What Is a Size Chart?
A size chart is an essential tool that represents the ideal customer body type for a brand's range of sizes. It consists of a set of main body measurements that serve as a guide for designing styles and ensuring consistent fit across the brand. While there are over 60 points on the body that can be measured, most ready-to-wear (RTW) brands typically focus on 15-25 key measurements, as measuring all points is usually reserved for custom fit or pattern drafting.
In the fashion industry, there is no universal size standard. While it is important for brands to pay attention to sizing trends within their specific garment category, the way in which a brand presents its sizing is entirely up to them. Creating a unique method of sizing can foster a community of loyal customers who take the time to understand the brand's sizing and find the best fit for themselves, rather than comparing it to external sizing trends.
Why Your Fashion Brand Needs a Size Chart
Having a size chart for your fashion brand can bring several benefits and positively impact your brand in the following ways:
1. Helping customers understand what to buy:
By providing a size chart, you empower your customers to make informed decisions about their purchases. This leads to increased customer loyalty, positive buying experiences, and reduced returns or customer service inquiries. Educating customers upfront reduces the need for additional assistance, instills confidence in their purchases, and encourages repeat business, saving time and resources on customer support.
2. Creating consistent sizing across your collection:
A well-designed size chart ensures consistent sizing across different styles within your brand. This allows for faster style development, less time and money spent on prototypes and fittings, and sets reliable expectations for customers. By establishing a good understanding of your sizing with your manufacturing partners, you can streamline the production process, leading to cost and time savings.
3. Defining your brand's unique customer body type:
A size chart helps define your brand's target market by identifying the specific body type your garments cater to. This knowledge enables you to provide clear messaging that resonates with your customer base. Understanding your customer's body type on a deeper level allows you to tailor your designs and marketing strategies to better meet their needs and preferences.
Internal vs. External Size Charts
There are two types of size charts: internal (private) and external (public) size charts.
External (Public) Size Chart:
An external size chart is intended to educate customers about your brand's specific sizing. Typically, it includes four main measurements: bust, waist, hip, and height. However, depending on the garment type, additional measurements like inseam for bottoms may be included. This type of size chart is commonly displayed on retailers' websites to guide customers in selecting the right size.
Internal (Private) Size Chart:
An internal size chart is used for developing garments and maintaining consistent sizing across different styles within your brand. It contains more detailed measurements, usually ranging from 15 to 25 points. Some examples of measurement points include height, bust, waist, hip, shoulder, neck, arm length, thigh, inseam, and more. The specific measurements included in your internal size chart depend on the type of garments you are developing.
How to Create a Size Chart
To create an effective size chart, follow these five steps:
1. Identify your customer and their body type:
Define your target customer's body composition by considering factors such as age, gender, height, shape, tone, and nationality. Creating a customer profile supported by data and research helps you understand your ideal customer's body type more comprehensively.
2. Research and source sizing information:
Compile sizing data that directly relates to your target customer's unique body type. References can include competitor size charts, fashion design textbooks, ASTM sizing standards, fit model or fit form measurements, and pre-made size charts from fashion companies, educators, or independent technical designers.
3. Compare and analyze the data:
Compare the sizing data from the different sources from step 2 and analyze it. Set up a comparison template, such as an Excel spreadsheet, to facilitate the comparison process. Look for measurements that stand out, observe trends, and calculate averages to gain insights into what sizing looks like among your target market.
4. Make decisions:
Based on the collected data, make informed decisions on how it applies to your ideal customer body type. Consider how the measurements compare across resources, account for unique body characteristics of your customer, and use percentages to determine measurements when reference points are missing. Experience and familiarity with your customer base will help you make accurate decisions and adjustments as needed.
5. Finalize your chart:
Create a clear and visually appealing size chart that identifies where each measurement is taken (e.g., bust, waist, hip) and includes each size within your size range. You can use programs like Word, Excel, or Illustrator to build the table, incorporating your company branding or creative details.
Here’s an example of what a final (external) size chart might look like:
Remember that a size chart is a valuable tool that evolves over time. Regularly review and update it as you gather more data, gain insights, and make improvements to better serve your customers.
Hey, I'm Natalie, the founder of Points of Measure! As a specialist in Technical Outerwear and Couture, I’m dedicated to empowering your fashion career by bridging the gap between creative and technical fashion design. Visit pointsofmeasure.com for fashion education, strategic design templates, and resources to streamline your fashion journey.
Related Articles & Tools:
Identifying Your Customer’s Body Type Tutorial (How to Create a Customer Profile): https://www.pointsofmeasure.com/tutorials-education/finding-your-ideal-customer-body-type
Pre-made Size Charts (Assorted Body Types):
How to Measure a Model:
Model Measurement Form & Guide: