Online clothing stores have inconsistent sizing

Isabelle Pinard
Managing Editor

Hollister, Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters have online stores displaying all of their size options for their garments, but students like senior Natalie Sullivan notice that what they see on the model sample photos online are not what they get.

“Urban outfitters has a section of amazing T-shirts online,” Sullivan said. “I remember ordering a shirt, but when I tried it on it just wasn’t flattering, which is why shopping using model pictures can be so deceiving.”

Online Stores such as Urban Outfitters have sample photos of their products on models that are size one or zero because clothes hang better when they are on someone who has no shape, which allows the fabric to hang straight according to Jane Martin Director of Quality Assurance at Gap inc.

“Two days ago I tried on a shirt from Forever 21,” freshman Sarah Selzer said. “It was a long-sleeve shirt that was categorized under my size with a sample picture showing it to be lose, but when I tried it on it was pretty tight on me and really distasteful.”

Sample photos on online or regular stores influence a lot of purchasing decisions, which seems strange because customers know that the people in the pictures are company models, yet they continue to buy merchandise based on what they see according to a Hollister sales clerk who’s manager reprimanded him in speaking with the press.

“It is funny, I never thought about shopping online that way, but, yes, I guess I do buy clothing due to the way it looks on the model,” Sullivan laughed. “I know that in the end the product will not look the same on me, but I just think ‘Oh well, that looks good,’ and then add it to my wish list.”

Online stores allow shoppers to view a number of garments on a model from the side back and view through pop-up windows. Some stores like Hollister, gives the online shopper a choice to see the garment without a model or with model view.

“I always look at the model view for their clothing,” Selzer said. “I know that there are photos of just the T-shirt, but that doesn’t help my shopping decisions because it doesn’t show how the fabric will fall on a person’s body.”

To get the correct fit that teens want, shops provide size charts and the key is knowing your body measurements in order for the customer to be confident in what they wear according to Urban Outfitters.

“A lot of people don’t realize this, but the women’s size charts in Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and Hollister are specific for a reason,” Sullivan said. “Most online shoppers just click the size button, look at the sample picture and then add it to their shopping cart, but what they should do is find out their exact measurements and match it to a size the store has for a better fit.”

The sizes range from 0 as extra small, 1 through 4 as small, 5 through 8 as medium and 9 through 12 as large. Many customers who come into Urban Outfitters and are displeased with the way an outfit looks on them because it doesn’t fall right, but its not because of the material or the cut, it’s because the customer really doesn’t know what size actually fits them according to the Fillmore Street Urban Outfitters sales clerk who asked not to be identified.

“If the shop had different models for each size — extra small, small, medium and large — I could get a better picture of how the shirt or dress would look on me and make a better decision in my purchase instead of wasting money on an outfit that doesn’t compliment me,” Selzer said.