Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fashion Math: When does 526 not equal 526?

I haven't been posting in the blog much lately, owing to a pressing deadline last week, another upcoming deadline in two weeks, and preparing for the holiday season. (Which in my family begins with Thanksgiving, an entire four-day weekend devoted to my two favorite sins, Gluttony and Sloth.) Being so busy might account for my pissy mood, but maybe it's because I haven't been venting my spleen on the blog. Lucky you! You're going to get a whole series of rants!

Today's rant concerns my most recent annoyance: stupid wracking-fracking-sacking women's clothing companies. I complained a couple of years ago about the frustrating phenomenon of vanity sizing, which makes it difficult to figure out what size to get when you're trying on clothes. I've lost 10-15 pounds since that original post, which is great, but it has made finding my size more difficult, as it's now the lowest women's size available in many stores. (I do not have junior hips, I gotta shop in misses.) When it comes to jeans, I have to try things on in different sizes, owing to cut, style, brand, etc. I was so happy when I found a jean that fit me perfectly, a Levi's 526 model. I got one pair of the single color they had in my size, and wished they had the other color, but oh well. When I returned to the store a couple months later, they now had corduroys in the 526 style. I tried them on, and they fit perfectly ... but they only had golden-brown, not the black I coveted, and of course the dark blue jeans still weren't available in my size. Grrrrr.

Then I saw a sign! Use our online kiosk for more colors and sizes! Shipping free! I toddled over and yes! Found the black! Found the oceana blue! Got them on sale, with a coupon, shipped right to my house! I was excited, until I tried them on. The black cords were great—fit just as perfectly as the others—but the dark blue jeans were a little tight. I washed them, thinking maybe the fabric was just stiff, but I ended up with a pair of jeans that went on like I was wearing a girdle. Dang, I thought, I got a bad one. Sometimes it happens, things get mis-sized or mislabeled. I would just have to go to the store, find my size, try it on, and then exchange.

I went to store number one. Of course, they didn't have my size in the dark blue jean. They didn't even have it in the light blue jean I already had. I went to the service counter with my sad story, and they offered to check the item with nearby branches. The one a couple miles south had not one but two in my size, so I thought I'd go try them on. At store number two, I grabbed both of my size, one in each color, and headed to the changing rooms. As I slid the dark blue ones over my legs, I got an uncomfortable feeling ... this time I could barely get the damn things around my hips, and forget about buttoning them! The light blue ones, however, fit perfectly. WTF? Being stubborn, I went out and got the next size up in the dark blue, along with two sizes of two other dark blue styles. Of course, the higher size of the 526 was too big in the waist (my usual hip-waist ratio problem), while the other models were cut differently and didn't fit in either size.

The other models not fitting doesn't bother me so much; of course different styles will have different cuts and different hip-waist ratios and other things which mean they won't fit me well, but some other woman will love them. But why oh why, dear Levi's, would you label two pairs of jeans with the same model number and not have them fit exactly the same? I could have understood it if there was a big difference between the cords and the denim, because the two fabrics have different weaves and give in different ways. But to have such a big difference between two pairs, both made of denim? I think you're deliberately trying to drive the American female crazy. At least, after chasing those stupid jeans around town, I feel crazy enough to throttle some fashion designer somewhere.

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