How do I know what size clothing to buy?

Every person has different body measurements, body shapes, movement habits and ways of wearing clothing. In an ideal world every piece of clothing would be custom made for the wearer, which is what used to happen before the introduction of ready to wear clothing.

The concept of ready to wear clothing has resulted in retailers mass producing clothes in standard sizes. A lot of customers find that their dress size may differ as to which retailer they buy from. This is because it is not mandatory for manufacturers to use any kind of standard sizing guidelines.

Why do sizes of clothes differ so much?

Vanity sizing or size inflation is a term referring to the phenomenon of standard sizes differing in measurements, and it changes year upon year. In Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting book Third Edition (1997), for instance, a 32 inch waist is classed as a size 18. The smallest size is a size 8 or a 24 inch waist. This is clearly before size zero, vanity sizing or size inflation came into being. It is believed that retailers use vanity sizing to flatter their customers into thinking they have smaller measurements than they actually have. It also gives the company the opportunity to cater for their demographic - for example, Marks and Spencers targets a more mature customer so their size 10 is likely to be larger than a size 10 at Topshop, who target teens and 20 somethings. This suggests how useful it is to know your body measurements before buying clothing at any retailer.

How does JPOL size its clothes?

A dress size is, really, just an arbitary number and, we at JPOL feel it doesn't give garment manufacturers or retailers the necessary information to provide you with clothing that will fit and flatter your body shape. So we prefer to use the numbers on an old fashioned tape measure. This might mean that the number on the label inside your garment is larger than what you're used to, but that label is on the inside and you can always cut it out if you don't want to see it when you take the piece of clothing off! Jed Phoenix of London generally uses the imperial (inches) measurement as this is what a lot of our customers, being based mainly in the UK, know and understand.

How do I measure my body?

One of the best ways of providing good measurements for well fitting clothes is to be measured by the person who will be making your garments. You can do this by visiting us at one of the various events we trade at. Alternatively, you can take your own measurements, or better still, get a friend to help you. In the JPOL "how to measure your body" video (coming soon) we demonstrate what measurements we generally need for the different types of garments we produce.

When it's ready, we'll add a link here so you can check out the Jed Phoenix of London how to measure yourself video!