Finding the best garment size for a woman’s body can be tricky. In addition to numerical industry sizes that may change every decade or so, women must also contend with varied sizing categories that cater to different body types. While many stylistas may shop in the Women’s or Misses clothing departments once they’ve graduated from the Girls department, others may find a better fit in Petites, Tall or even Juniors.
Although the actual measurements in clothing sizes vary among different designers, making the idea of a “standard” size 4, 10 or 20 laughable, there are some general rules. Misses clothing, which can run from size 0 to 16, typically targets women with statistically average measurements. This means the clothes are best suited for a woman of average height, bust and back length measurements. Since not all women, especially younger women, fit this range, Juniors sizing came into being.
In the first half of the 20th century, clothing for the young became increasingly divided into ever-changing niche categories. “Junior” clothes were divided by age and lifestyle, with separate types for young career women, college students, older teens, younger teens and preteens. Eventually, many of these were incorporated into what was originally known as Junior Miss, a younger teen category styled for a trim, youthful figure. Juniors became a size, not style, designation that appealed to many of the younger ladies.
While Misses clothing is sized for the statistically average woman’s figure, Juniors covers measurements that are traditionally associated with younger women. Clothing is cut for a slightly shorter figure that is less curvy, with a smaller waist-to-hip ratio. Although Juniors styling still favors the young, many slim adult stylistas shop this size range because the fit may better suit their bodies than Misses sizes.
Plus Size, Tall and Petite
Like Misses sizing, Juniors also includes subcategories sized for women outside the average statistical range. When it comes to height, typical Juniors clothes target a girl in the 5’4″ to 5’5″ range. Shorter ladies may look to Junior Petite, which keeps all the measurements of Juniors except those related to height. Similarly, vertically gifted girls can look to Tall alternatives. Junior Plus sizes exist for the curvier gals, and may also include Petite or Tall options.