Fitting issue of garments has impact on the customer’s buying decision. The main concern of customers especially teenagers and women is to purchase garments that have proper fitting and yet fashionable. Although cuts and styles of the clothes we buy is important, the more important factor that influences the buying decision is the proper fitting which is according to the person’s body structure. Clothes are not only for body protection and covering, but also have social and emotional aspects attached to them. For example - a petite girl wearing clean and proper fitted clothes that are not too tight and loose would look more flattering then another petite woman who wears tight fitting non-clean dress.
The garments which after wearing does not show any wrinkles, pulls or unnecessary fluffiness is of proper fit. Also the clothes with right placed seams, darts and grain lines has good fitting. The importance of proper fit of garment varies with its type. Like in case of tight fitting dress smallest of misfit is quite visible and noticeable, whereas for loose fitting clothes 100% proper fit is not required and does not make much difference. Even if the fabric is of high quality, craftsmanship on the dress excellent, but if the fitting is not up to the mark then other things does not matter.
Apart from the customers, the readymade garment manufacturers and retailers also bear the consequences in terms of loss of time, resource and damage to merchandise due to fitting issue problems. Although the problem might seem not so big, but in the form of return of purchased clothes, non-satisfaction towards the brand and time taken in trial rooms puts additional expenses on the seller. Whether a particular garment is purchased or rejected is decided on the bases of its fit. Customer satisfaction depends upon the designing, style and most important the fit & size of the garment. Apart from visual attractiveness the comfort level of the well fitted clothes is more preferred. Generally garments with not so good fitting lie unused most of the time in our closets.
Even if the garment is made of high quality fabric with excellent work on it and of latest style, the customer would not be enough motivated to buy it in absence of proper fit. Women and children are two segments of customers whose number of return of ill-fitting clothes is more than other age groups and sex. Due to it the sales declines and unnecessary costs build up on the retailer’s head.
However well fitted clothes do not imply that they have to be body hugging or tight, different types of dresses and garments need different degree of fitting, like the right fitting criteria for evening wear and nightwear is different. According to a survey done on teenage boys and girls, the readymade garments do require some alteration to be made and also one is ready to shell out few extra bucks for better fit.
The most common criteria for judging the fitting size are, whether hemline is even or not, seams on vertical front should be straight, darts that are narrowed extending before the wide part of the body they are given to shape up, neckline comfortable and shoulder seam a & waistline seam in accordance.
The different issues related to the fitting and sizing of the readymade garments are as follows:
Every brand before producing ready-made garments in bulk quantity, first examines the general types of fitting and sizing that could be given for a particular set of population. The main concern of the manufacturers and retailers about fit issue is which size should be made and how they are to be labeled. The customers are also included with the problem of proper fit as they are directly or indirectly connected to it. It is not possible to adopt particular sizing criteria for the clothes of women, children and men at an international level. Therefore the garment manufacturers set the sizing standards according to their customer database and the information of retail shops. The sizing standards vary from one brand to another therefore the customers generally face dissatisfaction due to this factor.
Certain garment measurements are considered for fixing the sizing standards like length, waist measurement or chest measurement based on garment type. For example for trousers waist measurement is the main decisive factor for fixing the size, whereas for t-shirt it is the chest measurement. Usually there are 4 main size options available for a garment i. e. small, medium, large and extra large. Most manufacturers comply the sizing and fitting system of the well known brands, whether it has been developed in their country or not. However, this concept is wrong as the physical measurements of people of different countries vary. This problem is mainly experienced in international brand. Hence sometimes poor fit is the result, which ultimately leads to customer’s dissatisfaction.
In order to achieve better sizing in readymade garments, it should defined specifically for different countries, also should differ region-wise even in same country. The type of garment also decides the sizing parameters to be followed. This would roll out better customer satisfaction, boosting the sales.
Problems of standard set for sizing
The main problem of sizing standards lie in the age-old data compared to recent data about the human body measurements. The waist and hip ratio of different brand shows vast differences, this further leads to customer frustration and confusion at the time of purchase. Time is also wasted in trial many brands. The same size measurement varies in different brands can be easily unveiled. For example if we purchase 30" waist jeans of five different brands, the measurement would differ. The difference would be more than marginal.
In India the multinational companies manufacturing garments do not consider the physical body structure of the Indians. The size charts are made according to the English and American standards which is not at all practical. However Indian standards for sizing are being developed.
The sizing standards should be prepared according to sexes and different age groups, for a shirt that fits a man of 30 years of age would not fit an old man of 60 years of age. According to the bust, hip, waist and stomach measurements body types have been classified as- spoon, rectangle, hour glass, pear shaped, diamond, triangle, inverted triangle and apple shaped. Such classification is there due to the distribution of flesh and fat in a person’s body. Thus despite of preparing standard size charts, the problem of exact fit is going to remain in case of readymade garments.
Method of size indication
The ready-made garments usually contain a label indicating the size, so that customers can pick them up according to their preferred sizes and fitting. Generally the size is communicated on the label in the form of a letter or number, like S, M, L, XL, 30, 32, etc. But the label indicating the same size of different brands differ in fit and size. The repeated trial of garments during purchase time due to non-fitting of clothes sometimes causes damage to the merchandise which ultimately is the loss to the retailer. It is often seen that garments of different brands but of same size labels displayed together also differ in some proportion in sizes. These factors have discouraging and irritating effect on the customers.
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