Size 8 at Banana Republic is a size 2 at the Gap (and more size discrepancies)

Retailers rely on different measurements for sizing, and we don't like it! Photo by Thinkstock.
Retailers rely on different measurements for sizing, and we don't like it! Photo by Thinkstock.

Shopping can be stressful, because it's impossible to really know your size. Different stores classify sizes by different measurements, and sometimes are even inconsistent within their own brand! As a result, you may end up with a vast range of sizes in your closet or returning clothing items that don't fit (according to the National Retail Federation, more than 8% of all clothing purchases are brought back). Successfully purchasing clothing online becomes a daunting combination of reading customer reviews and desperate guess work, while shopping in-store often means trying on garments in several sizes in the fitting rooms. What gives?! The New York Times did some investigating, and sizing issues are waaay worse than we even realized.

Let's run with a size 8. According to the Times reporting, If you wear a size 8 at Banana Republic, you'd wear a size 2 at the Gap. These two brands are owned by the same company, yet don't size the same way! Meanwhile, designer labels like Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren have larger measurements for their more affordable offshoot labels. If you wear a size 8 in the mid-priced Marc by Marc Jacobs label, a size 8 in the high end label totally won't fit you. And if you're an 8 at Marc Jacobs, you'd need to size down to a 4 to fit Dolce & Gabbana, who uses vanity sizing to make customers feel better about themselves. (Even if you haven't lost weight over night, isn't it satisfying to buy a garment with a lower number on the tag?) Oh, and at Chicos, a size 8 is more like a size 0. Maybe it's time to start shopping there! For the full retail sizing scale, click over to the New York Times.

To combat all this confusion, a new company called MyBestFit is setting up airport-style body scanners in shopping malls that calculate your measurements in 20 seconds and print out a complete list of what sizes you'd need to wear from various retailers. There are currently around 50 stores in their database, including American Eagle, Old Navy, and Talbots. Forget virtual mannequins-this is the coolest thing we've heard of in a while, and according to the Times article people have already had success using these scanners. We're dying to try it out! So far there is one machine at the King of Prussia mall in Philadelphia, but 13 more are scheduled to arrive in East Coast and California malls this year.

Check out this video from MyBestFit and vent your sizing frustrations below in the comments.

Related links:
Don't flatter yourself. Vanity-sizing is messing with your head
3 Sites That Make Shopping Online Easier
The average shoe size is on the rise-how does this affect shopping?