Key to good fit: body measurement problems specific to key dimensions

  • M Strydom
  • HM de Klerk


The purpose of this research (as part of a broader research project) was to explore and describe the problems that the South African Clothing Industry currently experiences with regard to the key body measurements needed for the manufacturing of well-fitting clothes. A postal survey was conducted among South African apparel and footwear manufacturers and retailers, from which a number of respondents were selected for follow-up individual interviews. In this manner, key dimensions were identified and defined. The results revealed that, although international descriptions are available for 100% of the key measurements, major problems seem to be experienced with landmarking, and with consensus about the measuring method and about landmarking. If one assumes that South African retailers and manufacturers probably rely on standardised international descriptions, one can understand the uncertainty in the industry as to where and how the key dimensions should be taken. This uncertainty is reflected in a mere 41,2% of cases where consensus exists among respondents as to how the measurements should be taken. It is clear that the apparel industry needs to discuss the identification of landmarks, as well as specific methods for taking the measurements on the body. Even if the problem is not addressed on an international level, it is to the advantage of all apparel manufacturing countries to reach consensus on which landmarks are to be used, and to describe in detail how these landmarks can be identified consistently and exactly how the key body measurements should be taken.