consistency is key

What should the size label say?

Do you still know “what size you wear?” With all the variation in size labeling it is almost impossible to pick a piece of clothing from the rack that fits first time right.

In this blog I tell you how to choose the best size label for your garments.

Spoiler alert: there is no standard solution.

Sizing doesn’t stop at creating size charts. Another challenge to face is the size labeling. What number of letter should you put on the label?

I think it is everybody’s frustration that size labeling is very confusing. No size label seems to mean the same. It differs per country, per brand and sometimes even per item of the same brand!

So how should you tackle this?

European standard

In the late 90’s, they started to standardize European size labeling to make it easier to find fitting clothes. This resulted in the standard EN-13402: Size designation of clothes.

This standard combines several standards and is based on body dimensions in centimeters instead of inches. 

The standard aims to replace several national clothing size systems, with varying success. The use of the new system has varied from country to country.

I’m really allergic to overregulating everything, but in some cases I am in favor of standardization, and since most people know this system, I stick to it with regard to naming my own size charts. And I would advise you to do the same.

This gives the following relationship between the size label and the bust girth:

Should you use numbers or symbols?

Symbols are even more confusing for customers. Letters are even more arbitrary applied than numbers.

So be very careful when you wan to use a letter system. Symbols or letters are usually used when a model covers 2 or more sizes.

The sizes given above can be assigned the following letter size labels:

Symbols or letters can be used for:
  • loose fitting garments
  • active and performance wear garments with a lot of stretch
  • unisex garments

Use numbers for more fitted garments and more expensive garments. The numerical system is perceived as more expensive. So make use of it.

Numbers or symbols?

Use numbers for fitted garments, letters can be used for loose fitting garments

Vanity sizing

Although a well fitting blouse in a size 42 is much more flattering than a way too tight blouse in size 38, most customers will still look at the size label and have an opinion about it. So how should you handle this? Should you practice ‘vanity sizing’?

My advice would be: no don’t. 

Let’s try to get to some kind of standardized sizing system. And just maybe also get to a normal view on what a body should look like (she said against better judgement).

Be consistent

Whatever system you choose, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to be consistent with your sizing.

Once you found the size charts that suit your target group best, stick to them. That also applies to the design ease you add to your garments.

Make all your models according to one set of size charts and apply the same amount of easy to similar models. Collection after collection.

So your customers can trust that a new design of a slim fit blouse they bought last year will fit the same this year. Or when a straight pair of pants fits well, then a bootcut model will also fit well.

In the end trust pays off in loyalty.

Consistency is key

Be transparent

The second best tip I can give you is to be open and honest about your sizing.

You don’t need to publish your complete sizing charts, but mention at least the 4 most important sizes: length, bust, waist and hip girth. So that your customers at least have some clue what to expect.

I hope these tips give you an idea of what to put on the size label. If you really want to avoid returns and unsatisfied customers, then consider using a size advice app. In this blog I’ll tell you more about the available solutions.

How size advice apps lower your return rate

Read this blog to find out how to avoid returns and unsatisfied customers.

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