The Standard Size: It's All Relative

The fashion industry has come a long way to make ready-to-wear shopping — and more recently, online shopping as convenient as it is today. But one aspect that remains absolutely perplexing? Size. When it comes to fashion, size (and any notion of a "standard" in sizing) is genuinely a myth. 

Little known fact: Fashion labels don't have to use any kind of "standard" size system in the industry. And most brands don't. Why? Quite simply, it doesn't really exist. This makes sizing really difficult. All those numbers and letters that are supposed to help us determine the size we will be across every garment made by every brand on the planet often creates more confusion than clarity. And, more often than not, it makes us feel like we don’t fit into the perceived beauty “standard” set by a brand, if we don’t fit into the size we expected to.

A (Very) Brief History of Standardised Sizing in Fashion 

Small, medium, large. 10, 12, 14. One size fits all. 000, 00, 0. What size am I and how did we even get here? 

The ability to walk into a store and purchase a garment straight from the rack is a relatively new concept. Up until the early 20th century, women in the home would make clothes for themselves and their families, rather than shopping for garments in stores. Sizes around that time were based on age (for girls) and bust measurements (for women), so a “size 16” was for a 16 year old, and a size 32 was for a 32 inch bust.

A study in the US from the 1940s saw “average sizing” being developed, in an attempt to increase ready-to-wear apparel sizes without the need for alterations by a tailor, however the data collected wasn’t particularly diverse or accurate and the national average measurements found by the study were smaller than the true average reflected in society. 

After inadequate efforts made by the industry to reach a universal sizing system that reflected the unique shapes and sizes of the female figure, brands began creating their own sizing systems to suit their ideal customer, resulting in sizing very quickly becoming a marketing tool rather than a helpful indicator of what garment one should purchase. In 1983, any and all sizing regulations in the US (with Europe and Australia to follow) were officially abandoned, and all sizing systems now exist free from regulation.

Changes to Sizing at JB

As a ready-to-wear fashion label, we of course need to adhere to some kind of sizing system for our garments but – we really don’t want our customers to feel their bodies are defined by a singular number or letter.

We want to celebrate our curves - get to know them and their corresponding numbers on a tape measure, seek the size that fits and suits our individual proportions, for every single piece of clothing we choose.  

Our hope for all JB pieces is that they skim your curves in all the right places and fit your body in a way that makes you feel amazing. Because we know the most responsible garment is one that you will wear over and over again. We’ve recently made some changes to sizing that make things a little clearer for our global customer base. 

1. Size Guides

Finding the right fit for each brand can be really confusing. Moving forward, every JB garment now has a detailed measurements guide in the “Size & Fit” drop down on the product page, and there is a built in Size Chart on every page to aid with global generic sizing terminology alongside an explanation of how to best find your personal measurements.

2. New Sizing System

Our Made in Australia woven garments are now sized using a numerical system from 0-5. However we encourage customers to make use of the detailed size charts that accompany each product.

Our knitwear styles use the XS - L sizing system. Our signature ribbing means these styles have a generous and easy fit, for the moment we are only able to offer size XS - L in these styles due to the boutique size of our business. 

3. New Sizes Added

As a small brand, adding any additional sizing is a journey that is costly and time consuming, and at times, beyond our capacity. Specifically, it requires research, resources and labour that are often outside of our budget as a tiny team.

The good news? We are really excited to announce that our Fresca range now features up to size 5 (XXL/AU16). Expanding a size range is truly a journey. Yes, we’re the first to admit that this offering is still limited, and doesn’t reflect the full, diverse range of sizes across women’s bodies. 

Adjustable styles that take individual bodies into account have always been at the core of the Jillian Boustred design ethos, and more recently we have explored styles with natural stretch to complement curves and different proportions. 

We are committed to making desirable clothing that make women feel welcomed and celebrated, and will continue on our sizing journey with careful consideration in order to provide garments of the highest quality fit and function. 

We're Here to Help

Great fit and clear sizing is a priority for Jillian Boustred garments and we want you to feel confident when making a purchase: that you know it’ll fit you, and fit you well. We also know that nailing the fit the first time around lightens the load on our planet, eliminating the economic and environmental costs associated with returns and exchanges. 

If you’d like personalized advice, please reach out to us via live chat (Monday-Friday 10-4pm AEST) or anytime at We truly love helping you find the right size and want to craft your purchase into the most responsible garment it can possibly be.

Imagery by Kaitlyn Bosnjak @justfilm_

Model Gee Ferguson @geegeeferguson

Underwear by Nico