What's in a number? When it comes to women's clothes apparently everything and nothing at all.
Consumer Reports sized up ladies clothing to see how things have changed through the years.
A size 12 dress is what Marilyn Monroe was wearing when she sang to President Kennedy in 1962.
Today, figuring out what a size 12 looks like isn't quite so clear cut.
Brand to brand is different. Season to season is different. You don't always find your same size.
Consumer Reports' Mary Weber went on a shopping spree to figure out what's going on with women's clothing sizes.
She bought pants and tailored shirts from ten different designers all labeled size 10 to see how they measure up.
A voluntary industry standard says a size 10 woman measures 36, 28, 0.
But that's not what consumer reports' Pat Slaven saw. After measuring the pants she found the waists varied from 30 to 33 inches a whopping 3 inch difference. And there was even a bigger discrepancy with tailored shirts.
They measured anywhere from 39 to 43 inches. Consumer Reports says many clothes makers are vanity sizing, cutting their clothes larger and labeling them smaller.
Consumer Reports says the best you can do is plan on spending some time in the fitting rooms. But once you find a brand of clothes that suits you, your next shopping trip shouldn't be such a guessing game.
Consumer Reports says another reason clothes of the same size can vary so much is that stores cut clothes to suit their customers.
So you'll find clothes in a store that caters to women in their 50's will be cut more liberally than a store whose customers are 20 something.