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Aiming for a Simpler More Gentle Approach to Sizing

COKANNA Aims for a Simpler More Gentle Approach to Sizing by Colleen Kanna
After I step out of the shower in the morning and before I put my eyeglasses on, sometimes I look at myself in the full-length mirror. And I think, “Hmmm, I look pretty good”. My legs seem a little longer, my body seems a little leaner, and no wrinkles or varicose veins. It’s a softer, fuzzier view. And then I put my glasses on. But, am I seeing more clearly now?
I think this softer view is a kinder, more gentle approach to life. And I don’t mean looking through rose colored glasses, or being unrealistic. I mean looking with a less critical eye, with less judgement. We are so quick to judge people by the way they look, and even more so with ourselves. I think when we have a harsh view of ourselves, it inevitably spills over to others.
My daughter is so critical of her own body at 14. And really it started in Grade 5 when she was only 10. She thinks her legs are fat. She has muscular legs from figure skating. Even as a toddler she has always had these amazing calf muscles. That’s her body, that’s who she is. But she looks in the mirror with such a critical eye, a harsh, unforgiving view of herself. How do I get her to look at herself through a softer lens? Or maybe no lens at all because she is near-sighted just like me!
Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we stopped judging a book by its cover? What if we took a more generous outlook? No one is perfect so why do we look for perfection. Wrinkle-free flawless skin is not perfection. It does not look real. it looks like too much plastic surgery, even plastic surgery gone awry, or too much airbrushing. Shouldn’t those laugh lines and age spots be celebrated, or at least accepted. You have lived.
A size 00 is not perfection either. In fact, a size 00 today was a size 8 in 1958. Remember the model, Twiggy, back in the 60’s? There was a reason she was called Twiggy! She was thin, rail thin. Well, in 1967 she was a size 8 and today she would be a size 00. So, 50 years later we have not become thinner. We have just been introduced to vanity sizing. And shouldn’t a size 00 mean you don’t exist?
Check out this Time Magazine online article and video by Eliana Dockterman, Why a Size 8 in the 1950s Would Be a Size 00 Today.
There is no standard sizing in the fashion industry. To a certain extent, I can understand why. Think of all the different heights, shapes, and widths our bodies come in, not to mention our arms and legs. No two bodies are alike. Some of us are bigger on top and smaller on the bottom, and vice versa. Some of us are pear-shaped, or apple shaped, or whatever other fruit shape you can think of.
The fashion industry tries to accommodate all of us. There are regular sizes, plus sizes, petite sizes, tall sizes, women’s sizes, misses sizes, not to mention different fits – relaxed fit, slim fit, loose fit, original fit...
It is all very confusing. You can be a size 12 in one store or brand and then a size 8 in another. Even when the sizing is S, M & L, you can be one or the other or all 3. I have even come across a brand that does only two sizes – S/M and L/XL.
So here is what I am striving for with the COKANNA line. I am trying to make the sizing realistic. I have taken the measurements of several of our customers who I believe are a good sample of our target market, women over 40.
Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash
Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash
I measured a few at the smaller end of the scale, a few at the upper end of the scale, and a few in between. These are real women, not models, just your everyday down-to-earth amazing women. Again, everyone’s measurements are different but hopefully, I can get a realistic representation of an XS to an XL.
Once I have the sizing standard down, all the COKANNA pieces will have the same fit, taking into account style differences of course, i.e. straight cut vs a more flowy cut. My goal is consistency so if you wear a size M in one style, then you will wear a M in all the styles. Naturally, if you are smaller on top than the bottom, then you would probably wear a size M in a top and a size L in a bottom, but you would already know that.
My sizing may evolve over time as the line grows and the customer base grows. In fact, it has already evolved over the past couple of years.
COKANNA Aims for a Simpler More Gentle Approach to Sizing
My wish is for women to feel comfortable in their own skin, and my goal is to offer soft, easy-to-wear, stylish clothing that comfortably goes along with that. It is one of COKANNA’s core values, our reason ‘why’. COKANNA is for you.
I always strive to stay in touch with you, our customers, and get your input and feedback. I have been having many customer conversations. I want to know what you need, want, and like.
So please if you have any thoughts on sizing, design, fit, fabric, colour, fashion in general, I would love to hear from you. Comment on this blog post, send me an email at, like our Facebook page and leave a comment, or follow us on Instagram and send me a DM. I want to get to know your wish list...
Colleen Kanna
Colleen Kanna is a breast cancer champion and creator of coKANna Designs, a line of stylish bamboo Canadian-made clothing for women over 40. Five percent of sales are donated to the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre in support of their Head Start Program for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

1 comment

  • Lillian M. Lee

    I am usually a size 8 and size M. Thanks Colleen!

    Good Luck

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