Purchasing the wrong sized clothing can be frustrating and costly. This article will discuss the difference between the sizes 1XL and XL.

Size 1XL vs XL

Women’s clothing sizes are consistently insistent, particularly for women who are a bit curvier. If nothing ever fits, you’re not alone. For many women, the search for a brand or a designer is primary; once they find a brand that fits and offers consistent sizing, they stick with it.

It’s The Curves

The fundamental difference between a plain XL and a 1XL is the curve factor, or the percentage difference between the narrow part of the hourglass and the fullest point.

When organizing sizes, most women’s clothing designers start with juniors. This is the leanest size range, generally reserved for younger, more athletic women.

Often, these sizes are listed by odd numbers.

Misses sizes are generally even numbers, from 0 to 18. The size designation of XL generally covers sizes 16 and 18.

The size designation 1XL is generally related to women’s sizes instead of misses sizes and include a larger gap or difference between waist and hip and waist and bust.

Women’s size designations generally refer to someone with a higher body fat ratio and includes fuller hips and a larger bust in relation to the waist.

The history on all of this is both short and, frankly, weird.

women in denim jeans

Historic Fashion Standards: When Hips Didn’t Matter

Back when women’s clothes were custom-made, a dressmaker only needed a woman’s bust size to build a dress; the waist could be nipped with a belt and the skirt was flared.

If a woman could not afford a dress, she could start with a skirt and add a shirtwaist. This garment offered a lot of flexibility; the sleeves could be fairly long because the cuffs were tight and the extra length was part of the ruffle.

The body of the shirtwaist was actually quite loose but pleated at the front so the blouse could be tucked in and kept tidy.

By 1925, younger women often chose the flapper dress, which was built around the circumference of the hips and cut fairly straight from shoulder to hem.

Of course, after 1929, many women were just trying to make the garments they had last as long as possible. During the early 1940s, the Works Progress Administration did a study of female shoppers trying to develop a sizing standard for factory workers trying to mass-produce garments for women of all ages.

Curiously, one of the challenges in collecting useful data that would actually serve the need was that women didn’t want to share their measurements with shopkeepers. In reaction, the government issued numbers to track the gradations of the female shape.

woman wearing 1920's fashion
1920’s fashion

Garment Cut and Fabric Matters

Over time, the cut of garments and the fabrics used had an impact on the specifics of the sizing charts. Many nylon products were blended into fabrics that allowed a bit more give and stretch; if a woman needed a large, a medium could work if it stretched a bit.

Styles of the 60s included smocks and caftans, celebrating the advent of “one size fits most.” Additionally, the use of nylon and synthetic products in women’s undergarments had a huge impact on the ability of women to put a large body into a medium dress.

The 1940’s girdle started under the bra strap and stopped at the top of the thighs with attachments for silk stockings. As dresses got shorter, the girdle stopped at the flare of the hip or was replaced by pantyhose.

One size fits none tag

Problems Caused by Vanity Sizing

The practice of vanity sizing is causing even more problems when trying to figure out what size you need to purchase. Vanity sizing refers to the changing of the size on the tag of the garment in relation to the dimensions of the item.

These changes have been quite radical and many are confusing; what was a size 12 in 1958 is now either a 6 or an 8. Depending on the brand, a size 6 pair of women’s jeans can actually have a difference and a gap of up to 6 inches from one maker to another.

Of course, the placement of the waist and where it’s supposed to fall on the body is also making a difference in the dimension of the “waistband.” As fashion trends change, the fit of women’s pants is in constant flux.

pair of navy jeans

Follow the Money

The majority of American women fall into the plus size range. For women who are uncomfortable purchasing a size 16W, the ability to buy a 0X or a 1X may feel slimmer, but the dimensions don’t change.

Sadly, the rise in online shopping by many consumers results in deliveries of garments that don’t fit. Returns either don’t happen, or the retailer instructs the customer to donate or discard the item.

This unwillingness and inability to accept returns by many retailers is causing prices to climb and landfills to fill up. Many producers of garments simply build in a loss factor when pricing their items; everyone in the supply chain knows that there will be a percentage of loss each time a new product line hits the warehouse shelves.

Buying clothes online is a bit like playing the lottery. If they get a winning garment that fits well, many shoppers will simply purchase several pieces from the same product line in a size that they know fits to save worries and waste. Because size numbers don’t matter, many shoppers also do not believe size charts.

shopping online with a laptop

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