Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Thoughts on Vanity Sizing

I think I got ahead of myself. I thought it was so awesome, that those size 16 black jeans fit, and they do. But I tried on the same size, same brand of jeans hanging in my closet, and they're too tight! It's like the black jeans were mislabeled. I think they're really a size 18. I don't think it's a case of vanity sizing (thank you, Apis), but it's possible. But no matter, I'm still happy with my progress.

Which leads me to have some more thoughts on vanity sizing. What is the deal? Are we women so vain, so sensitive, that we can't handle it if we really are a size 12, instead of a true size 6? Just give it to me straight, I say. Otherwise, being a size 6 has no meaning, anyway. I'm not a baby, I can handle the truth. In a roundabout way, it reminds me of a talk by Julie B. Beck, the Relief Society General President, in the last General Conference, where she quoted Eliza R. Snow, who said, "Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time." So man up, already! Or, woman up, as the case may be. We're strong women, we can take it!


  1. Becky,

    I know I have a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that don't match up according to size. Part of this is because plus size clothing doesn't match up with regular clothing. For example, I have a pair of plus size 14 capri's that are huge on me but my regular size 16s fit just fine. Size is not regulated so don't use that as a gauge, just wear the clothes that fit you best and feel happy about how good you look in them.

  2. Vanity sizing is absolutely happening, it's all about profit. I agree with Cammy.

  3. You wrote:
    "Just give it to me straight, I say... I'm not a baby, I can handle the truth... So man up, already! Or, woman up, as the case may be. We're strong women, we can take it!"

    Okay, the truth is that vanity sizing does not exist -which is not to say that there isn't something going on with sizing. That is undoubtedly true but "vanity" -the deliberate act of appealing to the consumer's basest instincts- is the least of it.

    What people are calling "vanity" sizing is better described as size inflation. And again, it has nothing to do with codifying consumer's emotional reactions. It has everything to do with yield and allocation within the production process itself. The impetus btw, is the pandemic of obesity in the US. There's more here:

    At the close of the above entry, you'll find no less than 15 or so other entries exploring this topic in all its manifestations.

  4. Cardigan Empire did an interesting post on this, and I couldn't help thinking of it while I was reading this. Let me see if I can find the link. Here it is. She did a whole series on this, I think for a whole week. Check it out.

    It really put things into perspective for me, and reminded me that we are all beautiful, in our own way.

  5. Kathleen's comment is tantalizing, but before I read her link, I'll go with my gut and say the bottom line is sales and sales are better if we think we're thinner.

    Becky, fact is you now fit into clothes you didn't used to fit into and that's awesome.

  6. Kathleen obviously feels very strongly about this subject. I read her link and a few of the articles to back up her thesis. I'm with you Apis, it's all about the bottom line and if a woman thinks that her bottom is fitting into a smaller size well, sales go up.

  7. Whew! I think my ears are ringing from the strong feedback on my post. That's what I get for randomly ranting late at night when I can barely keep my eyes open.

    I guess I just wish that there was more consistency in sizing in the clothing industry, especially when you do a lot of online shopping like I do, living in a small town. But if I lived where there was a lot of options, I'd probably still get irritated wasting time in a dressing room, trying to find the size that fits right. And to be fair, it's probably challenging for a clothing designer and manufacturer to cater to so many different body types and tastes.

    And thank you, Kathleen, for more in-depth articles and research on this subject. It is helpful to see more information and different perspectives.

    And yes, I am very happy with my body! I am thankful that I have the opportunity to feel so healthy these days, to be able to run up and down stairs, to lift my children with no problem, to generally do those things that good fitness allows. I look forward to an ever-increasing level of fitness, and to the pleasure I get to feel every day from working with my body, instead of against it.