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Need Help: Plus-Sizes, Women's Sizes, WTF?

Ok, so I'm shopping for pants. Slacks, khakis, non-jeans. But I'm completely confused by the difference between Women's sizes, plus sizes, and non-plus sizes.

I'm currently wearing a size 18 in jeans and skirts, and an XL or 18 in dresses.

The issue is, some pants I'm looking at only come in Women's sizes, and the last time I checked the sizing chart to try and convert I wound up with a skirt that was way too big.

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So does anyone have any tricks, recommendations, etc. on understanding/converting Women's sizes to non-Women's sizes, or to Plus sizes?

Ugh! Why can't our pants be like men's pants with just the waist and length?! Things would be so much simpler!

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