On the whole, women’s products in the boardsports industry are geared to juniors fourteen to 24 years old. However, because clothing sizing and fit is determined by individual manufacturers, the same seventeen-year-old girl may wear a size seven in one brand, while relegated to a size nine in another.
But with a plethora of body types, distant overseas production facilities, and no real sizing standards, how are fits actually determined and maintained? Despite the growing obesity problem of America’s youth, many of the women’s and juniors’ also lines seem to be made with a single idealized customer in mind.
This quintessential customer often says more about the brand’s image than the girls who actually are out shopping in stores do. The discrepancies are not only frustrating for the consumer, but also can be daunting for retail buyers.
The Tape Lies: Size Matters
When it comes to determining the actual numerical size of women’s clothing, criteria vary greatly from brand to brand. The problem is, even though the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) does offer women’s body measurement tables, there really aren’t current standard measurements for women.
Created in 1941, the ASTM charts show measurements for many different body types and forms. In the garment industry this means there are separate charts for women’s dresses, women’s plus sizes, maternity, women aged 55 plus, girls, juniors, misses, and womens. The plethora of categories is confusing, and the measurements are largely out of date. In light of this, most boardsports designers typically only use the juniors’ or misses’ sizing charts as very rough guidelines.
“There were government standards that Roxy analyzed and reviewed to help create their base size in the very beginning,” explains Roxy’s Director Of Pre-production Tina Kastelan. “Over time we’ve checked to make sure we’re all consistent with our competitors in the marketplace.”
As Kastelan explains, size is actuality determined by each brand: “For Roxy, specifically for the juniors’ (apparel) line, we look for a size-seven fit model. We have our very specific measurements that we take, that we make sure the model falls in line with. Those specifications keep the base size consistent.”
Using its determined size-seven fit model, Roxy then gradates the measurements for its zero to thirteen sized line. Other brands may use different starting points and corresponding fit models for the size basis for their lines.
According to Kastelan, using different sized fit models can create discrepancies from brand to brand: “When someone is fitting on a size five, they may call it a size five