Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Size Are You...Today?

Many sources fuel our troubled economy, from unemployment to the tight credit market. Yet retailers want and need us to shop more. Here’s one reason why I’m shopping less: size frustration.

I just bought a pair of size 0 petite jeans. I realize some women might be thrilled to be bamboozled into thinking they’re thin enough to fit into zilch-sized jeans, but I find the concept a bit patronizing of shoppers' intelligence. Manufacturers want us to think, "Oooh, I was an 8 last time I bought this kind of jeans, now I'm a 6. How thin am I! I don’t need to work out, I need more clothes!"

The point is that when sizes are so inconsistent, shopping becomes a chore instead of a pleasant, rewarding experience. With this designer I guess I'm now a 0, but with another I could be a 2, 4 or a 6. Or a 25, 26 or 27. Now a few also offer short, regular or long. I don't care what size I am, I just want clothes to fit so I don't have to try on so many. Not to mention that given the recession (yes, yes, I know it’s supposedly ending), inventories are down so the store might not have sufficient selection were I in the mood to take 10 pairs into the dressing room. I don’t have the patience or want to take the time to run from store to store.

With my former favorite jeans (Jag) I used know exactly what size I wore. I could try on any pair and they’d fit great. No alterations required (anyone who has had a pair of jeans hemmed knows how much that adds to the cost, especially if you want the “original hem.”) But suddenly I was a size smaller. Now that size doesn't quite fit, nor does the next size down. The jeans in my closet still fit fine, so it's not like I’ve gotten skinnier.

(I’m not going to talk about the ridiculous rise issue. If most manufacturers want to target women in their 20s and ignore shoppers over 35, that’s their choice. Low rise on women of a certain age IMO just doesn’t look good. I don’t want to feel or see that little, squishy roll of muffin top. I did buy a pair of GAP’s new 1969 slim jeans, because they were on sale and fit perfectly everywhere else [except the length], but we’ll see if I wear them with anything but a long, heavy sweater. I’ve tried one of the few brands geared toward women who aren’t in their 20s, but the styles, fit, and washes don’t interest me. And the tummy tuck panel doesn’t seem to serve its purpose.)

As to customer service and checkout, I commend Nordstrom and GAP for having helpful salespeople who not only knew their products but went out of their way to bring other jeans I might like and, equally important, do so in a timely fashion. Most other stores I’ve shopped recently haven’t had the staff to enhance the shopping experience and/or have had long checkout lines (and I waited longer than I thought reasonable at the GAP).

And, dear clothing manufacturers, I don't enjoy shopping online. There are too many sites. All the scrolling and going back and forth makes me dizzy. Just because an item looks good on the tall, tall model doesn’t mean it’ll look good on the average or short woman. I’ve come across enough inaccurate measurement charts that the pleasure of opening the package I’ve waited for is ruined when the item doesn’t fit. A friend orders several sizes of each garment. But even with free returns, it’s too much of a hassle for me to pack the stuff back up, fill out the form and drop it off at UPS or the post office.

I rejeoiced to find a practically perfect pair of jeans at Macy's...a DKNY petite style that was even on sale. They only had one pair in my size. When I went online to buy another, there wasn't enough identifying info on the jeans for me to find them among the zillion hits...

How do you find the perfect pair? How can stores/designers make shopping easier?

1 comment:

Gina Black said...

Levi's 501s. They've always fit me. The others, not so much.