Weekend Reading: Fashion Size and Age


Size, age and fashion are always subjects that raise emotion in many.  Yesterday, reading our local paper The Age I came across an article about Calvin Klein designer Fransisco Costa and his view of who is customer was (a woman over 40 most likely) and how using 16 year old models, wasn’t really working for his market.  For his recent show he’s been using older, curvier models.  As he said:

”These women buying the clothes, they’re not all 16, not all blond, not all Russian,” he said of the more common catwalk model.
”I had felt a disconnect with that; that’s why I had to bring these other elements into play.”

Also on the size of clothing, comes an article about the the increasing sizes of a few Australian designers such as Leona Edmiston, who are upping their top size from 12 or 14 to 16 or 20.  Of course, controversy reigns as Nevenka designer  Rosemary Masic says she’ll never go up higher than a 14 as that promotes an unhealthy lifestyle (of course this has been discredited by medical professionals).   
I have to say, making a statement like this, really makes my temperature rise, I am by no means an unhealthy weight, yet often find a size 14 (Australian) top is too small across my bust, so have to go up to a 16 to fit the girls in.    There are plenty of healthy women over an Australian size 14 who are being discriminated against by fashion labels.  If the ‘average’ Australian woman is a size 14-16, why don’t these designers who won’t go past a 12 or 14 realise that there is a lot of money they are missing out on because of their own prejudices?
Pic courtesy Leona Edmiston collection


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  • Grrr! Because I sew, I don't have this issue that often, but finding jeans! Now that's a real problem. I am about a 14 too and went shopping at Bloomingdales for jeans. There was the entire jeans department of all the cool brands in that weird sizing, your know, 26 and up to about a 32 which in no way relates to regular sizing and in no way comes up to a size 14. I looked in vain for jeans in between that and the plus size department, which I am too small for. I finally found a sales woman and asked her. She was apologetic, but there wasn't anything in between. It's crazy. In no way do middle aged women fit into the marketing plan of most stores and they wonder why business is so bad?

  • People who are larger should have style choices. If a retailer wants to ignore a whole market, that's a business problem.

  • I think that it is brilliant the the Calvin Klein brand knows who their customer is. I have a closet full of Calvin Klein dresses which suit me perfectly for work. They are well designed, flattering to my figure and appropriately priced.
    There are clothes by other designers that just don't fit me and never will. I just concentrate on finding the brands that work for me.
    I think that designers need to know their customer and design specifically for that client. I don't believe that a designer needs to create for all shapes and sizes.

  • I don't buy into any of this unhealthy lifestyle talk. Using the BMI scale, a body builder with not an ounce of fat on their body is considered clinically obese! I know a woman who wears a size 16-18 and she is a Surf Lifesaver, regularly swimming out in heavy seas and hauling people in. It's great to see a designer being honest about who buys their clothes. People get larger with each successive generation. It's a fact. Clothing manufactureres need to look at the real world.

  • Designers never admit that
    1. they are limited by the width of fabric, and simply cannot produce certain styles in larger sizes because of that limitation and
    2. that they incur more fabric cost for say a size 16 than 1 4, but cannot charge more.

    Instead, they blame women for not being small enough.

  • As far as I know, garments are designed for size 6 or 8, with so-called grading lines that are then used to create the versions in all the other sizes. But one can only go so far from the size for which it was designed before having to re-design the garment. Maybe that's what stops them …

  • Believe it or not but it is the smaller/thinner ladies getting left behind and not able to find anything to fit. Whilst designers might say they won't go greater than a size 14 number, they are making the clothes bigger and putting the number 14 on that and hence all sizes down the line are now bigger thanks to vanity sizing. I agree with Belle that designers know their market and if that designer is not right for you then find another.

  • As someone who has always been short, petite, but pear-shaped let me put my two cents in. I agree with "Anonymous" who said that smaller ladies get left out. I have a lot of trouble finding clothes small enough for me that are roomy enough for my thighs and hips and tops small enough for my chest width. Also, everything is too long. Now that the skinny jean is in fashion, I've given up on jeans. Why can't women's sizes be labeled with actual inches and cms rather than random numbers.

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