Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vanity Sizing: Just Making Everyone Feel Worse

Not too long ago, I found myself trying to find a purple dress for a friend's wedding. I unsuccessfully went through rack after rack at Macy's. Though purple is apparently "in" this season, everything was either several hundred dollars, or not the right size.

I found a dress that looked pretty nice, was in budget - but a size ten. Screw it, I thought, it looks kind of big, and I took it to the dressing room.

It fit. Perfectly. It even looked okay.

I guess she just couldn't ... address the situation.

Welcome to vanity sizing, one of many mindfucks of clothing stores, ruled by Anne Taylor, Old Navy, and the maker of my dress, Donna Ricco. (Others include: why does this bag cost over $2,300?)

Sizes are shrinking so quickly that in a few years, they'll just get rid of them and we will substitute random colors, or Italian words for fancy stores sizes.

Am I a size baciare or ipoteca? Or should I look in the Potansanto section?

At first, the smallest female size was an eight - now it's a double zero. If you currently wear a size eight, you would have been buying a size fourteen or sixteen in 1958. A size 4-6 in 1995 was equivalent to a two in 2011. And in 2014, I walked my 37-inch waist into a department store and bought a size ten.

Why vanity size? Money, of course. Women buy more clothing when they're feeling good about themselves, and a way to make them feel good is to convince them they've just fit into a smaller size. The average women will choose the size eight dress in brand A instead of the identically sized but marked smaller dress in brand B, even if it's more expensive. Profits go to Brand A.

Since female sizing barely had any actual meaning in the first place, it's easy for those evil, money-grubbing executives to continue shrinking them.

Typical quarterly meeting.

An unintended affect of this kind of sizing is that legitimately slim women have trouble finding clothes. They're too small for the XS sizing, even though they look and are perfectly healthy. It's easy to forget that when the larger sizes continuously shrink, the actually small sizes become laughably small, hence the double-zero sizing.

A person can walk into a store, look around, look at sizes, and still have no idea what will fit.

I would truly rather be a size twenty, in every store, than a size 10 here and 16 there.

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