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How We Choose Clothing Sizes

There are many reports claiming that stores and boutiques do not carry the clothing sizes that the average women wears. Most of these reports are based on data provided by the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ) regarding the average ( and increasing ) size of modern Americans. While this claim may be true, there is much more to consider than just an analyses based on the CDC data, and their specific demographic sampling.

At we try to pick the cream of the crop, the top products from the top merchants with the best prices. There being many billions of products advertised on-line, though, we only have the capacity to list in our catalog a fraction of the items we find, like maybe .000001%

So, when it comes to clothing items that come in many different sizes, which ones are the best ones for us to promote? We will have to do a little research.

First, the CDC has a lot of data going back decades. In a recent study the CDC determined that the average waist circumference for women is 38.6 inches (up from 36.3 inches in 1999). So is that it? Should we center our promotions around a waist size of 38 inches? The CDC uses a broad demographic to collect their data, but is this the same demographic that shops on-line. Maybe not.

To start, since we have the data, we will look at the professional models who are presenting clothing items on-line. Let`s see. Here are the stats for a dozen professional models.

Waist = 24

Waist = 24

Waist = 24.5

Waist = 25

Waist = 25

Waist = 25

Waist = 24

Waist = 24

Waist = 24

Waist = 24

Waist = 22.5

Waist = 24.5

Whoa! The average for the professional models is 24.2 inches, a good 14 inches skinnier than the average woman. Unless we intend to promote only pre-teen clothing that is not going to work. We need a more realistic number.

Luckily many on-line stores and boutiques allow their customers to post their picture and their stats wearing an item they have recently purchased as a product review. There are many of these reviews on-line; thousands of them. We selected about 50 of them to see how real customers who actually buy clothing items on-line measure up. A sample is shown below.

Waist = 31.9

Waist = 24.4

Waist = 38.2

Waist = 28.7

Waist = 26.8

Waist = 29.9

Waist = 28.7

Waist = 25.6

Waist = 24.8

Now that`s a little more like it. The average waist measurement for the 54 samples that we randomly (sort of) selected is 29.2 inches.

This makes a lot of sense because on-line shoppers for clothings are a much narrower demographic than the CDC data. On-line shoppers for clothing are mostly woman, mostly in the age group of 18-24, so they are typically thinner and most have not yet experienced that ultimate belly stretching mechanism known as pregnancy.

For our promotions we will focus on sizes ranging around a 29 inch waist. In jeans for instance we will limit our promotions to waist sizes of 26, 28, 30, and 32 (roughly sizes 6, 10, 12, 14). That should cover the majority of on-line shoppers that will be visiting our websites and we won’t have to waste Internet bandwidth listing the many dozens of sizes that are available.

For dress sizes this roughly is equivalent of sizes 6, 10, 14, and 16. For other sizes Extra-Small, Small, and Medium will roughly cover the same range.

Yes, we know that there are dozens of other considerations when calculating clothing sizes but it`s not relevant to what we are trying to do. We don`t actually sell clothing, we simply point the customer to the best products at the best prices that we can find. Each store or boutique will have their own sizing guides that the customer may use when selecting a product to buy.

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