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Let's be honest: size charts are infuriating. Every brand is different, but why?

Over the next several weeks, we'll be sharing the reality behind size charts: how they're created, why they're never the same, and what you - as a wearer of clothing - can do about the gross disparity of sizing in apparel.

Part One: How are size charts even created?

First, it's important to understand how apparel is made in general. When building a brand, apparel designers identify the ideal customer of the brand, usually someone in the middle of the size range. They then find a person, called a fit model, who matches the designer's vision for this ideal customer. This person's measurements are taken, and then clothing patterns and prototypes are made to fit that person specifically. Once the perfect garment is made, pattern makers go through a process called grading to algorithmically define the other sizes. The differences in each size are called grade rules, and they are specifically used to determine the various measurements of each garment.

These grade rules are an essential part of the development of the size charts we know and find so frustrating.

It's important to note that in the United States, most size charts are based on the body's measurements (e.g. the measurements of the person wearing the clothing), not the clothes' measurements. Garment ease is the amount of room needed for a piece of clothing to conform to the wearer's body, e.g. you need room in the hips and thighs in a pair of pants to be able to stand, sit down, and move in the garment without the seams tearing or fabric obtrusively bunching.

Converting garment measurements into body measurements is a skill that takes many years to perfect. Brands work with pattern makers and product developers with this knowledge in order to develop their grade rules and their size charts.

So if there's one thing you should take away from this post, it's this: size charts are built around a brand's vision for who they think is wearing their clothes. They are built around an actual human, but usually only ONE human - and most brands have their own specific human that they work with. In other words, size charts are *unique* to each brand. (For better or worse.)

Here at Alpine Parrot, we built our size chart from scratch. We made zero assumptions about grade rules, and instead worked with fit testers from around the country to create sizes that fit a variety of bodies, regardless of any preconceived notion of what sizes might mean in other brands. The result is an incredible fit for most of our customers. Do we fit everyone? No, that's not possible when you make apparel at scale. But our different fit styles mean that we can cater to more people than most brands, and we're really proud of that!

Next week, we'll talk about why sharing isn't caring, and why it's actually better that size charts aren't the same across brands.