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Why is There No Size 13 in Women’s Clothing?

You’ve probably wondered: Why is there no size 13 in women’s clothing? The answer is simple: a lack of standardized sizes in women’s apparel. A nongovernmental organization, the American Society of Testing and Materials, began efforts to resample women’s clothing in the 1990s. Unfortunately, most manufacturers ignore these standards and charge extra for access to their sizing tables.

Women’s sizes have been around for decades, but the sizing system in many fashion labels has changed since. The standard sizes from the ’70s are no longer relevant, as brands have begun establishing their own sizes. Today, the size difference between two well-known designers could be as much as five inches. Even celebrities, like Queen Latifah, have come down a size, and she can fit into a size 12 on one label and a size 20+ on another.

The first standard for women’s clothing dates back to the 1950s. A woman with a 31-inch bust and a 25-inch waist would be a size 12 in the US, while a woman with a 34-inch waist and a 28-inch hip would be a size 16 in today’s measurements. In the 1970s, when the government first began updating the size standards, many manufacturers grew uncomfortable with these measurements. Moreover, non-white women were excluded from the size standard. As a result, the size standard did not become widely adopted until 1983, when it was abandoned by the government.

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