armhole, too large in the neck and/or too large in the sleeve or cuff. Sound familiar?Alternatively, to save a few pennies, the manufacturer might use a primitive pattern sizing system from the 19th century (the dawn of ready-to-wear) that enlarges all measurements proportionately. This is how you get slacks that are big enough around the hips and/or waist, but so long in the crotch that they come up to your bra line.

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Rayna June 27, 2006 at 6:46 pm

This is a fantastic site! I recently discovered it, and boy, am I hooked. I have the same “Oh, cry me a river” shape as an anonymous poster above: a teeny waist and an unfortunately large chest. Granted, this isn’t a common predicament, but it is a bit upsetting to find that manufacturers seem to think the only clothes that will work for you come from the “Streetwalker Collection” or the “Sorry-I-guess-we-just-don’t-have-anything-for-you-collection.” So I’ll be printing up the cards too! Your site is excellent for conversations such as this, and for getting people like myself inspired to sit in front of a sewing machine (somewhere, my mother is feeling smugly satisfied!).

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Amy Louise June 27, 2006 at 7:23 pm

I’ve dealt with it at both ends… now a size 2 from a size 12/14, at 5’7″, with a long waist & semi-wide shoulders. Now measuring 35/25/35, it is nearly impossible to find a dress that fits everywhere. Thank dogness for my newly found dressmaker friend! Button up shirts that fit the bust but hang at the waist can now get some darts, making a perfectly tailored top!Anyhow, when I was a 12/14, I still had a 10″ difference from bust to waist to hips. It seemed then that all of the stores I went into carried only size 22 or size 2, never anything 8/10/12/14, etc. Now that I AM a size 2 (sometimes 0, sometimes 4), I can never seem to find anything BUT 8/10/12/14. What gives?That and it seems that if you wear something once, wash it once (properly, at that), it never again looks or feels the same. Carp, I say.This is why I love being a vintage clothing dealer. Good entry, Erin.

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Courtney June 27, 2006 at 7:51 pm

So, after reading about everyone’s fitting gripes, I think the question is where in the world is the “ideal” 36-24-36 woman buying her clothes???

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 8:31 pm

Only problem is that the employees in the store, dont generally order the mercvhandise unless it is a small boutique where the owner also runs the store.Generally the employee has no control over stock, doesn’t see it until it arrives and they take it out of the box.Unless she or he works on a commission basis, it may just be a bit much on top of dealing with the public, watching for shop lifters, rining up sales, and stocking merchandise…to worry about passing the card along to an possibly unapprochable higher up, when they make a periodic visit.

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banquogirl June 27, 2006 at 8:53 pm

Erin,Yet another brilliant idea. Having dwelt in the plus and the just under plus worlds, long legged, short waisted and big chested in both, shopping is still a challenge for me – and it sounds like for all of us. I think part of the problem is the designer labels who only make about 4 sizes. That makes anyone outside those sizes on either end seem freakish. The rest of the industry then takes that as carte blanche to treat people out of the dress dummy mold as second class citizens – when in fact the super models are the freaks of nature! The Body Shop (in the old days) had a post card that had a plus sized Barbie doll on the front. It said something like there are 800 million women in the world. 8 of them are super models. I’m not sure about the math, but I am sure about the sentiment!

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NotJane June 27, 2006 at 9:42 pm

I’m five-ten, with broad shoulders, small bust, very little waist, hips in proportion (if you like rectangles).I can’t find dresses in stores–even dresses that I can’t wear! What’s happened to them? It’s all separates these days. And it’s easy to see why from the comments above. However, since sizing means little or nothing, why is it that men’s clothing is sold by actual measurements, and tailoring is often free? If women’s clothing was sold the same way, wouldn’t that make us happier and the fashion industry even wealthier?Love the blog! Love the dresses, even if I can’t wear them! And, all I really, really want, is the return of HEMS!

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Sarah June 27, 2006 at 9:59 pm

I love it! I have clothes in my closet that range in size from 12 to 18, and they all fit. I have never been small. I am athletic, yet fashionable.

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Shiny Blue Black June 27, 2006 at 10:29 pm

Well, to add in the mix, I am 5’6 42-32-42 have broad shoulders, a pudgy middle and large-ish thighs but slimmish hips.Seriously hard to find pants that fit. Yes, if I lost about 10 kgs, like I was 5 years ago I’d fit everything beautifully – but I think that’s a stupid reason to try to lose weight (in order to fit RTW clothes – that are mostly ugly anyway).I used to run a small boutique chain of women’s clothing shops as well. Trust me, it is seriously difficult doing sizing – from a consumer POV it’s hard to see, but it really is.Women come is SO MANY different shapes and sizes it is impossible to cater to everybody. You will always have women come in who will find the clothes too small / too big / fits strangely somewhere.Not to mention also that price is a big issue. We sold really well-cut reaonsably sized clothes that were classically stylish using really good material ( a lot of naturals like tencel ) but people here were mostly not keen on paying the extra $. We had regulars, but most people off the street went to the store down the road that had similar styles but far inferior cutting and materials.I think most people simply can’t tell the difference anymore. Sometimes I fall into the trap too (quality vs quantity).The only real solution is to find a really good cheap-ish seamstress or custom make all your clothes and have less, but better fitting clothes (like the old-style Europeans).

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demondoll June 27, 2006 at 11:00 pm

I love your cards. Love them.The Today Show had a feature about manufacture standardizing that I found interesting. I guess the thought would be that companies would go by the same measurements per sizes, but the cuts would cater better to a body type…

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Floridaprincess June 27, 2006 at 11:20 pm

I know the sizing has changed. In 1985 to 1992 I wore a size 4 and I weighed 105. Then in 1993 I started puttting on weight. Iam 5’6 now and weight 139 lbs. I wear an 8 or 10. Let’s say Iam a 8 right now. If you took me back to 1985 I would be a size 14!!! I have some old patterns so I know Iam a size 12 to 14. In RTW I would be a 14. Yet Iam a 8 or a 10. I know, the sizes are crazy!!! Also in 1985 I could look at something and buy it with out trying it on they had sizing standards back then. They do not have sizing standards anymore its been proven. I dont know if I’m long waisted or shortwaisted???? I have no shoulders this is a problem. I have a large bust. Last time I was in London/Scotland this is when I stocked up on all my bras. I like their bras better from the UK then the U.S. they fit me better too. I have a problem fitting into pants,jeans,carpis and shorts. My measurments are 36-29-39. I guess they are not right. When I look online for sizing for clothes. I should have a 30 in waist and a 40 hip, or I should be lower then the 29- 39. I guess there is something wrong with me. I have gap problems in my waist when it comes to any kind of pants, shorts ect,ect. Iam fine with skirts. Iam also in the process of finding sewing classes to take. I have fould and industrial sewing machine Iam thinking about buying this. It is brand new and I can get a good deal on it. I also agree with Kate with England. I’m not paying lots of $$$$ for crap that’s poorly made. Iam not going for poly crap either.I forgot to mention in this mess I have little arms too.

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Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 11:33 pm

You don’t need sewing classes. Buy some of the Kwik Sew learn to sew patterns and go for it.

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jenny June 28, 2006 at 12:31 am

Poop. Finding clothes that fit is a problem for just about everyone it seems, regardless of size. And I (with my Amazon shoulders, incredibly long torso, and short legs with a long rise) thought that I was one of the few who were frustrated to the point of spitting fire.I’ve been reading some of Anne Perry’s Victorian-era mysteries lately, and am convinced that the answer is having your own “vendeuse” (listen to the audio on the Zac Posen/Lola Schnabel video short under the heading “Moving Picture Show” @style.com). How great would it be to be able to call up your seamstress and have her just whip up a few things in your choice of colors/styles/fabrics?! For those living in Asia (as well as some other areas of the world) this dream is a reality, with custom-made available at prices that are scandalously affordable for the average American. What kills me is the pittance paid to those who do the work…So: the current solution for those of us NOT living in Asia? Serious sale-shopping at stores which offer free alterations, or roll-your-sleeves-up home sewing.

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Anonymous June 28, 2006 at 12:31 am

You can find bras of all sizes at http://www.decentexposures.com — they make them when you order.I wear a 30/32 and get most of my clothes from http://www.makingitbig.com because they make clothes, particularly pants, in different shapes. I have the small waist-big hips shape and I wear their Easy pants in the winter and Ecco pants in the summer.Marilee J. Laymanmarilee@mjlayman.com)

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Ellie June 28, 2006 at 4:09 am

UK women with larger breasts (like me, I’m a 30FF) use the fantastic company Bravissimo dot com for lovely bras, tops and swimwear. Tops and shirts come in 3 levels of curviness for each size. They deliver anywhere in the world. Highly recommended.

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Anonymous June 28, 2006 at 6:21 am

Thank you so much for being inclusive with this campaign!

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Lisa L. June 28, 2006 at 7:16 am

speaking of serving our needs…for anyone who uses the Wal-mart Fabric dept (oh come on, you know you do!)…please sign the petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/savefab/petition.html and pass it on

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Carrie June 28, 2006 at 7:43 am

The world also needs a card for parents: “You’d be looking at a credit card instead of this card if your store stocked anything that didn’t make my child look like a streetwalker.”I mean, no offense to the streetwalkers of the world, but the look is bad for a 14-year-old. And I don’t even have kids.

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Kitty the Cat June 28, 2006 at 8:11 am

Oh, I love the card. I’ll print a couple for sure.You know what really sucks? Having a 10″ difference between your bust and your waist. Try finding anything that’ll fit. It’s a lost cause. *sigh*

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Elinor June 28, 2006 at 9:59 am

Heh. I have that 10″ waist-hip differential and I’m a size 0 at a lot of stores. The Gap sent me to their kids’ department, but at 5’4″ I’m too tall.(And I’ve personally observed the upsizing creep. It’s got to the point where I’m really happy when the size 0 at a store is too small for me, because that means I might be able to shop at that store for a while longer.)Even sewing patterns have this upsizing tendency, actually. I should be an 8 on top and an 8-10 on the bottom, according to body measurements, but when I check the actual finished garment measurements I find I’d be swimming in that size.

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fillyjonk June 28, 2006 at 12:22 pm

Amen! to the person who said “there’s nothing for those of us between 17 and 60″I’m 37, a college professor. I like to dress nicely (dresses, skirts, nice slacks and tops) and it can be v. hard for me to find “good” clothes. I can dress like a hootchie mama if I want to.I can dress like my 86 year old aunt if I want to (and even then, some of the styles out there for the “mature woman” would be too “yuch” for her).Why can’t I dress like who I am – still sorta young, but not wanting to put her bazoooms and butt and thighs on display? Wanting to look professional but not covered in polyester?The sizing issue is a whole ‘nother thing. I’m a 14/16, and let me tell you, it IS the “average” size. As in “they’re always sold out of it…” I can find 18s (if the store goes up that high), I can find tiny sizes, but forget anything in the 12-14-16 range, especially if there’s a sale going on. I wind up sewing a lot of my own clothing. And even that has its own headaches – I do a lot of pattern-adjusting, and some of the pattern companies (e.g., Simplicity) have gone to the dead-simple sacklike skirts and tops on the assumption that no one knows how or wants to actually fit a pattern these days.If I were a wealthy woman, I’d either have a dressmaker or (more fun for me) I’d hire a pattern designer to draft me-specific pants, basic skirt, princess-line dress, basic dress, etc., patterns with interchangeable sleeves and whatnot so I always had nice properly fitting patterns at the ready.

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Karen June 28, 2006 at 1:02 pm

The more I think about this, the more I’m uncertain about it. I’m 5’2, certainly petite, and a size 4-6. I ordinarily have a horrible time finding clothes that fit, and I don’t have the money to spend, I do most of my shopping at Ross! Last time I went shopping, I went with my mom, who has the same problem most women do, petite and disproportionate. Well we went to one petite outlet store, and I found a TON, and everything looked awful on her. We went to the next petite outlet, and things were awesome on her, and awful on me. Stores design for their specific audience, and they fit that audience so that the styles will look good on them. Some styles don’t look good on other body types, so even if it fit, you wouldn’t be purchasing them. The trick is finding the designers and brands that make clothes for you, which is hard for everyone regardless of size. I’ve made a lot of clothes that even though they fit right, they don’t look right on me because they wern’t designed for me. And if you’re constently going into the same store and nothing ever fits, stop going to that store! Sorry to keep going on here, but for fillyjonk – there is pattern software out there where you can draft your own patterns and print them out at home. They’re kind of pricey and come with their own headaches, but you’d never have to buy a pattern again, and never have to deal with adjustments. So if you sew a lot, it’s worth thinking about!

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Miss O'Hara June 28, 2006 at 1:59 pm

This is awesome! Great idea, Erin. I’m sending it to my friends!I’m petite – 5′ even, a short-waisted (scoliosis) 36/27/38. Sadly, it’s a PAIN to find clothing that fits. Even then, it’s either a) Skank City Wear or b) Horribly poorly made or, should it actually be cute, c) Ridiculously Expensive, because a cotton skirt isn’t worth $150 to me unless there’s something amazing about it. I actually hate clothing shopping, and my mother-in-law is teaching me to sew, God bless her.The shape thing is frustrating, too. For some reason, there aren’t many things flattering to an hourglass that isn’t too revealing or little-girlish for me. That’s why I (and, I suspect, so many women) love vintage clothing – it’s made for a woman’s shape – well, shapes. Honestly, I think more and more women are getting frustrated by these issues, no matter their size; soon enough, a retailer or two will pop up with ‘help’. I hope.

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KRiSTOPHER DUKES June 28, 2006 at 3:03 pm

Ooh la love. I’ll sit out the great size debate, but I love that you’re being ac tive about this.Blogged about you, http://www.thisnext.com/blog/

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Cobaltnine June 28, 2006 at 3:46 pm

Put me in the 10+ inch waist/hip differential group too. There’s no point in my printing out the cards because I have long since given up buying expensive clothing from retailers. I’ll buy buttondown shirts (because I have to sew buttonholes by hand) and I own one pair of jeans (that don’t fit.) It was this problem that made me adopt a uniform skirt style. I can whip it up and wear it day in and day out, and it fits. I even made a formal gown for an event in LA I attended this year. Inspiration from designers is well and good, but to hell with buying from them anymore.

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Anonymous June 28, 2006 at 4:09 pm

I think that there should be more brands that cater to women who are curvy, and they should advertise that or put it on their tags. It would be great if a shirt had something on it that said it was designed for a C, D, or even bigger cup size. I don’t actually expect RTW manufacturers to make tops or dresses that fit me well, since I wear a 30I bra, LOL, but I would like it if people would aknowledge that you can be thin and still need more than a B cup. And don’t even get me started on my hips. Women are supposed to *want* a curvy figure, but it’s impossible to dress one.

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Larkspur June 28, 2006 at 4:13 pm

RTW is made to look nice on a hanger. Unfortunately, very few women are shaped like a hanger . . .

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julia fc June 28, 2006 at 5:40 pm

Fantastic! For a 6 footer like me, a size 14 would mean I’d have to weigh 150 lbs, and that would make me a stick. To war regular clothes, I’d have to be ill, literally. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just deluded. I’ll be using a lot of these cards.

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Anonymous June 28, 2006 at 8:10 pm

Ask for the address of the corporate office, slip the card in an envelope, and send it off. I, for one, will pay the price of a stamp to make my statement. If they got enough of them, especially with specific prices and items proving that you were really interested in being a customer, perhaps a change could occur. For the major chains, send it to the corporate board president.

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Caitlin June 29, 2006 at 7:49 am

I am short. I am thin. I have a tiny, short waist. NOTHING FITS PROPERLY.I have bitten the bullet nd learnt to sew just so I can take up my trouser legs, take in my waist bands, let out the hips of anything I wear. It’s easier for me than a lot of larger women I know, but it’s still far too difficult. What should bea fun shopping trip turns into a depressing, frustrating chore as I often have to go for the most expensive things- and then they are not my style, any way. This is a fantastic idea. I will be mailing it to cheap shops all over the place (why cheap shops think the only people who shop in them are a uk 12 or above…) and hopefully it’ll change.

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Esther.A June 29, 2006 at 7:54 am

I think if you were British (which I am) you’d be heading for an OBE (which I’m not) for services to the (female) consumer. This is a very good idea, and one I may use in lingerie shops. I have very small boobs (AA), and am sure the shop assistants are tempted to send me to the Trainer Bra section. Anyway, expect you’ll be appearing on OPRAH sometime soon!

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Anonymous June 29, 2006 at 3:52 pm

I love this idea! And thank you for pointing out that this is not just a plus-size issue. Designers and manufacturers need to pay more attention to measurements instead of some set size. Why can’t we get clothes sized like men’s? One size for waist, one size for length, one size for hips, etc. I am a size 0-2 and am 5’10″ but have short legs for my height and an incredibly long torso. Also, my waist is much smaller than my hips.People say I should shut up because I’m thin and therefore should not get to have an opinion, but the stores don’t make sizes for me either! What they put on the runway models is not what they send out to the stores – those clothes are altered to fit each model. I have to get almost every piece of clothing I own tailored. I can’t afford that! But what fits my hips won’t fit my waist and what fits my chest is too short to cover my stomach and the arms are too short, etc. I can’t find things to wear to work that look professional. Shirts won’t stay tucked in, pants and skirts slide down to my hips, and suits hang on me in some places and are too short in others.Every store I go into has several size 8s or size 10s and many 6s, but nothing smaller or larger. That’s disgraceful. The buyers and the designers need to hear from the public!

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Ilona June 30, 2006 at 7:46 am

Another brit here. I’m 5′ 3″, 10 inch waist/hip difference. Spent hours recently in the Levis store in Chicago trying to buy a pair of jeans and eventually found one pair, on sale, that fit. Gap are no good – they’ve made their short jeans longer, as apparently short women want to wear them with heels. Um, well then why don’t they buy regular length?! If you want to wear them with flats you’re SOL. If you’re an hourglass, wrap dresses are great. Or dresses with a tie waist. Am still on my 5-year quest to find a good pair of black trousers… Also, why are most petites ranges so ugly? Even Topshop in London just stocks the nasty basics… Great post, Erin!

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the dame June 30, 2006 at 9:52 am

I don’t know if anyone else remembers this, but for a short period of time Old Navy carried “curvy” jeans – they were built with a noticeable intake between the width of the hips and the width of the waist. I have about a 12″ differential chest to waist and hips to waist which I’m pretty happy with aesthetically but does make buying clothing difficult (I do a lot of my own alterations). I was so excited about those jeans but sadly they have since disappeared from Old Navy’s shelves. Does any other retailer carry a similar cut?Incidentally, when I first spotted the “curvy” jeans, I asked a salesperson about them – what specifically was different (I had not yet closely examined them). The 20-ish young man informed me that “oh, they’re for really big women” – in spite of the fact that they were available in a full range of sizes. He didn’t seem to think he was insulting me – I think I was supposed to be flattered that he said it in a way to imply “Those aren’t something you’ll need.” I’m still kicking myself for not talking to the dimwit’s manager, but it really drove home the fact that a lot of retail salespeople work with the attitude that you are either slim hipped and therefore “normal” or you are outside the norm and “big”. Nevermind the tremendous variety of shapes and sizes we women come in, and how it’s perfectly natural for a woman to have hips that are far wider than her waist. It’s not just the limited variety of sizes available, it’s the attitude of the staff in a lot of establishments.The only dresses that fit me “off the rack” are wrap dresses because – obviously – they can be adjusted and thankfully they flatter a curvy figure. Other than that, I have to rely on my sewing machine to fix oversized purchases.

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Courtney June 30, 2006 at 2:15 pm

the dame, Gap has jeans in three “body types” – curvy, regular and straight; Banana Republic sells a “contour” style as well.

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Anonymous July 1, 2006 at 3:37 am

I am at the bottom of the body mass index ans still find the largest sizes available in most surf shops I like to go into to be too small. Normally I ask, in a very loud voice, “EXCUSE ME, DO YOU HAVE THIS IN ADULT SIZES?”At least it makes them blush.

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Linmayu July 2, 2006 at 12:34 am

Add me to the short-waisted hourglass category! (Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many of us; maybe it *would* be commercially viable to design a line for this body type!) I’ve been size 0 on top and 4 on the bottom, and I’ve been size 10 on top and 14 on the bottom. Either way it’s a pain in the ass to shop and I can usually make a dress/shirt/pair of pants in less time than it takes to find something that fits at the store. And that includes the time spent making the pattern.

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Lana C. July 3, 2006 at 12:05 pm

WOW! Great idea… I get so frustrated shopping. I wear a 36G bra and have a hourglass figure with a long waist, and there are no shirts out there for me. If I shop in the plus sizes, the neck, and shoulders are WAY to big, and if I shop the “standard” sizes, the shirts won’t button. and dont get me started on the knit tops, they all pull way up in the front because of my ample bosom and I am sporting the bare midriff thing. It used to be soo difficult with jeans too… if the waist fit, the hips were too small and if the hips fit the waist was about 2-3″ too big. Thankfully, low rise happened. The only thing is, I will need to leave these cards everywhere… :-) I am currently perfecting my sloper and am sewing all my own tops and dresses, because I just can’t find them ready to wear.:-)OOOHHH and SWIMSUITS!!!!!! AKKK why aren’t here long waisted decent coverage g cup underwired suits out there?? (I found a couple DD mailorder only, but the cost over $$120, and then who knows if they will fit??!)

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Anonymous July 4, 2006 at 2:36 am

This is a brilliant idea. I know that I have a hard time because I’m all scrambled up at 5’8” with a d cup, a mile-long torso and only a hint of a rear end, which isn’t too hot when you’re a 2x top and size 20 jeans.Being 17, I also know that there’s a lot of stress because you want to wear those cute clothes your friends are wearing, but can’t because the stores only carry a 10 that runs small or tops that barely fit the tiny mannequins.I agree that the card system won’t be too effective in chain stores and will only confound a 20-something cashier, but I hope that this could expand to reach the very heads of companies that run larger establishments like Old Navy or Forever 21.And in response to “the dame,” I know that sometimes when I go shopping there’s salespeople walking the floor staring at me as I browse because I’m not their typical customer, which only makes me realize that even if I did “get skinny enough” to wear that particular store’s products, I wouldn’t want to shop in that store because of the attitudes of their employees!

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the dame July 5, 2006 at 9:18 am

Thanks to Courtney for the tip on jeans – now I know where to look! – and Anon. is right – a bad attitude on the part of store employees is a good reason to stop shopping there. Like a lot of women, my size has varied A LOT over the years and it’s really ticked me off to see how differently I get treated based on what size I am.Maybe it would be worthwhile to “up the stakes” on the card and send form letters the same way that a lot of activist organizations do? Specifically focusing on stores that don’t carry sizes above or below a certain numbers (my little sister has problem finding xsmall and size 0). I know that shops can’t be expected to accomodate a wide variety of shapes (i.e., at 5’2″ with a high, small-ish waist and really wide hips – I’ll never find a perfect fit off the rack) but they can be encouraged to stock a wider range of sizes. It would make sense for them economically and having their corporate offices contacted by people who would have been potential customers may have an impact.In the interim – I LOVE the “Excuse me, do you have this in adult sizes?” approach! Brilliant!

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jj July 7, 2006 at 12:36 pm

OMG brilliant. I’m petite and I can *usually* find things in my sizes (6 top, 2 bottom). But not always. Size Small skirts sometimes fall down around my hips (and risk pulling off!), and many lines don’t come in XSmall. And since I’m an ususual bra size, I can almost never try on bras in stores and have to make do with ill-fitting ones I buy online.

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K July 12, 2006 at 5:20 pm

I think I’d rather send it by post to Head Office than hand it to the shop assistant, but I love the idea.5’6. 14-inch difference between waist and hips, and 36E. Now I know I’m not alone!I’ve been buying boys’ jeans for the past couple of years because I’m so long-bodied. They’re too big in the waist, but even that’s better than only coming halfway up my rear end…

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Brianna Flynn August 18, 2006 at 8:26 pm

I usually hate these debates, but you’re very even handed!What always sort of saddens me is when people start to bring up ‘clothes for real women’ or ‘real women sizes’. So….I’m a fake woman now? It doesn’t make sense to leave out anyone on either side of the spectrum, and demanding ‘real person’ sizes is just as heavyhanded as never providing larger or less traditional sizes to people who are built differently than the current ‘ideal’ in the magazines, or looking down on someone for needing them. All women are obviously ‘real women’.Can’t we just go with ‘larger’ or ‘smaller’ and leave those subjective adjectives out of it?

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Kathry Sunny September 22, 2006 at 5:43 pm

All those people writing that an 8 today is like a 12 in 1985… are you sure about that?Our family was recently cleaning out the garage and found a forgotten box of clothes from the 80′s. For laughs- these were really 80′s clothing- we tried them on. All the sizes were about the same as today.

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Anonymous October 2, 2006 at 8:54 pm

I was looking for a suit today and needed a 12 bottom and couldn’t button a 20W jacket! The jacket hung everywhere except directly around my chest. When I asked the tailor in Macy’s what could be done he said there was too big of a difference and that he couldn’t adjust any of the jackets they had to fit me correctly. And never mind the sleeves not reaching my wrists or the pants legs not reaching my ankles. I’m only 5’9″, not extraordinarily tall, but I have long legs. Buying clothing is a nightmare and I usually end up feeling frustrated. Whatever happened to tailors who could actually make clothing instead of just “adjusting” what is off the rack?

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Anonymous October 3, 2006 at 5:25 pm

The Fredericks of Hollywood comment really hit home – Fredericks doesn’t even carry my bra size. I’ve been contacting them, VS, and Playtex/Hanes/Bali about the fact that I can’t find a thing in my size on this continent (28D/30C). I’m buying them online from British retailers and starting to look at other countries now.There is a specialty shop for bras in my town that will sell me a custom-made one for $90, but I would love to pay a normal price for a bra. : (

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Anonymous October 16, 2006 at 9:41 pm

I just found this blog and this idea of leaving the card in stores bugs me, I know some have already mentioned this but I just want to reiterate. I worked retail for several major chains in the past (one of which carried up to a size 26, but that’s not the point.) The point is that salespeople in almost every store HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER WHAT IS ON THE RACKS! Leaving a card in the shop won’t do diddly squat. If you want to complain, ask for their corporate office information or go to a website. A register jockey making $7 an hour has no say in the merchandise available.

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Flabuless June 30, 2007 at 8:27 am

oh that is too true…I love it…I will be blogging about it on my site http://www.findingflabuless.com/Blog in the next couple of days…my readers have to see this!:) Flabuless

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