As a part of the recent fitness challenge, I had to do what I rarely have to do: measure my body. I was in for a shock, not only because I had not measured myself in a long time (not since my sewing class 5 years ago), but also because my clothes size had not really increased proportionally to my actual body measurements.
The tactic or phenomenon, known as “vanity sizing,” is used by clothing manufacturers to appeal to the vanity of the customer in order to make more money. While it used to be more popular with women’s apparel, it is quite prevalent in men’s apparel nowadays too.
At one point, sizes were once standard in the United States, but that went away in 1983. Not only does this make shopping a nightmare, I believe that “vanity sizing” is one of the contributing factors in the weight problem here in the United States. People are being conned into thinking that they are smaller while sizes are getting roomier. Supposedly this is for the benefit of the customer’s self esteem, but does this really benefit anyone but the clothing brand?
I remember reading at some point that Marilyn Monroe was a size 14. This statement was made to make all the overweight ladies out there feel better about themselves, but it is using a different context to create a false sense of self esteem. More than likely Marilyn Monroe was a dressmaker size 14 at her heaviest (5′ 5 1/2″ and 140lbs), which makes her a ready-to-wear size 6, nowhere close to being overweight by today’s standard!
While it is not any clothing brand’s fault that I got fat, I know that I didn’t really think about the fact that my clothes are actually getting fatter with me. From now on I will be regularly measuring my body because clothes do lie!!
- Tim Gunn Blasts”Deceptive Shell Game of Vanity Sizing
- Even shoes need ‘vanity sizing’ as feet get fatter when we pile on the pounds (dailymail.co.uk)
- Gotham Patterns: A History of Vanity Sizing in 20th Century