Zara Needs To Grow Up

Aeryn Lynne

I’ve come across a couple posts today (surprisingly “old” ones published back in March and August), discussing Zara’s size charts and the fact that their clothes seem to fit a couple sizes too small.  So I decided to check it out for myself, and found myself once again perturbed with unregulated sizing.

To be fair, I’ve compared the Zara US sizing chart and an Addition Elle/MXM sizing chart (one that I’m comfortable in promoting for near accurate sizing imho,) primarily for L and XL sizes.  When a label is sized numerically, you’ll see that the 12’s and 14’s are comparable in sizes for both companies, so all is good (assuming Zara actually sticks to those sizes when making the clothes).

But when the labels are sized L/XL, you’ll notice quite a discrepancy in size difference.  A woman’s Size 8 is comparable to a size L according to the Zara chart.

Uh… no.

This actually brings me back to my university days, which was a long time ago.  I was hoping that things would change with over a decade of room to do so, but this morning I was sadly demystified on that notion.

You see, way back then, I went shopping with a friend whom even at that time was much smaller than me.  I would guess that in regular size clothing, she was a Large.  But the clothes that she had tried on wouldn’t fit unless she picked up the 2XL (that’s two sizes in difference.)  I could plainly see a whole range of emotions on her face as she went through denial: “I can’t have gained that much,” sadness: “OMG, I’ve gained weight,” and anxiety:  “OMG, I’m FAT!!”

Back then I was bouncing between 1X and 2X, and I knew how she felt.  It was a hard lesson for me to accept myself, except, there wasn’t a reason for her to feel that way.

She was healthy and all around perfect, not an inch of unnecessary fat to her bones, but a clothing label was trying to tell her different.  And in a funk, she didn’t buy anything that day, even though the 2XL looked great on her.

I boycotted that store as much as I could ever since, especially their clothing department (and despite being a large chain, they recently closed all of their doors earlier this year.)

This isn’t a game.

Companies like Zara need to stop messing with people’s heads, especially since they cater to an entire family line, including children.

We as a society need to stop worrying about a stupid number that only the wearer is going to see.

We are all beautiful.

And unregulated size labels can go off themselves.

Zara Size Chart

Addition Elle Size Chart

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Aeryn Lynne

The Geek at Geek Life
Living in Superman's Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, fights for fashion-equality, squees over comic art, and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction.
Aeryn Lynne

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14 Comments on “Zara Needs To Grow Up

November 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

you are so right Aeryn! it makes no sense for companies to go messing with sizes like that or our heads!

Yee Wittle Things
November 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm

So very true! I don’t know why companies do that and it’s definitely frustrating for people of all sizes!

Mommy Outside
November 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

This is why I love Europe and European stores (like H&M and ASOS) the sizes are standardized. It’s actually the law in some countries. I can walk into any store that uses European or UK sizing and know exactly what size is going to fit me every time.

Pam Young
November 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I’ve left stores completely disappointed with trying to find sizes. Great post – I hope clothing retailers open their eyes.

Bonnie Way
November 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Interesting. I grew up sewing my own clothes – so in patterns, I was a size 12 or 14 most of the way through my teens. Then I started shopping with my friends… and, you guessed it, I wasn’t a size 12 or 14. I’m about a 0 or a 2, depending on the store. Mom explained it as “vanity sizing” in the stores. Even today, I find it confusing to walk into most stores, because I don’t go shopping very often (just when I need something) and I can’t remember what size I am – and every store seems to have its own sizing. Regulated sizes would be awesome so I’d know what size I am no matter where I shop.

November 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Wow! Great post, Aeryn! I often wondered why sizes aren’t standard all across the board and why some clothing just ‘fit’ differently even if they’re the same size. I can see how that can mess with a person. I was excited to go to the U.S. and get all my clothing in size 10 and have them all be TOO BIG on me! In Canada, I’m a size 12-14!

Nancy Polanco
November 15, 2012 at 12:12 am

What an amazing story and post Aeryn. I know I’ve walked out of stores feeling defeated because of this. A company should realize that unfortunately size matters and makes an impact on how we feel as women. Even though we are all perfect and beautiful just as we are, it’s always nice to leave a store feeling great about a purchase and how we look in it. <3

Maegan Morin
November 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for the post! I have such a hard time with sizing and labels because I myself am a 2x/3x/4x I have no idea what my real size is anymore so I try my best to just try the dam clothes on and ignore the size. If it looks good wear it! Right?
I do know how your friend felt though. Companies need to grow up. They are ruining people and giving them a negative body image when they shouldnt have one at all and it makes me sad. Thanks again for the post. Definately something to think about.

Savvy Suburban Mama
November 26, 2012 at 1:05 am

I so totally agree with you. It’s amazing how different a ‘size’ can be depending on the store or brand. I do wish it was regulated. I only shop in stores now that are realistic with sizing – who needs the mental kick. Women have enough negative issues with body image – we don’t need more.

I was stopping by to welcome you since you recently signed up at the Biannual Blogathon Bash. ( ) I’m a greeter so wanted to say hello. I know you’ll get lots accomplished (and I loved your SEO post last year, by the way. First time it ever made sense to me)

December 13, 2012 at 2:19 am

I just wish companies would stop sizing me out of existence with their vanity sizing. I have a 31-22-35 figure and I’m 5’4″. Everything is a tent on me. Why don’t stores carry small and large sizes??

February 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Great post on calling Zara out! I hate that sizing in clothes is so inconsistent. I wish there was some regulation to make sure all brands follow the same sizing chart which makes not just buying clothes easier but it also doesn’t make people feel ‘fat’.

March 2, 2013 at 5:35 am

I have a different beef with Zara. I know I am at the top end of their size chart. But when I head into my local Zara, over the past 10 years or so, I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually every seen a tag that had a double digit size on it. I might find one large in the entire store on an average day. Maybe. So I don’t even go any more. The odds of finding something I can stick my arm in is less than 1%.

Randi Gaspard
March 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm

So basically. You are saying that These sizes are ridiculous? I’m a XS on Zaras chart. Do you know how Hard it is for me to find clothes? I realize that you might have trouble too, but I was super excited to find a brand that I fit in. The problem with this chart is not the measurements, it’s the fact that I’m a minority in America. You want to talk about Zara messing with people’s heads? Every department store messes with MY head when I have to buy clothes for a 12 year old.

Aeryn Lynne
March 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Hi Randi,
What I hope this post conveys is that the mainstream fashion industry is messing with *everyone* regardless of size, when it comes to size labeling. I can only speak of plus-size issues, ’cause those are ones I’m well familiar with, but I do realise that sizing issues go all across the spectrum; in fact, there are a number of posts on this site regarding size equality. For this post essentially, I’m advocating for standardized labeling, so that we all know what to expect when we try something on and not worry if we gained weight if an article is labelled “L”, but should realistically been labeled an “M”. From someone who only has three local places to shop for clothes out of thousands of stores found in the major city I live in, believe me when I say that I’m truly happy for you if you found a place that you can shop at. Zara does have beautiful selections in clothes, jewellery, and I really love their purses.
HTHs! 🙂


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