Okay, here are the cards.

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.

0 thoughts on “Okay, here are the cards.

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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