Q: Why does sizing change with clothing every season?
There are a few reasons why some clothing companies may adjust their sizing between seasons, including:
- Human error – mistakes happen, particularly with earlier or debut collections and garments, and dialling in the fit might just require a little trial and error.
- Pursuing a different customer market – if a clothing brand is selling a collection or garment into a specific country, they may need to consider the average body sizes and measurements of end customers in that country. For instance, some Japanese brands design and size for local markets (which tend to, but don’t always, skew smaller compared to other regions of the world) and thus their sizing runs smaller, so a Medium with that company’s good may actually fit like a Small in North America.
- Customer feedback or trends – since most clothing companies offer ready-to-wear (aka “RTW”) and are unable to tailor each garment to each customer, they have to base their sizing decisions on estimations of what will fit their customers best. Oftentimes they’ll receive feedback from both wholesale customers (i.e. retail stores) and end customers that one area of a pair of denim, shirt, etc. is a little too tight or loose and the company may adjust accordingly in the future.
- Redesign – a little less common, but at times a clothing company may have a change of heart on the original fit or silhouette of a garment and make refinements. Some suiting brands will do this every few years (possibly to cater to a trend), as well as some denim companies, albeit adjustments are usually subtle (e.g. taking in the thigh by 1/4 of an inch).
Regardless of the reason, the best way to workaround sizing issues is to find the actual measurements (in cm’s or inches) of a garment and compare it against a garment that you own and fits you well.