No really…I am a size 8…Vanity Sizing and Fashion

This week, WebMD had a great article come out all about Vanity Sizing and how it affects how we shop.

Now, if you’re a man, there’s not as much vanity sizing happening in your world, but if you are a woman, you know what I mean.  I’m a size 14, 12 and 10 depending on what brand I shop in (yay Vera Wang at Kohl’s for size 10!).  At the end of the day, it’s hard to say what size you or I “really” are.  So, don’t look at the pantsize and take it to heart, rather, try on multiple sizes of various brands, and know that if one brand says you’re a 16, that it is just a number, and that another brand may knock your size down to a 12.

Here are a couple quotes from the article that really stuck out to me, and I can’t lie, I’m seriously considering applying some of these to my daily life.

“Focus on fit by shopping for clothes without looking at the tag size. Rather, look at the actual size and shape of the garment, and cut out the size tag after purchasing the item,” ~ Jennifer Baumgartner, PsyD, author of You Are What You Wear

It’s like bra burning, but better!  Cut the size tag out of your pants, it’s like “out of sight, out of mind”.  Do you ever go to your closet/dresser, look inside at the pants you wished you fit into comfortably, and then proceeded to grab the size you know fits, look at the tag, and finally berate yourself for being the size you are, rather than the size you want to be?  Cut out that little 1″x1″ square of cloth, and cut out its power over your life (at least somewhat).

A University of Michigan study found that when a woman thinks she wears a smaller size, she buys more clothing.  “What designers and manufacturers started doing was taking what was once their measurements for their size 8, for example, and putting a size 6 label on it instead, knowing that a woman would be more likely to make a purchase,” Raes says.

“The problem with this method is that, while it can be psychologically encouraging for the shopper, stores have had to introduce smaller sizes to fit petite women. It’s why we’re now seeing size XXS.”

Talk about unintended consequences.  I had never thought about women who were already significantly smaller than me, who 30 years ago would have been a size 6, and are now size 0’s and don’t want the stigma of being “too thin”.  Most of the time, I saw them and thought “I hate that you’re thin, it’s not fair that I’m not, because I know you don’t have to do any work for it.” (It’s significantly harder to think hateful thoughts about the people I see running and working out every day).

Has anyone noticed that vanity sizing has appeared to extend to underwear?  I swear to God, it’s like Victoria Secret knows we want to be thin, so they knock off a size, while Shopko leaves it all out there in the open.  I mean, let’s face it, who wouldn’t be like “Large”…”Great, I have a large ass”…and not end up with some kind of complex around it?  The companies who introduced sizes that were numbered, rather than Small/Medium/Large/XL etc. have it right in my opinion.

Better yet, do what Europeans do for pant sizes etc. and size everything by width/length, fewer questions that way for sure.  Men get this luxury, and so do we (if we shop in the “right” stores that have tags starting around $60 for a pair of jeans, and go up from there).

All I know, is that seeing a certain number on a pair of pants that fits me (my magic number is 14) is devastating when I see a size 12 right next to it in my dresser.  Some days I’ll fit in the 12, some days I won’t, and on the days that I don’t, that 14 is just staring me in the face.  Would I buy pants that say they are 10’s but fit like 14’s?  Absolutely.  Would I keep buying the same brand when I got down to say, a 4?  Probably not.

What would you do?

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