Finding Clothes That Fit and Flatter

How to make sense of sizes

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

You've worked hard dieting and exercising, and you've finally lost those 10 (or 20, or 50, or more) pounds. Now you just can't wait to buy some new clothes to show off your fitter figure.

But one trip to the mall, and you might start wishing for your old body back. The reason? No matter what you try on, nothing seems to fit! The slacks that fit your waist are too snug in the hips. The size 10 you used to wear swallows you in one store, and is tight in another. And trying to decipher the different sizing systems -- missy, juniors, women's -- sets your head spinning.

But before you give up and go back to your oversized sweats, read on for some advice from experts in the clothing industry on how to make sense of sizes.

We'll start with some good news: It's not your body that's to blame.

One problem with today's clothing sizes is that as a nation, our basic shape has been gradually changing. Yet much of the clothing industry hasn't yet recognized that fact. At least, that's the conclusion of SizeUSA, a research project from textile company [TC]2 that recently set out to determine today's true American size standards.

"We heard a lot of complaints from consumers about not being able to find clothes that fit them, which is what led us to develop this project," which was jointly sponsored by manufacturers and the U.S. Commerce Department, says SizeUSA director Jim Lovejoy.