Monday, June 25, 2007

Consumer Fraud

How does the women's clothing industry justify charging the exact same amount of money for my size 2's as they do for larger sizes? In some cases, my things use half the amount of fabric and, one assumes, take less time to assemble, so seamstresses can, theoretically, run up several in the time it takes to complete one larger one. It's not fair. Whatever happened to the concept of getting what you pay for?

It isn't easy to find acceptable clothing in small sizes either. I am not an ice cream cone, nor a big fan of ruffles that make their wearer resemble a lampshade.

On top of that, I have to shell out for alterations, while men do not. Their trousers actually come with a raw edge for hemming. It is expected that they will be hemmed to the right length at no extra charge, while I have to pay quite a lot on top of the already inflated purchase prices to avoid tripping. Since the clever makers of women's clothing believe that all women are of my exact weight but 19 feet tall, everything I buy has to be shortened. It's also wasteful. All those two-foot tubes of cut-off denim from the legs of my jeans, stretched end to end, would probably reach from here to the New York garment district, but are utterly useless, good only for lining a hamster cage. If I had a hamster.

I am sure that this accounts for women's adoration of shoes. Shoes do not need to be altered. If you select them out of vanity rather than practicality, they will alter your feet, but shoes do not have to be shortened, taken in, or otherwise adjusted. They are instant gratification attire. You put your feet in and go. And that is what I'm going to do. I'm putting on my shoes and going to New York on Wednesday. I'll be gone for ten days. I don't know if I'll be checking blogs or posting in that time, but I'll try. It beats the hell out of shopping.


Lee said...

I've always thought miniature clothes would be more difficult to make than large ones. I could probably manage making a mu-mu (moo-moo?), but not a size 0 jean. But since I'm kinda little and short, I'm going to agree with you. Less material should cost less!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I failed at muu muu making. Well, actually, it was a flannel nightgown in Home Ec. I sewed the bottom closed and had to bootleg it home so my mother could fix it.

Today I announced that I needed a new bathing suit. Flip wondered how much it would cost. I guestimated. He has seen my bathing suits. They are small.

He wondered how so little could cost so much. It started me thinking...

MsLittlePea said...

Oh hun- you are preaching to me girl. I wear a zero- don't you think it should be free then??? Seriously it should be cheaper dammit. What is up with the ten foot long legs in the jeans? Don't they know if you wear a size as small as that it's most likely because you're short as hell? Tall models live in NY and Miami they can sell those tiny waist long legged pants in those cities and sell the mini-leg ones for us little peeps everywhere else dammit.

Girl on the Run... said...

OH WOW! Your coming to NY! We could have had tea or something! Well next time unless your up for it! Hope you have a wonderful time!


meno said...

You sing it sister! Although i am more Uma-ish.

la cubana gringa said...

I completely agree that it's a pain to constantly have to alter clothes. Being 5'2'' myself, I've collected quite a few pant leg tubes! But, as a seamstress, I have to say, sewing smaller clothes is actually technically more challenging. (Not to burst everyone's bubble!)

Hope you have fun in NYC!! :)

sognatrice said...

Ooh, a trip! Have fun :)

mist1 said...

I'm glad you said it. I think we should have a nude, yet peaceful protest until we pay for the actual yardage used for our clothing.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

Absolutely. Size 0 should be free. In fact, they should pay YOU to take it off their hands.

Honestly, what's wrong with people?


Definitely next time. On this trip, I belong to family, but send me your address and the next time I'm back home, we'll get together.


You and Uma are both very hot chicks. I'm jealous, but I try not to let it get in the way. (I'm not quite as tall as Eva.)

La Cubana,

No bubbles busted. I have a remarkable ability to ignore disagreeable truths, ie those that contradict what I already think.


The way I look at it, New York is 3,000 miles closer to Italy.


Yeah, or in some cases, the actual inch-age.

thethinker said...

You've been tagged with a Rockin' Girl Blogger award.

flutter said...

um yes, well try having a big butt and having every clothing maker assume that you are 2 feet tall or 60 years old. Frustrating.

flutter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, thank you! I'm in very good company! It will be hard to choose only five of my homies, though.


Oh, my dear. It's possible to have a big butt at any size or age.

But, but, butt, what do you have against them?

Josie said...

Take me with you! Take me with you! I {{{heart}}} New York!!! What will you do there? Where will you stay? Lucky you...!

Have you noticed that women pay more for dry cleaning as well? A cotton blouse costs more to dry clean than a man's cotton shirt! Go figure.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Our haircuts cost more than theirs as well. I took Flip to my guy, and his was $10 less.


I'm going to a family party on Long Island, spending some time in the city and then visiting my older daughter upstate.

You know, I would really love to see Vancouver sometime.

Anonymous said...

I have some of the same kind of issues (though, minus the ruffles) being a "less than average" sized man.

As much as clothes shopping seems to promise -- a "new you" -- there always seems to be complications and issues and alterations and wrong sizes and wrong prices. I am beginning to understand the appeal of a simple bathrobe.

thealphafry said...

ha! I love your transition from talking about shopping woes to vacationing in New York... lots of shopping can be had there, but with inflated prices x 100... don't give in! I hear you on the pants shopping though. It's SO hard when you're 5'0 and can't even shop in petites because you're too small for that... hmmm...

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I can't see you in ruffles, either, but maybe a full-sleeved pirate shirt.

I am helpless with a man in a pirate shirt, but bathrobes are good, too, as long as they're not plaid.


I have always found it shocking that in clothes-speak, "petite" can mean very large sizes. There is something absurd about a petite XL.

Thank you for coming by!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but comments are restricted to members only.

Here is my comment to your post:

We live in a society that is obsessed with appearance,and doesn't seem to care as much about substance.

As we get older, the real beauty is in caring about others, which is why they say we earn the face we have after 40.

Ian Lidster said...

Wendy gets pissed off by two things pertaining to costs to women. The one you mentioned about alterations is a big one with her, and the other is, why in the hell do I pay half what she does for a simple haircut, especially considering I go to a unisex salon. I tell her I think it's because a female cuts my hair and I am very, very cute and attractive. She doesn't buy it. Weird, that.
Have a wonderful time in the Big Apple. I know you will.


Open Grove Claudia said...

Actually, most clothing is more expensive if you get it in a larger size - but not much more - like $20 more.

Have fun on your trip!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm with Wendy on this one. Solidly. (Besides, I love her name.)

The haircut thing is very weird. I can understand why mine cost so much because it takes Eric two solid hours to cut it, but ALL women pay more than all men at the very same (non-unisex) place, with the very same stylist.

I think it's because many women just expect to be higher maintenance, which is so unfair to those of us who aren't.


REALLY???!!! I have never shopped in a place where price depended upon size. Please tell me where it is because I could score big there. (Pun intended.)

seventh sister said...

I think that Claudia means that things bought in sizes larger thanthe norm sometimes cost more. Extra length on pants legs, etc. I am with you about everything being cut completely wrong for anyone under 5'6" or so. It is not so much that pant legs are too long as it is that things are too long in the trunk and everywhere else. I am going to try to alter some things tomorrow. I hope I don't destroy them. At 5'2" you would think I could buy petites but my arms are a little to long and the sleeves don't quite do it and the pants are always to short in the srtide while the waist line of a dress will be to high.

Making smaller things is a little more time consuming since you really don't have as much room to work the detailed stuff in.

Have fun on you trip.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I am longer-waisted that the people who make dresses expect me to be, and not being flat-chested is sometimes a problem, too.

Last year I bought a magnificent Bernina sewing machine, which the company calls a "sewing computer." I still haven't learned to use it because I spend so much time on THIS computer.

I feel quite guilty, and really need to start making some of my own clothes as I have far more expensive taste than means.

thailandchani said...

Anything beats the hell out of shopping! :)



heartinsanfrancisco said...


I should qualify that. It beats the hell out of MOST shopping, but there are .. things...!

Anonymous said...

Goodness, I wish i read this sooner as I am not too far from NYC.

When I was a size 2 I thought the same. Now as a 10, I'm glad I don't pay more.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I hadn't thought of it from that point of view. It seems like they could at least average it out or something.

My next trip east will be for friends, old and new. I will sneak in under cover of darkness and my family will be none the wiser.

Where in CT are you?

Cordia Amant said...

I'm also at the shorter end of the scale and always look even shorter because my clothes are too long. Designers must assume that the people buying all their clothes are closer to six foot than five. Definitely not fair for us. There are problably more of us short ones out there anyway.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm sure the designers are trying to make the same garment work for people of every height on the theory that short girls can always shorten it but there is enough length for taller ones, too.

One size fits most.

But if a woman is six feet tall and wears the same size I do because we weigh the same, she is probably about to keel over dead of anorexia.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Welcome and thank you for visiting.

Anonymous said...

I am a little north of New Haven. about 45 min from NYC.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I was in CT briefly Wednesday night. My flight to Islip Airport on L.I. circled for hours, unable to land, and ended up flying to Bradley Airport in Hartford for refueling before finally landing several hours late in NY.

We were in the air about 15 hours on a simple coast to coast trip, which definitely merited another round of peanuts.

So sorry I missed you.

CS said...

I'm with you on this - and also would add that when clothes hit the sales rack, the smaller sizes are rarely there because they stock fewer and are able to sell them full price because it is so hard to find clothes to fit if you are smaller/shorter. Sucks. And I'm with Ian, too (or rather, his wife) on the huge injustice of having to pay more for a basic haircut than men.

urban-urchin said...

YOU BETTER CALL ME WHILE YOU ARE HERE. k? I am going to email you with my info.

Many companies are now doing the raw edge on women's trousers. Nordstrom's is great for free alterations. Also don't feel bad- I'm 5'9 and pants are still too long for me.

Kate S said...

I feel your pain! (and 7th sister's) I'm no longer a size 2, but I'm still only 5'2" but with long arms and legs for my size, hence "petites" don't fit quite right and the next set up is a mile too long in either direction.


On the other hand, I've started making some neat quilts with all that leftover denim, so I suppose all is not lost.

Hope you've had a good trip. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You are so right about sales and small sizes. I know beyond a doubt that there is a woman out there who has my exact dimensions and taste and a lot more money, who gets all the good stuff as soon as it arrives in the stores. The way I look at it, she has a whole wardrobe of MY clothes.

Urchin, I just found your note After I Got Home and wrote to you. I'm so sorry it didn't work out.

Nordstrom is great about free alterations, and so is Neiman Marcus. I just object in principle to having to cut off half the length of something because it makes me feel SHORT.


Your quilts sound wonderful. I always intend to do something like that with scraps, but rarely get to it. That would definitely take the edge off having things shortened, though.

The trip was great, thanks, but I missed you guys. Ten Days!!

katrice said...

As usual these days, I'm catching up on my blog-reading late and in huge chunks. I'm glad you were able to get away!

And as a fellow short woman, AMEN! Why oh why is it so hard to accommodate the petite women? And why don't they understand that petite means short, but not necessarily skinny? *sigh*

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's just another way the fashion industry delivers the message that if you are under 6 feet, you are just not enough woman.

I bought a sewing machine over a year ago, but have yet to learn to use it. It intimidates me, but it looks very impressive sitting there in all its newborn splendor.

Nathan said...

You do know the fundamental economic rules of supply and demand yes?

Here's a (albeit simplistic) look at some basic economic principles:

-Less people your size=less demand

Less demand=less suppliers/less production

Less production=a lesser economies of scale savings, ceteris paribus

This results in a higher cost for the manufacturer, which may be a product of higher labor costs/item, increased fixed/overhead costs per item, and other costs that might vary along the lines of the 'economies of scale' philosophy (which such is based primarily on bulk savings, admittedly).

This is the manufacturer's cost, however, and does not reflect the possible additional inventory, turn-over, and miscellaneous costs incurred by retailers for the stocking of clothing that is out of the 'average' size.

These are many other factors, of course, that could easily play into the product's costs and savings of course, but perhaps this could serve as a preliminary view on such things?

Also to note, that the vast majority of so-called 'plus' sized clothing is not more expensive than the 'regular' type either. Maybe the 'materials' costs therefore hold little importance to the pricing of standard department-store clothes?

I would say that unless the fabric is a very expensive material, these costs are negligeable when compared to the price associated with trademarks, logos, and branding in general, which generally represent large variations in costs between similar products...

Interesting thought though, but it is a very complex industry!

(Unsolicited) regards,


heartinsanfrancisco said...


You seem to know a lot about how the industry works. Thank you for the info.

I have learned since I posted this that it is actually harder to make small sizes, so my assumption that running stitches the length of a football field would take longer is apparently inaccurate.

One of my college roommates was the daughter of a dress manufacturer. She was given an obscenely huge "allowance" to buy herself evening gowns, wear them once, and send them home so that her father's company could do knock-offs. She was also a paid "employee."

I might add that none of this did much to make her a nice person.