Date of Award
Master of Science
Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management
Mary L. Damhorst
The purposes of this study were: (1) to develop an understanding of young consumers' overall apparel fit satisfaction, (2) to explore the meaning of garment fit in general from the consumer perspective, and (3) to qualitatively investigate the factors that may affect clothing fit satisfaction when consumers evaluate their apparel fit.
Five research objectives for this study were established: (1) assess young consumers' overall satisfactions with apparel fit in general, (2) assess young consumers' perceptions of apparel fit in general, (3) identify possible factors that young consumers consider in determining whether they are dissatisfied/satisfied with fit, (4) identify the consequences of dissatisfaction with apparel fit, and (5) identify gender differences in consumers' perceptions and satisfaction regarding apparel fit.
This study used a qualitative-dominant mixed methods design, which consisted mainly of the qualitative, focus group phase with a limited collection of quantitative data prior to the group interviews. For both quantitative and quantitative phases, a convenience sample of 94 potential volunteers were recruited; 66 of the undergraduate students (70 percent) participated in a survey and focus group interview.
In the quantitative phase, a paper-based survey was used to measure overall satisfaction with fit in general; it consisted of four items borrowed from earlier consumer satisfaction studies, including questions about participants' personal background (i.e., gender, age, ethnic background, status of international student, class standing, and academic major). The results revealed that young female and male consumers were somewhat satisfied with fit in general (research objective 1).
In the qualitative phase, focus group interviews were used to explore possible dimensions of consumers' perception of fit and to gain a deeper understanding of consumers' experience and thoughts regarding apparel fit. For consumers' perception of fit, five themes were identified: physical fit, aesthetic fit, functional fit, social context, and social comfort. Physical fit, aesthetic fit, and functional fit were shaped in separate or overlapping ways depending on social context. Social comfort was achieved when three-dimensional fit played a successful role in social context (research objective 2). Other possible factors found to affect fit satisfaction were inconsistent size, fit alteration, price, physical comfort related to fit, and psychological comfort related to fit (research objective 3). Consequences of ill-fitting clothing were a decision not to buy the item, to find an alternative item, or to consider other possibilities to fit the items (research objective 4).
In the mixed phase, both quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed to compare the difference between young female and male consumers' fit perceptions, attitudes, and overall fit satisfaction in general. The results showed no gender differences in overall fit satisfaction; however, fit perceptions between male and female participants was different in detail, in terms of the degree of concern with physical, aesthetic, and functional fit and the examples of social situations in which they cared about fi t (research objective 5).
Shin, Eonyou, "Exploring consumers' fit perceptions and satisfaction with apparel fit in general" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13184.