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Wednesday
May142008

Vanity sizing

Vanity sizing

Learning to sew has continued to be an enlightening experience in more ways than one. For example, I've been stupidly assuming that my regular clothing size matched the sizes on sewing patterns. This assumption was WRONG.

When I shop for clothes in a store, I usually look for sizes 6 through 12. One of the reasons I hate clothes shopping is because in order to make sure something fits me, I have to try it on. It seems like every brand has its own sizing methodology.

Jeff, on the other hand, can often buy clothes without trying them on. He explained that often men's clothing is sized by exact measurements. The neck size, for example, or waist size.

Anyway, I've discovered that some of the patterns I've purchased are too small for me. After investigating further (I should have done this in the beginning, I know), I realized that my sewing pattern size is about 16 on the standard measurement chart (and I have to do some alterations since my body shape isn't standard).

Apparently "ready-to-wear" clothing sizes in stores carry "vanity sizes" instead (putting smaller numbers on bigger clothes) -- mainly so we women can feel better about ourselves.

Augh, how silly is THAT? I don't care whether I'm a Size 6 or a Size 20 -- as long as the clothes fit me, why should it matter? Or am I being completely obtuse about this? I find the whole "vanity sizing" issue vaguely insulting.

It seems that over the years, dress sizes have been shrinking even though our actual shapes haven't because some fashion companies believe that a woman will be more likely to buy a smaller size number. I suppose their reasoning is that the woman can then tell herself or her friends, "Look! I fit into a size 6 now!"

But the truth is that the term "size 6" is pretty much meaningless now. What's size 6 now used to be size 20 twenty years ago, and size 6 would probably be some other size if the woman tried on something else.

Curious about what your "standard size" should be? See this Wikipedia entry of U.S. standard clothing sizes. And check this entry for the European standard sizes.



Related info:

Wikipedia entry on vanity sizing

Urban Dictionary entry on vanity sizing

Boston.com article: "0 is the new 8: As waistlines grow, women's clothing sizes shrink incredibly"

Columbia news service: "Clothing stores shrink size labels to lure vain shoppers"

Times Online: "Vanity sizing: There's a good reason why you are a size 12 in one store and a size 14 in another.""

Babylon Five Virgin update



SPOILER WARNING: The blog below focuses on my reports while watching Babylon Five for the first time. An LJ feed is also available. If you haven't seen B5 yet and don't want spoilers, please DO NOT click below.

Season 3, Episodes 62 & 63: Walkabout and Grey 17 Is Missing
Season 3, Episode 60 & 61: War Without End



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