The Ultimate Fit Guide for Women: Designed to take the guessing out of finding the right fit, we’re breaking down all aspects of picking the right size for you.
It’s a common dilemma among many women. You go into a store and grab some pants you love. They are in your usual size, so you go to try them on and find it’s impossible to even pull them up past your thighs! Suddenly, you find yourself in one of those crises where you’re questioning whether you gained weight without realizing, feeling like the sizing is defective, or that the store is playing some psychological game with you.
So what gives? Why are you all of a sudden a completely different size in one shirt compared to another?
GS LOVE Carries “Junior Fit” Women’s Clothing
For starters, did you know that we carry a “junior fit” in both our online and brick and mortar stores, as opposed to a standard fit? A lot of the sizing confusion often boils down to being unaware of the different sizing categories that are used by stores.
After receiving feedback from our community about why some styles we carry seem to run small, we decided to create a fit guide to help you navigate the difference between the categories of women’s clothing sizing and take the frustration out of getting the right size when you shop. You’ll learn about the history of sizing, the differences between a junior and standard fit, and tips for picking out the perfect size for you.
Throughout this guide, we want to reiterate the fact that above everything, if you find yourself sizing up or down, it doesn’t necessarily say anything about your actual size; it may simply be an indication of the sizing categorization of the clothing. Sizes from different labels and vendors can vary greatly, just as different restaurants give out different amounts of food for small, medium, and large dishes.
Ultimately, size is just an arbitrary number and doesn’t actually indicate anything, besides being a helpful tool to get clothes that fit right. With that being said, let’s break the size guide down and explain the junior fit, so you never get confused when picking out our clothes again.
The History of Women’s Sizing
To understand the current categories of sizing, it’s important to understand the history that led to what we see in fashion today.
The three categories that have traditionally existed for women’s clothing are ‘juniors,’ ‘misses’ and ‘womens’. Aspects of these terms have become slightly outdated, but once upon a time they had significant meanings in terms of style and fit.
Juniors was originally created as a distinction in clothing for teenage girls. As younger girls tend to have less developed bodies, including smaller hips and breasts, this clothing was made with narrow cuts. For the most part, the clothing was also trendier, tighter, and revealed more skin. The sizes for juniors ran small in order to offer smaller sizes for younger girls in their early teens.
Misses was meant to be in between juniors and women’s clothing. It was also the most common sizing you would see in a ‘standard’ store. The clothing had a slimmer fit than ‘women’s’ sizing, but with some leeway for more mature women with larger hips and breasts. It tended to be somewhat trendy, but less daring than juniors.
Historically, ‘women’s’ clothing was a step up from misses, in that it was geared towards more mature women and body types. Clothing in this category would often be more conservative and less form fitting than juniors or misses. The sizing for women’s and misses clothing ran larger than juniors, in order to have more sizes for the varying body types women have.
Fast Forward to Women’s Sizing Categories Today
This was the distinction years ago. Today, women’s and misses sizes have mostly morphed together as one, as women have moved away from such segregated styles for different ages and body types. Juniors has maintained a separate distinction but is not confined to teenagers.
Women who no longer want to be relegated to less trendy clothing are shopping more and more for juniors clothing, and the guidelines that once defined who juniors clothing was meant for have become increasingly blurred — which we think is a great thing! All women should have access to the clothing styles they like.
“The difference between juniors and standard — what used to be women’s and misses— clothing is now much less about the ages and body types of its customers and more about the style of clothing.”
But this is where misunderstanding occurs — the difference between juniors and standard (what used to be women’s and misses) clothing is now much less about the ages and body types of its customers and more about the style of clothing. But they have retained some differences in their sizing. Junior still tends to run smaller than standard sizing — with some exceptions that we will go into — and women may find themselves looking at clothing that doesn’t fit the way they are used to. This makes it difficult to shop for what they really want.
In terms of plus size, people often don’t realize that the same distinction between standard and juniors exists here as well. When there were fewer companies selling plus clothing, there used to only be one size group, which was more aligned with standard sizing (i.e. wider hips and busts, loose fitting clothing, etc). As companies realized plus size women didn’t want to be limited to conservative clothing and wanted to dress trendy as well, juniors plus size was added to give plus size women more options.
Plus size juniors use the same junior’s sizing described above. If shopping for plus size juniors, you may find some styles running at least a size smaller than they would be at a ‘standard’ plus size store. Remember, at GS LOVE our clothing uses junior’s plus sizing.
How to Tell the Differences Between Juniors and Standard Clothing
At this point, the difference between juniors and standard sizing should be more clear. If you’re still a little confused, there are multiple ways to tell whether the store you are shopping at is juniors or standard.
We go by four standard ways to tell whether the clothing is juniors; checking out a store’s website or sizing chart, the numbering of sizes, comparing fabrics, and distinguishing between styles.
Clues from the Website
When trying to find out whether a company is juniors or standard, always make sure to check out the company’s website and see if it simply says juniors. This may sound obvious but it’s often a missed step, particularly when looking for plus size clothing, as companies don’t explicitly tend to say whether their plus is juniors or standard since it can be so confusing.
If you can’t find any information this way, then it’s always best to see if they have a sizing chart. Look at the sizing guide and compare it to a company’s sizing that you know is either standard or junior. Since many of GS Love’s labels use junior’s sizing, feel free to use our guide to compare it with other websites and see if they are juniors as well.
Size Numbering: Odds vs. Evens
Another easy way to see whether a company is selling plus or juniors is to look at the numbering of the sizing. Juniors clothing will most likely use odd numbers for sizing, while standard will use even numbers. For example, if you look at our juniors section, you will find our sizes go up from 0, 1, 3, 5, etc, while a standard store would have 0, 2, 4, 6, etc.
In plus, and with clothing items such as shirts and dresses, both standard and junior clothing will have labels such as 1X, 2X, 3X or small, medium, large. That’s where it can get tricky and hard to spot the differences. Even though our plus size is juniors, we also use even numbers for clothes such as pants.
Just remember that juniors sizing can vary based on fabric type, and for less stretchy fabrics such as polyester you may find yourself sizing up. So if you normally wear a 1X in plus, it may be a wise decision to get a 2X depending on the fabric when you are shopping in a juniors plus site.
Differences in Fabrics
Another difference between juniors and standards clothing is the fabrics. Juniors is normally positioned to have a lower price point, as it is geared towards a younger and price conscious customer. As it is trendier fashion, the styles also change quicker opposed to standard sizing labels that may be able to spend lots of resources on a single shirt.
In other words, junior labels tend to spread out their resources to more clothes so they can provide a higher quantity of styles. For this reason, juniors sizing may just have small, medium, and large or 1x, 2x, 3x for jean shorts, rather than a large scale of numbers. To accommodate different body shapes, stretchier fabrics are commonly used. If you are in a store and see it has less specific sizing than others, you could be shopping in a juniors store.
Style and Cut
Juniors clothing is often tighter fitting with shorter cuts. This means you would be more likely to find a bodycon dress in a junior fitting store than a standard store, and bottoms may be a bit more cheeky. These rules are important to remember when choosing certain items of clothing. If you are taller and are buying from a juniors clothing site, just remember if you buy shorts or a dress they may be cut differently than if you were to buy from a standard size clothing store. Same thing goes for shopping at a standard store if you are used to juniors. Clothing may be longer and larger than you are used to.
Tips When Choosing Clothing and Sizing
At this point, we’ve gone over the history behind sizing categories and the ways to differentiate between them. Now, here are some tips for weighing the different qualities of items and picking out the best fit for you.
As we’ve learned by now, sizing is not the way to judge your actual size. The only way to truly figure out if something will fit you perfectly is to measure yourself and compare it to a size guide. The three sections to focus on are your bust, waist, and hips. To measure each area you will need a tape measure. It doesn’t hurt to have a friend to help you hold it while you get the numbers, but it can easily be done alone. Here is how to measure each:
For your bust, measure around your chest from the furthest reaching point of your breasts.
Find the smallest area of your torso. Then measure around your body in this position once again.
For your hips, measure around your hips at the widest part of your hips.
Use these numbers to compare to the website’s sizing chart. Here is ours:
Fabric Fit Guide
It’s always important to not only consider the sizing of your clothing but the fabric it is made out of as well. Not all fabrics are made equal, and some are much more flexible and easy to fit into when it comes to sizing than others.
Not all fabrics are made equal, and some are much more flexible and easy to fit into when it comes to sizing than others.
The main fabrics we carry at GS LOVE are rayon, cotton, nylon, and polyester. Each has a different amount of stretch and way that they fit your body. Here is a description of each fabric listed from stretchiest to least stretchy:
The stretchiest, and one of our favorite fabrics when going for a comfortable and dependable fit is rayon. Truly, we can’t recommend it enough. Rayon is one of the best fitting fabrics around and hugs snuggly to your body. Since rayon is so stretchy, you can feel comfortable buying clothes made out of it in your typical size. No need to size up if you are shopping in juniors, this fabric has some stretch so you can feel safer with your purchase.
Next on the list of stretchy fabrics is cotton. While not as stretchy as rayon, this fabric still has some give. You won’t be able to fit into a size above or below your average size, but you can still feel pretty confident when ordering the size you are used to.
Nylon has almost no stretch, but it still offers some flexibility. The important thing to remember with nylon is that it is very delicate, and may easily rip, particularly when it is used to create see through clothing. When buying nylon, it may be a good idea to size up if you are concerned something might be too tight, so you don’t have to worry about getting holes in your item from it being stretched.
Polyester is the fabric with the least stretch. When buying a polyester item of clothing, the size of the shirt when you loosely hold it up is the size it will stay. If buying polyester, it may be a good idea to size up with a junior fit, as it will be more constricting than other clothing. The need to size up is also contingent upon the amount of spandex in the clothing. If clothes are made out of 100% polyester, follow our advice and size up. But if you see the clothes are 90% polyester and 10% spandex, they will actually be pretty stretchy and you can stay true to size. Spandex is very stretchy and just a little bit goes a long way in making clothes more flexible. So the more spandex, the more stretch. This goes for other fabrics mixed with spandex as well.
Jeans are important to keep in mind when it comes to varying sizing. For the most part our jeans run true to size, however, our distressed jeans tend to have less stretch and run a little bit smaller. So if you are looking for distressed jeans, size up just in case.
If you’re unsure of a fit, avoid clothes that are lacking any elasticity or stretch. Also, if you are shopping for a looser fitting piece of clothing, remember that it is not always super important to match your ‘size’ to the clothing. It would be great if all clothes could be worn as the designer intended and give us the look you want, but that’s not always the case.
PRO-TIP: If you’re wanting to get a shirt that is a little oversized, but having trouble finding one, just size up a little bit.
Consider the Cut
Are you getting a tight top and have a large bust? Buy a size up so you can make sure the shirt isn’t stretched over your chest. You should never feel restricted or as if you can’t wear a certain style that you think suits another body type better — wear what makes you feel good. But it’s helpful to keep in mind how certain styles fit your body and size accordingly, so you can wear ANY style well.
Below is an example of one of our clothing items and the way it fits on different body types. This is made out of a polyester fabric, which means it is not very stretchy. Notice how it fits differently on each model? (All models shown are wearing 1X.)
And here is another example of the differences that can exist in a clothing item based off of its cuts. This is a shorter dress, which is something to be taken into consideration, based on your height.
If you are concerned about a clothing item being too short or long, note that you can find the height and size of the model wearing the outfit in the description.
Try On More Clothes
Experience is key when it comes to choosing the clothes that are right for you. Of course, it may always not be possible to go into a store and try on clothes. GS LOVE has brick and mortar stores across Southern California, but if you are outside of the city you may not have the luxury of trying on all our clothes. Don’t despair —try on other juniors clothing and see the difference in fit compared to other stores. Order a shirt and test it out before doing a large order. Build up your arsenal of knowledge so you don’t feel lost when shopping again.
Advice From The Pros
We spoke to fashion influencer, PassionJonesz, to hear what advice she had to give about how to find the perfect fit. Here’s what she said:
“If I am unsure about sizing I usually go a size up. Bigger clothes can always be taken in or adjusted to your shape. I also love stretchy pieces because those feel the most comfortable to me especially when it comes to jeans. However, you have to be careful when it comes to really stretchy pieces because they can become unflattering if it’s not the right stretch fabric.”
What is Important to Remember: SELF-LOVE
The most important thing to remember is that your body is not defined by a number. Smaller sizing in juniors is not meant to trip you up or make you feel uncomfortable about yourself, it is simply a tool for choosing clothing.
The most important thing to remember is that your body is not defined by a number.
Women’s bodies vary greatly and there is no one size that is good or bad. Don’t look at sizing as something negative to shame you. Embrace your body and look at it as a guide that can help you to look as best as you possibly can. Using your size as a means to value your worth just hurts everyone. You may end up wasting money buying clothes that don’t fit you to get to an unrealistic image in your head and in the end, will just end up feeling bad about yourself.
Take the guessing out of the matter. Take your power back by integrating these hints into your life and never feel confused by sizing again. In order to get the clothes that fit you best, it’s important to always look at the sizing charts. But it’s even more important to make sure to nourish yourself and not get too caught up in sizes at all.