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Ever wondered why one size fits too many?

Variations in actual physical dimensions across diverse apparel brands for the same labeled size is nothing new. That's the case more often than not! There is rarely uniformity in actual physical dimensions for the same labeled size apparel across brands. However, what have become more often, are variations in fit and actual physical sizes for a given tagged size even for the same brand. And here I am not talking about local or lesser known brands but leading apparel and sportswear brands.


One reason for such a discrepancy can be that the merchandise may be ticketed incorrectly, for instance a ticket for smaller size may be attached to bigger sized merchandise or vice versa. This can be easily remedied by making necessary corrections to the ticketing and labeling processes. However, another reason for this size inconsistency, which is faulty production, is far more troublesome. Unlike other product types, consistent fit and size are essential for apparel items. In fact these very aspects can differentiate a particular apparel brand from another. With varying actual sizes even for the same brand merchandise, consumers can't rely on the size labels alone and have to take many trails every time they buy apparel items, even when they are of same make and kind! This doesn't present a nice shopping experience to in-store shoppers. Also, given the focus of apparel companies to grow online this issue presents a serious challenge to the industry. Unlike in stores, where you can take trials and select the merchandise which fits you well, online shopping doesn't offer you such a convenience. If consumers are not sure that a particular size will have the same fixed physical dimensions then it's going to discourage them from making a purchase online and offset retailers' online expansion plans.


Shortened apparel life cycle and reduced time to market can lead to product inconsistencies and production related issues. Adoption of IT can help in providing big enough window for merchandise production by correctly reading the right demand and market signals. However, this too, may not always suffice given how fast trends and market dynamics change in fashion and apparel industry. More important is to invest further in skills and training of shop floor workers and to strengthen the quality control processes of manufacturers. It appears that maintaining consistency in sizes, an unquestioning expectation in apparel industry, can also become a differentiating factor in today's marketplace.


Good point there about the Size inconsistencies. It is a widely accepted practice to give an absolute measure in inches / cms along with the Symbolic Size like S, M, L, XL etc. Fit is a completely different challenge.. got to try a new fit atleast once in the store.. untill virtual trial rooms are available... :).. As for online purchase knowing the Article Number always helps in a repeat purchase. Random thoughts...

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