While it’s frustrating enough having to try on every size in a store when you’re out shopping, buying online is even more difficult. Despite becoming more common, according to the e-tailers we spoke to, online shopping can still be a mixture of guesswork, market research and ensuring the company you deal with has a generous returns policy.
According to Sarah Pavillard, who owns Frockaholics.com.au, “ideally what we’d like to have is what each manufacturer’s standard is and put it on our site but as we stock so many labels, our own resources aren’t up to it at this stage and the information isn’t always available”. Instead, Pavillard and her team try on a sample size of every garment and make notes about the sizing. She also has a no-questions-asked returns policy.
Katrina Colla’s business, frockyou.com.au, stocks more than 60 different brands. She also says sizing is a major issue and, as well as having a hassle-free returns/exchange policy, she and her staff also try a sample of garments to work out what will fit who. She also keeps a record of customer feedback to get an all-round indication of the fit of each label. Customers often send in their measurements so her team can then work out what size they will be in a certain brand.
What about men?
Most of the industry contacts CHOICE spoke to said men, in general, have it a little easier. In most cases men’s garments are named by a measurement, so if a pair of trousers is labelled 38 inches, it’s likely they will actually be 38 inches at the waist. However, Jo-Ann Kellock, Executive Director of the Council of Textile and Fashion Industries Australia says that for younger men’s clothing, sizing has increasingly become representational and carries small, medium and large labels or 1, 2 and 3, and disparity between sizes is more common.
Avidan says his personal experience of buying men’s clothes can also be a case of finding a label that fits your body type. Other men we spoke to complained about lack of length in trousers and sleeves, as well as an overall bad fit, but the consensus is the differences aren’t as extreme as in women’s clothes.
Still, Kellock believes men would also benefit hugely from a national sizing survey. “We could mine data right down to a postcode. If we wanted to we’d be able to find out what the body shape range is for men in a certain suburb in Adelaide. How good would that be?”