Some friends and I were chatting at brunch last Saturday and got on the topic of shopping. A bunch of girls talking about shopping – so typical right? The conversation took an unexpected turn though – it developed into a comparison of clothing size discrepancies between our favorite stores. For example, I’m a size 2 at Banana Republic, a size 4 at Gap and a 6 at Lululemon. Get me into a European designer’s dress (though not happening on a grad student’s budget) and I’m likely a 10.
Over the years, vanity sizing has become common practice amongst many American designers for one reason, it increases consumerism. Happier shoppers with a false sense of skinniness leads to bigger sales. European & high-end designers have largely stuck to the standards but as you can probably tell from your own shopping experiences, fewer and fewer designers are using the standard ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) sizes these days.
Because we largely shop by whole sizes rather than waist, bust or inseam measurements, women are certainly more affected by this than men. You can’t really fudge a 32-inch waistline but you can take a Size 8 pair of jeans, sew in a Size 6 label and make some woman’s day. Let’s be honest though, we all know which stores practice vanity sizing, don’t we? The brands know we know exactly what they’re doing… yet it still works otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it.
It honestly doesn’t matter to me whether I put on a size 2 or a size 200 – I’ll buy it if it fits well, flatters my shape and makes me feel good. I realize that this mustn’t be the norm though but are we okay with being lied to?
- Does vanity sizing impact whether or not you make a purchase?
- Do you think it impacts larger women differently than smaller women?