So-Called ‘Alpha-Sizing’ Is Making Shopping Impossible

August 27, 2014 8:30 am  |  Comments: 2  | Views: 5035

“We only carry sizes one, three, and five. You could try Sears.” Anyone who groaned at that Mean Girls line knows that women’s clothing sizing practically requires a Ph.D. in physics to comprehend. Why are you a 0 at Banana Republic but a 10 at H&M? What dark arts are being practiced here? Today’s Wall Street Journal sheds some light on sizing sorcery, reporting on the rise of so-called “alpha sizing,” meaning using small, medium, and large designations as opposed to numbers. More retailers are adopting it for a very simple reason: It’s way cheaper. “If I only have to build four sizes instead of eight, my supply chain is going to be much more efficient,” one consultant explained to the paper. However, merging a 6, 8, and 10 into a medium is going to result in sizing headaches for many customers (not to mention the problems with alpha-sizing bras, which many brands are adopting as common practice). According to the WSJ, megachains like Zara, Old Navy, and Uniqlo use the alphanumeric system, but there are some holdouts: Activewear chains Athleta and Lululemon are sticking with numbers for now.

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  • Aby says:

    Terrific. Now we’ll always have to factor in the cost of alterations when shopping for our clothes, or look like we’re wearing hand-me-downs. And I don’t expect any cost of supply chain savings to be passed on to customers, so we’ll just buy less.

  • Over the last two years I have purchased over $20,000 in products from As most of my products I have been satisfied. When it comes to size a good $2000-$3000 do not fit my size large. In some cases they are small but marked large. Most of the time I’m not able to return them. When I have returned them it has taken up to 2 months to credit my At I purchased for the savings, since I live minutes away from all the fashion retail stores. In West Hollywood, Los Angeles. California. The products from I invested thousands of dollars in. I have given away to people that are less fortunate than I, that’s the only Positive side.

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