Apparently, if you’re a 6’2″ woman with a 35″ inseam and a 27″ waist, it’s difficult to find pants on sale. Who knew?

Seriously, the sizing of women’s clothing has long baffled me. Men’s clothing tends to be easy: pants are sold based on waist and inseam measurements; dress shirts based on collar size and sleeve length; suits on shoulder width and height variation; and so on. And there’s just one men’s section called, conveniently, “the men’s section.” Women’s clothing is sold by rather arbitrary sizes that vary widely from designer to designer and is then put into bizarre categories like Juniors, Misses, Petite, and, oddly, Women–the latter of which, the best I can determine, the equivalent of “husky.” While women of Megan’s proportions are, sadly, rare, women do come in varying heights. Why doesn’t their clothing?

As to clearance sales and such, it’s not surprising that the unpopular sizes are always what’s available. I do find it strange that stores continue to stock so much in those sizes, though, year after year. Does anyone actually wear, for example, a size Small t-shirt? Even 97-pound weaklings wear a Large. I know some stores get forced to buy clothing in lots and thus don’t have so much control over the amount of each size they get. But, surely, J. Crew is large enough to demand to stock orders properly?

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kathy K says:

    Wow. I’ve haven’t seen a size small t-shirt since I left Thailand. I’ll wear that size if I can find it.

  2. Janis Gore says:

    Gosh, Kathy. You must be tiny. I thought you were more than 10 years old.

  3. Hey, now, I wear a women’s small t-shirt but it has nothing to do with a tiny circumference. Mediums are so long that they bunch up when I tuck them in. But on the flip-side of Megan’s dilemma is being 5’2″ with an hour-glass shape. My pants are either short enough but won’t go over my hips, or they go over my hips but have 4 extra inches in the legs and waist. Hence, I wear skirts.

  4. Small T-shirts are about all I’ll wear, unless it’s an oversized T-shirt for sleeping in. I do *not* like that baggy effect, and not being able to tuck my T-shirt into my jeans.

    I’m like Kate (hour-glass figure, 5′ 1 1/2″). But I do like to wear slacks and jeans. This means I have to 1) buy them for full price at Nordstrom, where alterations are free; 2) pay a tailor, or the seamstress at my dry cleaner, to hem them, or 3) try to hem them myself, which often leads to them lying in little heaps around the house, like a half-dozen other half-done projects.

    Anyone here ever have to shop for Ladies 4 1/2 shoes? I thought not.

  5. Paul says:

    6’2″ woman with a 35″ inseam and a 27″ waist

    YIKES! I’m 6’3″ with a 30 inch inseam. I know I have a long toro but still!