Have you ever felt the confusion and frustration of denim shopping? Have you ever felt the inevitable urge to run for the leggings rack? We all have. Shopping for jeans sucks because no two brands fit the same, and it’s all thanks to something called vanity sizing.
What is Vanity Sizing?
Vanity sizing is something that clothing manufacturers are using to boost the self-esteem of consumers so they are more likely to buy their product. The clothing items are labeled with a smaller size than the actual cut of the item. So that adorable size 6 dress could actually be closer to a size 10! These numbers are deeply infused into female thinking, and they deflate or boost up self-esteem. Why does a number on a tag tell us how to feel about ourselves? Why does the scale tell us we are okay or not okay? I don’t think I’m the only one that feels cheated living in a society where we are told we are only beautiful if we are thin.
So what exactly was it that made manufacturers change their sizing codes? Was it an attempt to make women wish we could drop two dress sizes? Or the merging of youth and adult fashions, making stores like The Gap into a one-stop shop for mommy and daughter? The reason for this is that downsized labels make people feel better about themselves. On the flip side, larger sized labels made people feel worse about themselves, so they were less likely to buy their product. This makes shopping increasingly difficult for both women and men when manufacturers don’t use the same standards for labeling and sizing.
Clothing sizes in North America have changed over the years. A size 8 fifty years ago could now be as small as a size 2. So if you have a friend that’s in her 40s and she tells you she’s the same size 4 that she was in her 20s, just passive aggressively send her the links at the bottom of this post. A size 4 isn’t what it used to be, honey.
I’ll admit, I am a victim to this marketing. It does make me feel awesome if I can fit into a size 8 instead of a size 10. I’ll probably even buy that item of clothing! Is that rational? Absolutely not. I should be worrying about the fit and appearance of a product, not the number on the inside that no one can actually see. The reason why I feel this way is because of the unrealistic beauty standards from companies like Brandy Melville or Abercrombie, who emphasize that the only way to be pretty is to be thin. Even though I absolutely disagree with that ideal, I still find myself a teensy bit excited when a smaller than usual size fits me.
I am an intelligent, somewhat accomplished ginger. Why should I believe that I’ve magically gained 20lbs on my way from my house to the store? Why should I let these misguided companies fool me into thinking I’m a sack of potatoes? I shouldn’t and neither should you. I am now confused as to whether I am fat or thin. But the truth is, it doesn’t fucking matter. The size on your jeans shouldn’t define you as a person, but too many young women let it define them. Vanity sizing is a passive aggressive form of body shaming, and it should stop.
PS – Rock that muffin top, girl! Embrace your body!