- The purpose of the study was to explore the possible acceptance of
metric conversion for clothing sizes and sizing standardization by a
selected sample of female ready-to-wear clothing consumers.
A questionnaire was designed to elicit consumer's positive or negative
attitudes toward metric conversion for clothing sizes and sizing
standardization. The 54-item questionnaire also incorporated measures
of selected items of consumer background information including: attitude
toward metric conversion in the U.S.A., attitude toward change,
level of metric knowledge, perceived fashion innovativeness, educational
level, and age group.
The questionnaire was mailed to 500 women residing in Thurston
County, Washington. Respondents were systematically selected by computer
from 32 randomly selected polling precincts out of 128 total
precincts. The initial mailing and the three-week follow-up of non-respondents
included a hand-signed cover-letter, the questionnaire
booklet, and a first-class return envelope. A total of 288 usable
replies (57.60) were included in the study.
Descriptive statistics were employed in the analysis of individual
questions and each composite measure. The Pearson correlation coefficient
and the chi-square test of independence were used to analyze
relationships between variables. The significance level was set at
Consumers expressed a positive attitude toward metric conversion
for clothing sizes, sizing standardization, metric conversion in the
U.S.A., and change. Most of the 288 women possessed "some" to "a great deal of" metric knowledge, were educated beyond high school, were
between 18 and 41 years of age, and perceived themselves as adopting
new styles about the same time as most other people.
The consumers desired a period of dual labeling for apparel,
preferably permanently, and acknowledged that metric size designations
on dual labels probably would be ignored. The women agreed that size
markings should be actual body measurements, yet most were reluctant
to abandon nominal codes. Aesthetically appealing, simple, size
designations were supported. Rationalized metric sizes were ultimately
preferred over soft conversion methods.
The present system of sizing by style and age group was satisfactory
to more than half of the respondents, although some voiced discontent
with their inability to purchase fashionable styles in all size
ranges. The women agreed that current sizes are not uniform, supported
elimination of vanity sizing and the reduction of overlapping sizes
between groups, and wished to rectify sizing discrepancies between
brand and price levels through use of the metric system. Simultaneous
sizing standardization and metric clothing size conversion was viewed
as possibly too confusing by a slight majority; in order to avoid confusion,
most respondents felt mandatory conversion by the industry was
Consumers concurred that shopping for metric clothing sizes
would not really be any more difficult, and that increased uniformity
in apparel sizes would result in less need to try on garments and
increased confidence when shopping for gifts and through catalogues.
Significant relationships were found to exist between consumers'
attitude toward metric conversion for clothing sizes and the following
variables: attitude toward sizing standardization, level of metric
knowledge, attitude toward metric conversion in the U.S.A., attitude
toward change, and educational level.
Significant relationships could not be established between consumers'
attitude toward metric conversion for clothing sizes and perceived
fashion innovativeness or age group.