Japanese has something called wasei eigo (和製英語, literally “Japanese-made English”), which means words that seem to be English (eigo), but are not. These words came from English originally, but the meaning has been changed to a distinctly Japanese meaning.
Today’s wasei eigo theme is fashion (a topic near and dear to my heart)!
Free Size / furii saizu / フリーサイズ
Free size means one-size-fits-all. Sizes are different in Japan than in the US, and one size fits all is also slightly different. Japanese sizes run small, so Japanese free size is smaller than one size fits all in the US.
“You often hear, ‘Free size is not free‘ But from what size to what size actually is free size?” or “You often hear, ‘One-size-fits-all does not fit all.’ But what size range is one size fits all?”
＊American sizes are about 5 times bigger than Japanese sizes. So, although free size may not quite be an American L, the American one-size-fits-all is probably at least bigger than a Japanese LL (equivalent of an XL).
Order Made / oodaa meido / オーダーメイド
It’s order made and not “order maid” (these can sound the same in Japanese pronunciation), and it refers to custom made or made-to-order items. This can refer to things outside the fashion world, such as furniture, but also clothing and accessories (gloves, socks, etc.)
“For my wedding, I ordered an order made suit.” or “For my wedding, I ordered a tailor made suit.”