Alpha Sizing: Why S, M, L Are Replacing 6, 10, 14

Thanks to the proliferation of "alpha sizing," labels reading "small," "medium," and "large" are replacing the numerical system we have come to know and never comprehend. The Wall Street Journal points to the current athletic-wear trend — think relaxed, stretchy garments such as oversized tops and yoga pants — as the primary cause behind the shift. Additionally, Jodi Bricker, senior vice president of adult apparel and accessories at Old Navy, also notes the "psychological appeal" of sifting through fewer choices.
But, before you celebrate with a trenta, iced, half-sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato and a wheatgrass shot, the WSJ reminds us that brands don't always devise their alpha sizes by combining the same two numerical labels. "For example, at about two thirds of women's apparel makers, a size 'small' correlates with sizes 6 and 8," says fit-strategy and sizing consultant, Ed Gribbin. "For the remaining third, a 'small' means sizes 4 and 6." So, the S, M, and L tags won't curb vanity sizing, which renders it impossible to walk into a store, grab an item off the rack, and head to the register without a trip to the fitting room first.
Yet, alpha sizing brings a bit of good news: According to Bricker, the small/medium/large plan makes it simpler for men to shop on their own (all by themselves!). The alpha-sized male? Yep, we can support that. (The Wall Street Journal)

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