I have been the same size since I was about 14 and decided to stop growing (oh womanly curves, ye do desert me!), so I am going to admit first up that personally it doesn't affect me hugely. I can pretty safely be an 8 or 10 or XS or S in every label. However, once you get past a 10, or indeed if you are smaller than an 8, the road to the perfect fit is fraught with difficulties. The whole sizing issue does affect me once I'm dressed for the day and start work - we get loads of emails daily regarding sizing, and spend a decent amount of time trying stuff on, measuring and generally getting the fit across a range of body shapes. If trying on clothes in store is hard, how in the hell are you meant to be able to buy them online?!
Well, it's not easy. Frustratingly, most labels either don't have or won't give out measurement charts (as another online retailer also notes in the CHOICE article). This is in part to deny their competition easy access to their sizing, which is fair enough, but for every customer email querying sizing, there are a number of Frockers tearing their hair out at the lack of information we have. (Not to say don't email us, please do!).
Standardised sizing won't work. Labels won't go for it as it would compromise design, and it would be an immensely difficult task. My vote goes for making it if not mandatory then at least expected that labels would make their size charts easily accessible instores and online. Come on guys, if one label does it, everyone else will have to, to keep up...even rough measurements work, to a degree.
So, when you're buying online, use any size charts that are available. We put them up when we have them, and we will of course measure things for you - but even these will be approximate, ye olde measuring tape is not foolproof! Another good method, if available to you, is to tory on things from different brands when you are out shopping, and then when you are seeking them out online (for a better price of course!) you'll know whether to go for an 8 or 12 or M or whatever. We keep a record of customer feedback to pass on to other customers - so if you have any, please tell us, and do your little bit of good for women worldwide*. I was as surprised as anyone to find that French Kitty has a pretty generous fit, pleased to see One Teaspoon scale their sizing down a bit to be more standardised, and glad that Blue Juice tops and jackets are consistent even if their pants are a bit big. So, speak up, ask away, we're here to help as best we can!
*Yes, there are more worthy causes on the planet at the moment. Issues of clothing size are not as pressing as say, climate change, but heck it's one facet of everyday life that could be made easier. Fingers crossed