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Vanity Sizing: A conspiracy to hide facts from the overweight?

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posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 02:23 PM
A rather mundane and light-hearted conspiracy for certain, but maybe a change of pace is in order.

Before I begin, I want it to be known I have nothing against those of us who have...something extra. This subject comes up in conversations quite frequently because many of the women I know work in Retail and make clothing. I made clothing as well.

As many here may know, the CDC proclaims at least 67% of all adults over the age of 20 in the U.S. are overweight, 34% of those adults are Obese. We are also seeing a rise in obese children as well.

It is important to note the CDC determined these statistics using a measurement called BMI. The effectiveness of BMI has been argued over the years.

The problem seems to be more prevlant in certian areas. Mississippi has the dobious distinction of being considered the fattest state in the union.

The debate rages as to what causes it. There is however a large contingent of people who say many people in the U.S. just don't know how big they are and clothing manufacturers are to blame for it. Now, as a person who has been overweight (215 at 5'7, i lost weight and got back down to my normal 135), I find it laughable this could be the case. It's pretty hard to look in the mirror and not see what's there, but I have always been a bit harsh considering my own appearance. I have to consider perhaps there are those of us who rely more on outside input to make a determination about their size.

I have sewn for awhile, you use patterns or you craft your own using the measurements of the person you are sewing for. Pattern sizing has not changed much for the last 30 years. For this discussion I will stick to speaking of misses sizing as this is what I am most familiar with.
I normally clock in at 38-26.5-38.5 (Inches), so I have to modify everything anyway. It is pretty much impossible to find clothing that fits off the rack. I don't consider myself thin really.

For comparison, please look at this size chart from
You will note the sizing does run big. Now, let's look at Old Navy.
You can cycle through Dresses and Pants for a relative comparison.

From my own personal experience, i have found that it depends on the brand. Either way i'm resigned that if something fits in the chest is will be too big everywhere else. If it fits on the hips it's normally too big at the waist. But, I will state that sizing has truly become inflated. 10 years ago I normally had to buy a medium or a large and wore size 8 to 12 depending on the brand. Now I'm buying small-medium and 6 to 10. I actually was 125 pounds a decade ago though i was flat chested back then. I can even fit into 4's at some places. I bough an Old Navy XS by accident and it fits just fine. I laughed, I'm preggo and it still fit up until my 4 month.

Critics call this "Vanity Sizing", or Size Inflation.

Manufacturers contend they are simply catering to their demographic. Critics contend this trend is making it difficult for people to ascertain their actual size. They say manufacturers are hiding the state of their customers bodies from them and this is dangerous. It should be noted the EU has a standardized measurement system in use on the mainland continent. This does make shopping convenient as you are going to be the same size wherever you go. The U.K. has a standardized system as well but it's use is not mandatory. The U.S. does not have one. Please note that a U.S. 6 is not the same as a U.K. 6.

Strangely enough, many men I know proclaim that sizes have actually gotten smaller over the last few years. Perhaps this is all to feed vanity. Women want to be smaller, Men want to think they are more buff.

Further reading:

Funnily enough, Chico's went right past all of this by just making their own sizing system.
I don't think I've ever fit into a 0 in my adult life!

So your take: Conspiracy or an appeal to vanity?

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 02:55 PM
Good thread. Star and flag
- For the past couple of years, I use to hate to clothes shop but then I decided to love the body I'm in. I usually wear a 12 depending on manufacturer but I still some 10's that fit well. I'm not really fat, but certainly not skinny. I like to think I have somewhat of an hour-glass figure.

I know size 0 is what is "in" these days. I recently saw an ad on local TV for plus-size models wanted. Now, a size 10 is considered plus-size. Ridiculous!


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