If you're a woman, you probably already know that clothing sizes are completely ridiculous and vary greatly from store to store. Nevertheless, there is now a chart that confirms the absurdity.
The Washington Post created a chart using statistics from the American Society of Testing Materials, to illustrate how women's clothing sizes have changed over the past 50 years. The charts reveal that a size 8 dress today would be about a size 16 in 1958, based on the same waist and bust measurements.
Though it is true Americans today weigh more than they once did, Slate points out that there are several reasons why the standard sizes released in 1958 might not be so reliable:
The study accounted only for white women; women of color who came in were measured, but their measurements were discarded. And since the study offered a small stipend to anyone who volunteered to be measured, there's a decent chance that the results skewed toward the poor and malnourished. When the NBS re-analyzed the data to produce the commercial standard, they distorted results even further by adding the measurements of women who had served in the Army during World War II — likely among the most fit women in the population.
Standard sizing was eventually scrapped by the American government, and clothing companies started determining their own sizes. Many companies adopted the practice of "vanity sizing." That is, they started assigning smaller sizes to clothing to make women feel good and buy their clothing. So if you've spent your life confused about what size you actually are, this is why.
Head over to The Washington Post to learn more about how women's clothing sizes have changed over the years.
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