26 January 2010

I cannot find my pants (size)

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion, shopping

Lately, I’ve noticed that my pants size is becoming extinct in stores.

Really? Size 12s becoming extinct? Yes it’s true, and no that’s not crazy talk.

I’ve never had trouble finding size 12 pants in stores I frequent because few people wear it. And I’m okay with that because I feel like the store is stocking it JUST for me :)

But now the laws of supply and demand have shifted because size 12s are selling out fast.

For example, a few weeks ago, I went to JCrew to pick up some pants as a treat and couldn’t find my size, so I had to talk to the sales assistant. First, she tried to convince me that I wore a smaller size. Yes, it’s sweet, but when she persisted, even after telling her I’ve worn these pants before, thus knowing my size, I got a little annoyed. Please don’t make me scream out loud that I’m bigger than a size 10, it doesn’t make me feel great.

Finally, she “believes” me and enters that code into the computer to see what other stores have it. After a few minutes, she tells me that ALL JCrew locations nationwide are sold out of a size 12 in the pants I wanted.

I was totally stunned.

“Yeah our size 12s sell really fast lately. We get them in and they’re gone right away.”

“Maybe that’s because size 12s or normal sizes are what most people wear instead of zero or double zero, which I see you have a full sale rack of.”

Okay, that was a little rude, but I was perturbed that I had to buy them online and pay for shipping.

At another store, I couldn’t find the usually untouched size 12s and was told they are considered “special” or “extended” sizes, which are stocked more online.

That’s right, she called them “special sizes.” My size does not need to ride the short bus.

And since when is size 12 is considered “extended?” I call that normal! I’m not ashamed at the size I wear and lately, while my size is popular, I see tables full of sizes double zero through four that haven’t been purchased. Doesn’t it make sense to balance that out a bit? The demand is for sizes 10 and up, maybe…you should stock more of those?

What about you? Do you have trouble finding your size in stores or have you noticed that it’s easier to find things online?

Blog drama: Thanks everyone for the kind words on yesterday’s post about the blog/IRL drama. I loved hearing your thoughts and stories, many of us have been in this spot :/

Sherlock Holmes movie review is still up at the review blog too.


  1. moonjava says:

    I have issues not with size, but with length. And yes, I don’t understand the whole 00 size…so does that mean you’re nonexistent? :P

    The other hard thing is that I don’t do clothes shopping online, just because I always have to try things on to make sure things fit. That’s the problem with short legs and short torsos. So even if the measurements are correct, sometimes I’ll have to go a size up or a size down…:P

  2. Jen says:

    Don’t forget – when you need to order something at J.Crew, use the red phone!! When you order from the store you get free shipping on all full-price merch. It makes things a little bit better when they are out :)

  3. blaez says:

    i rarely find it hard to find my size altho according to the statics there are tons of fat people…

    what i hate is the colors and patterns they make for us larger women. seriously, i’m larger but i’m not a clown or a hotair balloon!

  4. Allison says:

    they don’t carry 12’s anymore because that’s a real size. 0’s and 2’s are left bc they are making them for people who don’t exist.

  5. Stephanie says:

    That is absolutely ridiculous! I cannot believe she called that a special size. You are right…there are always stacks of the itty bitty sizes left. Hello! Obviously no one is buying them!

  6. katelin says:

    so not a rude comment, i would have said the same thing because it drives me nuts how some stores carry unlimited amounts of 0s and 2s and it’s like hellooooo no wonder there are so many on the sale rack all the time because the majority of people are not that size. i think you should have made jcrew pay the shipping fee, i mean really.

  7. Lil' Woman says:

    Amen sista…I’m a 12 to right now and I have the hardest time finding anything..it’s B.S.

  8. deutlich says:

    “My size does not need to ride the short bus.”

    Uhm. I may have snickered – loudly – upon reading that.

    And also? I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE pants shopping. Why is it that one pant company I’m a size 8, the other a size 10 and then another a size 6?!?!


  9. Nora says:

    Stores really should get with it. The average pant size for an American woman is 10/12 (depending on how they measure these things). Pant shopping is one of my least favorite things… EVER. I’ve never quite understood the point of stocking tiny sizes when most of us are size 8-12.

  10. tata says:

    like your blog!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences here. It is really entertaining and helpful in my case since I am moving to Chicago this summer.

    May I ask you something? In which part of the city do you live? I am thinking about living in South Loop? What are your thoughts about that?

  11. Hillary says:

    I have a long torso, so when & if I can find my size, I have to have the length taken up. Most women are 5’4″ or less, so why are they wasting so much extra material?!

  12. I don’t seem to find a problem finding pants that fit … I tend to buy a few pairs so I don’t have to go shopping again for a while.

  13. I have a different problem. I wear a size 4 at almost all stores. But why do they put 4’s on the very top of the rack? I’m short! (hence the 4) Put it where I can reach!

  14. Chelsa Bea says:

    This is so interesting. A girlfriend of mine who works in retail, was telling me that the store she works at now only gets one size 12 and 14 in for each item. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. She said that they’re losing tons of sales because they don’t have the item in the actual store, and they’re having to send people online or having to call other stores almost every day to get women the pants they want. Seems like stores should start carrying more sizes, in order to boost business and improve sales!

  15. Kate says:

    OMG, don’t even get me STARTED on this. It’s gotten to the point where, when I actually find pants (or shorts or anything else I wear regularly on my lower half) that fit me right, I buy several pairs of them on the spot because who knows if and when that will ever happen again. FYI to pantsmakers everywhere, not everyone is tall and really skinny. Some of us are short with no hips and gain all our weight in our stomachs. And every once in a while we’d like to wear a pair of pants without also wearing a pair of heels, so could you keep those petite sizes coming? Most of my pants are from GAP because they carry a “short” length that works wonders for me.

  16. Paula says:

    I’m currently a UK size 12 down below and an 8/10 on top and these seem to ALWAYS be the sizes that sell out first. But back when I was ultra skinny and a size 8 down below and a 6 up top, THEY were always the sizes that sold out.

    Basically whatever I need is never there…

  17. Ali says:

    That’s so freaking frustrating! But on the bright side, like you said…normal people everywhere are apparently shopping their brains out!

  18. Lys says:

    oh, you too? yeah, i have the same problem with my size. also, i need them in long, which makes them double rare. i might as well start learning how to make my own pants at this point. dumb.

  19. Um, besides shopping for shoes (hello, why can’t stores stock size fives?!) shopping for pants is my biggest issue.

    I admit, I’m one of those girls who wears a size 0 (and I eat! a lot!) and I can NEVER, NEVER find my size when I hit department and large chain stores. Especially since I need the size in ‘short’ or ‘petite.’

    However, ann taylor loft and other similar stores like that do carry my size more often than not but they are crazy expensive at full price (or I’ll just go to delia’s – their pants always fit me right off the rack). so I always buy them when they hit the clearance rack (thankfully, the loft has amazing sales frequently)

    But I am surprised to hear that a size 12 is an extended size – that’s ridiculous.

  20. Lauren says:

    It’s funny that we can all complain about something! 00’s that are too long, non-existent 12s, too many 10s – it’s never ending! I do think that stores are carrying less stock now strictly because sales are down quite a bit. My best friend works in retail and they just can’t carry the same volume because they can’t SELL the same volume.

    I want to bitch too. I can never find any damn 4s that are long enough. EVER! The only way pants are long enough are if they are designer. AND I DON’T HAVE $200 RIGHT NOW! End rant.

  21. That’s awful. 12 is like the average size for women. And it’s not even really big. It just is. And, I don’t think the tweens are going to be buying any of those pants. Obviously, or they wouldn’t have so many.

  22. Kyla Roma says:

    I would love to see what the actual distribution of these sizes are, because I always see tables of 00 in stores too and I wonder, are tweens really getting allowances that are so out of control we have to cater exclusively to them?

    I’m an 8, minimum, and unless I have my hip bones shaved down that will never change lol But I still have a ton of trouble buying pants, there are never any sizes that I fit in stock. I’ve started just buying online from brands that I trust, rooting around in store is too tough!

  23. Cheryl says:

    I shop online so much more, partly because i am lazy and hate fitting rooms, and don’t really like shopping all that much. Shipping schmipping…they usually have what i need, but you need to know the product(s).

  24. SoMi's Nilsa says:

    I’m kind of surprised JCrew wasn’t willing to order the pants for you, have them delivered to the store (free of shipping charges) and let you pick them up in the store. Many other retailers will do that for you. Might be worth asking about in the future.

    Generally speaking, I think a lot of retailers have become more savvy regarding their stock. Kind of like airlines becoming better with scheduling (and thus making more flights full), clothes manufacturers are stocking sizes that sell more so now. And cutting back on sizes that don’t. Sucks that it’s more difficult for you to find sizes, but it’s the cost of doing business, I guess.

  25. kimmy says:

    i’m a size 8 (ish) and 5’0. I’m ok with it…i have hips! but i cannot find 8-short pants ANYWHERE…EVER. once, i found a pair of 8-short skinny jeans at old navy on sale for $19…i wish i bought 4 pairs! i hate pants shopping b/c i have the alter everything. seriously, are skinny girls the only short ones?? i don’t think so!

  26. Rhianna Hoke says:

    its my fault. i am now a size 12 so i have been buying all the pants. ok not true that i bought them all but I am def a size 12

  27. abby says:

    I’m a 12 too and have had a hell of a time finding them. I don’t understand the zero or double zero thing. I was in a sorority of tiny, skinny girls and I think only 1 or 2 of them could fit in a zero. Most were a 6 and up. It’s very frustrating.

  28. English stores do this too….basically their merchandiers are crap and don’t interpret the sales data properly. If they did, they would realise that they have a million small sizes left in the sale and the other sizes are sold out within a week.
    This is a bugbear of mine too!

  29. L.C.T. says:

    I’m an English size 12 (not sure what that is in the States, an 8??) and I have an inside leg of 36/37″ so yes, I can never find the size that fits. Bizarrely, I can only find them in stores when I’m state-side!

  30. Jen says:

    I refuse to have my size be “special” or “extended” just because I am not a stick figure. I agree with Erin, the 0 or 00 should be the “special” sizes. Fartheads.

  31. Akirah says:

    Woah. That’s insane. I’m a 12…depending on the store. I don’t see it as an extended size. What really irritates me is not being able to find pants at the right length. Ugh.

  32. Jessica says:

    What the eff? That pisses me off. Size 12 is so normal. You know what I hate? When I have to dig to the BOTTOM of a pile to get a 12 or 14 or a L shirt…so annoying!

  33. Andhari says:

    I don’t have so much troubles in pants or clothes in general but I usually am annoyed when I look for shoes or bras. I’m a midget. Hence the midget-size shoes and bras. My shoe size is 36 ( size 5.5 US? ) and every store I enter seems to not stock it.

  34. Linda says:

    Finding petite sizes is my main problem, especially the larger sizes, ie size 12 petite pants. In my town (Bay Area), I have the opposite problem. The typical mall stores seem to run out of petite sizes quicker than the non-petite sizes. I see plenty of regular 10s and 12s in stock usually.

  35. Nikki says:

    Alright, let’s stop the girl on girl action. There is no reason to hate on the 00’s as many of them are just blessed with high metabolism and our ranting about how much we hate them sounds a littttttttttle like jealousy.

    From a business standpoint a lot of stores were worried about the retail economy this year and in reaction actually chose to just carry less stock across the board so as to not incur as many losses.

  36. Maki says:

    I have NO problem finding my top which is xs – s, however, the bottoms are always difficult. I can never find the pants/shorts that fits me. I get discouraged, frustrated and annoyed by it like anybody else.

  37. MelissaOK says:

    That IS a frustrating shopping experience! I hope that the next time you go, that it’ll be more enjoyable!

  38. Arielle says:

    Lady, I have no idea where or when you have been shopping but the idea of a size 12 being a size that no one wears is almost laughable to me. I’ve always had the experience that 12 is a super common size and anytime I go shopping anywhere there never seems to be anything between a 6 and a 16. Crazy. Also, I hate pants shopping. Period.

  39. Mega says:

    I wear 34 waist with a 36 length. Usually I have to buy jeans off the internets cause stores don’t carry that size all that often.

  40. Ashley says:

    I can’t imagine that anyone with the slightest grasp on reality would agree a size 12 is a “special size”. There shouldn’t even be such a thing as a size 0 in my opinion. Really, how can you be a 0? That just never made sense to me. And I think the store should order your size for you if they do not have it in stock. Having to order it online & pay for shipping is such a ripoff!

  41. My size does not exist in stores. Ever. Red phone and I are BFF.

  42. jenn says:

    also – if you use the red phone in the store, you should be able to get them to ship the correct size to you for free…little known tip.

  43. Lindsay says:

    Lately I’ve taken to buying most of my clothes online rather than run the risk of heading to a store and having it be sold out of what I want. It sucks because I’m not the most patient person in the world but it saves me from a lot of disappointment.

  44. barbetti says:

    I hear you, lady. I haven’t been a size 12 since my hips swelled from pregnancy, but I remember they all sold out pretty quickly.

  45. jenn says:

    unbelievable. ugh. i wear a 10 and have trouble finding that size everywhere.

    the one thing that i have noticed that’s pretty funny is that i still have a pair of j.crew jeans from my soph year in college – so they are about 9 years old. they are a size 6 and fit – albeit a tiny bit snug. my pants from j.crew now are a 10 and fit – albeit a tiny bit snug.

    i have gained about 10 lbs since my soph year of college, but clearly the sizing has changed quite a bit at j.crew if i’m 10 lbs heavier and can still fit in the size 6 from 2001. i think it’s a conspiracy by that damn store to make people feel heavier than they are.

    or they used to want to make people feel skinnier than they were back in 2001.

  46. lovesfool says:

    Sometimes it can suck to be a size 12 (I’m one too). I always hope I can get sale items but they only ever have 8s and 14s. Really guys?? Really?!

  47. Chelsy says:


    I’ve heard of lots of normal-sized people complaining about J.Crew lately. I follow blog whose author was looking for a size 14 pant and was told very loudly by the sales associate that they “don’t carry plus sizes in the store.” UM HELLO. 14 is not a plus size!! the blogger swore off J.Crew after that.

    The previous commenter is right–if you order something at the store, you get free shipping.

  48. I agree with you! My baby sister is “special.” She is just barely 5 feet tall, she weighs about 95 lbs and she sometimes is too small for the 00 pants. Yeah. Yet she never has trouble finding pants to wear, but me? Yeah, I know I’m short, but seriously? If she can find pants everywhere she goes, shouldn’t we all be able to?

    Supply and demand is all out of whack it would seem. Ugh.

  49. Melinda says:

    I am totally with you here. Unless you are tiny these days stores just don’t have stuff in stock for the “regular” sizes. It really isn’t fair either because I would guess that most of the nation is bigger than sizes 0-6. I am never going to fit in those sizes and I am willing to spend money, so stores you better start stocking my size and bayjb’s size too! Hello? Stores, can you hear me?

  50. Natalie says:

    Please tell us what store thinks 12s are extended sizes!! I think a complaint letter is in order!!!

  51. i have a hard time and it is on the other spectrum, yea stores do carry the 0/2s but finding them in the short/petite/ankle size is often difficult because most of us who need the small sizes also need them short.

    uuugh, buying pants is the worst, which is why i wear skirts 3-4 days a week, even in the winter.

  52. Heidi says:

    i HATE pants shopping – i’m fairly certain that every time i go i cry in the fitting rooms. Also, as much as i love the gap’s jeans i LOATHE their new sizing system (and why aren’t the skinny jeans in short sizes?!?!).

  53. *blush* If I comment, everyone will hate me.

    But I AM one of those weird girls who can fit into the small sizes. And the only plus side is that they usually make it to clearance because I can never afford full-price jeans from the places I shop.

    I’m just gonna go shut up now…

  54. AuburnKat says:

    I have a really hard time finding pants in my size too, it’s extremely annoying!

    As for you last post, I had a blog before the one I have now but I had to shut it down and start a new one because my ex wouldn’t stop reading it.

  55. Erin says:

    I do not understand the obsession with stocking the 00 or even the regular zeros. I think THOSE should be the “special” sizes.

    I actually hate shopping for pants, period. I have next to no torso so most pants hit me near the bottom of my bra. If low-rise pants ever go out of style I think I’ll die.

    Also, J.Crew should totally ship them to you for free it you request them at the store.