Same Size, Different Fit: Why I Can’t Buy Clothes Without Trying Them On

I have often regretted not buying more than one pair of a beloved style of jeans, or the same shoe in brown as well as black. Because sometimes, when you find something good, it’s good to have a backup so you can wear your favorites all the time without worrying about them falling apart. So, lately I’ve been buying the same thing twice. Only it hasn’t been working out for me.

Two weeks ago, I finally found a pair of skinny-ish jeans that worked on me — a feat, to be sure (Madewell ’37s, if you’re on the hunt). On the way to the register, I picked up a pair in black since I liked the dark denim ones I had tried on so much. But when I got home, I couldn’t even get the black pair on, let alone zip and button them. Even though the label on the jeans said they were the same size, the dark blue ones fit and the black ones did not.This happened to me with a dress I ordered on Gilt Groupe recently, too. I bought one in a navy blue silk and the same one in a plaid silk because I couldn’t decide which one to buy and wanted to see them in person. Yet, despite being the same style dress in the same size, only the navy one looked good. The plaid one seemed oversized and bunchy in places.

How can this be? Well, in the case of the jeans, I asked at the store, and they told me their black jeans fit a lot smaller than the other washes. This is probably a case of the fabric being slightly different since the black ones aren’t an indigo-dyed denim. As for the dresses, I think the busy pattern draws attention to areas the dark navy camouflages.

I’ve learned an important lesson from these experiences: If you want to buy a backup — or the same item in multiple patterns– try everything on. Just because two articles of clothing are supposed to be the same size doesn’t mean they’ll both fit or look the same. Has this ever happened to you?