The Real Reason Why Women’s Pants Sizes Are Different

Women with tight pants

Women’s pants sizes are indeed so different. A specific company’s ’28’ pants size will fit you, while the size ’34’ for another brand will be appropriate. So, there’s a lot of inconsistency around women’s pants sizes. But why do the sizes differ so prominently? I will reveal the reasons in the following article. Let’s get started!

Are women’s pant sizes different?

Before we dive into the article, you might be wondering whether ladies’ pants sizes are different or not. Let’s find out!

Indeed, women’s pants sizes are different. You can find variations in pants sizes across brands and countries. Also, many brands vary their pants sizes depending upon the styles. For example, the sizes in slim jeans would run low whereas you can find high-end sizes in mom-fit and baggy jeans. 

Similarly, the pants sizes differ based on standard body measurements like waist, hips, and calf dimensions. However, it’s also true that a specific pair of pants might fit your hips but not your waist, and vice versa. Overall, women’s pant sizes can differ considerably.

Moving on, let’s get back to our mainframe question, why do women’s pants sizes vary so much? Let’s dive in!

Why are women’s pant sizes different?

You already know that women’s pant sizes are highly inconsistent. It creates difficulty for women to find the perfect size according to their fit in any shopping mall. But, have you ever wondered what makes the pants so different? Below you will get all the reasons. Have a look!

1. Vanity sizing is prominent disrupting women’s pants sizes

Vanity sizing is a prominent issue disrupting women’s pants sizes. But what’s vanity sizing? 

Modifying pants’ measurement requirements so that customers can fit into smaller sizes is known as vanity sizing. This phenomenon of ready-to-wear pants of the same nominal size growing larger in physical size over time is also referred to as size inflation. 

Since a woman of any size can fit into larger clothes, the tag mentioning smaller sizes makes them think that they are slim and fit into smaller pants (which are larger in reality), so they shop more. Top brands like Zara have leveraged such confusing dimensions in women’s pants causing significant differences and inconsistency. 

2. Wrong standardization makes sizes inconsistent

Right from the beginning, standardization for pants sizes was confusing. 

After World War I, makers of pants understood that the procedure needed to be simplified to save time and money. Lack of uniformity was thought to be costing the apparel industry heavily.

Women’s Measurements for Garment and Pattern Manufacturing was research started in 1939 by the USDA as part of the post-Depression Works Progress Administration intending to develop a standard measurement and method for clothing construction.

Naturally, there were some issues with the scope and depth of their research. One limitation of the study was that it only included white women from comparable low-income socioeconomic backgrounds. The majority of the women polled also had an hourglass shape due to the prevalent diet and fashion trends of the time. However, the agency believed it had gathered enough information to offer consistent sizing advice. Quite unreliable, isn’t it?

Even now, the standard pool for a brand can be highly vague for creating pants of sizes that suit all body types. Thus, women’s pants sizes are so different. 

3. Women’s pants sizes differ based on styles

Do you know? Women’s pants sizes can considerably differ based on the styles. For example, tight-fitting pants generally have smaller sizes. However, loose and regular-fit pants mostly have larger sizes. 

So, you cannot expect that the size of the regular pants you wear will fit you in the case of slimmer pants. You might require re-measuring your dimension at the shopping mall and getting complementing pants based on your measurements. 

4. Pant sizes differ from one region to another

Pant sizes considerably differ from one region to another. If you go to the US and find that the size ‘X’ fits you, you will encounter that the same size doesn’t fit you when you shop for pants in the UK and Europe. 

So, it’s better to understand your sizes in a particular region before you shop for pants. You can also use the standard sizing guide in a specific place to understand how pant sizes in your country convert to the measurements in the new place. Based on the converted dimensions, you can find your best-fit pants. 

5. Women’s pant sizes differ based on brands

It’s better to understand that different brands have varying pants sizes. They have different sizing samples based on which they create standard pants sizes for their clothing line. So, you can expect that different brands will have inconsistent pants sizes. 

For example, let’s say you buy size ‘X’ pants from Zara. However, if you try finding the same size from Forever 21 or Van Huesen, it’s not always the case that the pants will fit you. You might have to get yourself remeasured to find the right fit according to your body. 

Apart from popular brands, the size problem increases if you buy pants from unpopular companies. They might not have a massive sample to decide their standard sizes, creating more inconsistent size charts than ever. 

Why do women’s pant sizes go up in two?

If you closely observe, women’s pants sizes go up in twos. Or, more precisely, women’s pants sizes are always in even numbers like 28, 30, 32, etc. 

Have you ever wondered why these sizes go up in twos? Here’s why! 

Although brands use a standard sizing table to manufacture women’s pants, a specific size may be too tight at the hips and loose at the waist for some women. In other words, since body type differs, a specific size cannot fit all women having roughly the same dimensions. To accommodate minor changes in the body, women’s pants sizes differ by two and fit a large section of women effortlessly. 


Women’s pants sizes are highly confusing and ambiguous. So, it’s better if you measure your body and pants sizes before buying them for optimum fitting.