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Are Zara's Sizes Too Small for Americans?

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An image from Zara's fall 2012 campaign
An image from Zara's fall 2012 campaign

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Are Zara's sizes too small for Americans? A tidbit in a profile the Economist published way back in March has resurfaced on the internet this week, and is prompting some unexpected feedback from the fashion community.

In an article that focused mostly on the Spanish fast-fashion giant's opportunities in China, an aside about Zara's challenges in the US market is what's catching everyone's attention:

"Inditex's formula has not worked everywhere. Zara has struggled in America, for instance. It sells trendy cuts and slim fits. Outside the biggest cities, Americans have long preferred classic, roomier clothes (though this may be changing)," the Economist wrote.

Zara's sizing chart

In response, Elle.com published a piece yesterday that speculates on the sizing discrepancies between Zara and American retailers. "Sizing has always been an issue in fashion when addressing mass lines," Elle writes. "Many brands offer vanity sizing, allowing customers to fit into a size six when in reality, they're an 8 or 10. For Zara to do well here, perhaps they'll need to adopt the flattering—yet unrealistic system as well?"

Elle commenters, at least, sure hope not:

"I was a 4 to a 6 in H&M and its fairly similar in Zara. In many stores, I am the smallest size they carry and I am not even a rail thin girl," writes one.

"If Zara altered its sizing in North America, I would not be able to wear anything (or they'd have to add an XXS to accommodate people like me)...At Banana Republic, I'm a 00P!" writes another.

What do you think? Are Zara's sizes too small, or is there room for slimmer, Euro-style cuts in the US? Speak your mind in the comments.

· Zara, Spain’s Most Successful Brand, Is Trying To Go Global [The Economist]
· Fast-Fashion Face off: Here's How Uniqlo Compares to Zara, Gap, and H&M [Racked]