Vanity Sizing

Reader and friend Yas sent me this hilarious blog post, “Vanity Sizing,” via The Lawsons did Dallas, and I just HAD to share it with all of you. Enjoy it 🙂

Let me preface this post about vanity sizing by saying even at my leanest I couldn’t wear a 6 at Banana in pants (just skirts/dresses) … so while I found this article funny and sassy and deliciously fun to read, I don’t know how accurate/inaccurate the sizing is at any store anymore.

Today, I just buy what fits my body in the here and now. But, as you know, it took me a looooong time to get to that place, and it’s still a struggle sometimes.

All this talk about the “perfect size-6” got me thinking … my first realization that a size 6 was “perfect” came from the Sweet Valley High series — twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield were always described as blond-haired, blue-eyed, California girls with, (and I’m quoting verbatim) “perfect size-6 figures.”

(Of course, this was before size 0 existed — which still makes no sense to me how someone can be “nothing” — … so maybe now the twins would be size 2s?! Yikes. I don’t envy teens today … or their moms!)

No wonder I had it in my head that I needed to be a size 6! … And no wonder why I cried tears of joy in the dressing room the first time a 6 slipped on … in my mind, that meant I had achieved “perfection.”

How crazy and delusional is that?! (Especially given that my 6 would have been a 10 just a few years prior!)

Vanity sizing is a whole bunch of hooey … but even knowing it, so many of us still fall for it.

How about you? What are your thoughts on vanity sizing? Does it bother you, or do you just not care?


13 thoughts on “Vanity Sizing

  1. Funny! I have to say I like the vanity sizing because well, I am vain and I like being able to fit into size X even though I know they are vanity sized. I remember reading that Marilyn Monroe would wear a 6 in today’s vanity sizing yet would be considered “large” by today’s standards (i..e compared to most Hollywood actresses, models etc) who are zeros and twos even the taller ones.

    I find the sizes at the big chain stores like Banana, Gap, and J Crew to be pretty consistently vanity sized and have remained the same over the last 4-5 years but the higher end brands like you would find at Saks, Nieman Marcus etc are not vanity sized and I need to size up. Same goes for the designer jeans like Joe’s, Citizens, SFAMK, etc.

    I asked my husband (who’s weight has been stable for 10+ yrs) if he has needed to change sizes over the years and he said no, has always been the same size and I guess that is because men’s pants go by waist and length measurements and women’s clothes seem totally arbitrary.

  2. Lara, that’s just it–we’re all aware it’s vanity sizing but we like seeing the sizes 🙂

    I can wear various sizes of designer jeans depending on the cut, style and, of course, brand.

    Yea, I think just women’s clothes are vanity sized. Likewise, when my husband needs a size up he never moans about it! Ah, to be a man…

  3. Having taking a few textile courses at Phila. Univerisity, I can tell you for a fact that there is no standard sizing in the industry and yes that is they way they want it. Even though I knew this I still had a tough time getting myself unwrapped from the axle until one day I had to go all they way up to a 14 in a suit jacket to get it to fit my bust line- which is a small B cup by the way. Talk about a reality check! Forget the numbers, it fits right and feels good you will look great and appease your vanity.

  4. You used to hear “perfect size 6” but lately I have read “perfect size 2” in a few magazines.
    I also read that a 6 is considered a medium now and that the actual measurements of a 6 are based on the average size of the American women which is now 5’4 and 165 lbs according to the CDC so sizes are made with that in mind.

  5. Just read the article. Hilarious, indeed!

    I have definitely noticed the trend in vanity sizing…I’m not sure I would say it bothers me, but I definitely notice. Old Navy is even more insane than Banana!

    In the UK, a 10 is what we call a 6. So an 8 there is really tiny, and you rarely see anything less than that in stores. A 0 is just ridiculous.

  6. I think vanity sizing is a load of crock. I will however admit to loving the idea that I can fit into a size 6 even though I know I’m bigger. But I still buy what fits and hate my cousin for wearing a 00…she really doesn’t exist I guess.

  7. Being a natural tomboy I have to admit that the term “vanity sizing” went right over my head when I first came across this article…then once I got it I almost laughed to realize that I too enjoy seeing that perfect size (an 8 in my case) slide across my mother of 3 hips when other stores force me into a 10/12. As a recovering disordered eater, I try to wear what looks good and focus on being healthy but I can’t help but steal glances at the tag…I can only hope that when my daughter reaches puberty, she will have developed the confidence to wear what she wants without a second thought about the size on the label.
    Oh and about Sweet Valley Twins…I too found myself striving to be like them and their mother Alice who was often mistaken for the girls sister even after having 3 kids just like me. 🙂

  8. I have found that the higher-end the store, the more the sizes are vanity.

    For example:

    When I don’t buy clothes at Goodwill (like a good frugal shopper), I’ll go to Penneys or Target or VF Factory Outlet (the only place I can find jeans that fit beautifully). I typically wear an 8 or 10 in pants/skirts at these places, and in shirts, I’ll wear either a small or a medium.

    If I go to a place at the mall (Banana Republic, Dillards, etc.), I’ll wear a 6 or sometimes a 4!! I have a skirt that’s a size 4, and it cracks me up. It gives me no delusions. When I step on the scale, I’m 125 pounds, whether I’m in my size 4 skirt or my size 10 pants. In those places, shirts for me are either small or extra small.

    I wonder what really petite women wear. I’m short, but I have a substantial frame with a bit of meat on it (not heavy so much as just squishy — BMI is well within the healthy range). A few friends are my height or shorter but very slender…

  9. So I have to admit something. I had a vaginal birth, and I wish I would have had a c-section. Everything went fine, but I am a very small girl and my son, although born early and small, had a big head. And so I broke my tailbone during delivery. The 4 months of pain and being unable to sit without a donut greatly outweighed the discomfort I’d have had from a c-section recovery, methinks.

    (I don’t say this to scare you at all — apparently this is extremely, extremely rare.)

    I actually had my annual gyn appointment yesterday, and since we are thinking about having another child in the next few yeas (potentially), she told me that she would offer me a scheduled c-section in half a second if wanted one. And while I am all about the vaginal birth, I can guarantee you that if I am blessed with another child I will have the surgery.

    In the end, you need to do what’s best for you and Maya, and whether that’s an induction, a c-section or just letting things go on their own, well, I am sure you will make the right decision when the time comes.

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