Vanity sizing

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Vanity sizing, also known as size inflation refers to the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing of the same nominal size becoming bigger in physical size over time.[1][2][3] This has been documented primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom. Vanity sizing tends to occur where clothing sizes are not standardized, such as the U.S. market.[4][verification needed] In the United States, although clothing size standards exist (i.e., ASTM), most companies do not use them any longer.[1]

Size inconsistency has existed since at least 1937. In Sears's 1937 catalog, a size 14 dress had a bust size of 32 inches (81 cm). In 1967, the same bust size was a size 8. In 2011, it was a size 0.[5] Some argue that vanity sizing is designed to satisfy wearers' wishes to appear thin and feel better about themselves.[1][3] Designer Nicole Miller introduced size 0 because of its strong California presence and to satisfy the request of many Asian customers. It introduced subzero sizes for naturally petite women.[1] However, the increasing size of clothing with the same nominal size caused Nicole Miller to introduce size 0, 00, or subzero sizes.[1]

In 2003, a study that measured over 1,000 pairs of women's pants found that pants from more expensive brands tended to be smaller than those from cheaper brands with the same nominal size.[6]

US misses standard sizing measurements: 1970 - 2011[edit]

Misses’ sizes (PS 42-70)[7] (1970)
5'2½"–5'6½" tall, average bust, average back
Dimension/size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
Bust 31½ 32½ 33½ 35 36½ 38 40 42 44
Waist 22½ 23½ 24½ 26 27½ 29 31 33 35
Hip 33½ 34½ 35½ 37 38½ 40 42 44 46
Back-waist length 14½ 15 15¼ 15½ 15¾ 16 16¼ 16½ 16¾
Misses’ sizes (ASTM D5585 95(R2001)) (1995, revised 2001)
5'3½" - 5'8" tall
Dimension/size 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Bust 32 33 34 35 36 37½ 39 40½ 42½ 44½
Waist 24 25 26 27 28 29½ 31 32½ 34½ 36½
Hip 34½ 35½ 36½ 37½ 38½ 40 41½ 43 45 47
Misses’ sizes (ASTM D5585 11e1)[8] (2011)
5'5½" tall
Dimension/size 00 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Bust 31⅛ 31¾ 33 34⅛ 35¼ 36¼ 37¼ 38¾ 40⅜ 42⅛ 44 46
Waist (Straight) 25⅜ 26⅛ 26⅞ 27⅝ 28½ 29½ 30½ 32¼ 34 36 38¼ 40½
Waist (Curvy) 23⅞ 24⅝ 25⅜ 26⅛ 27 28 29 30¾ 32½ 34½ 36¾ 39
Hip (Straight) 33¼ 33⅞ 35⅛ 36⅜ 37½ 38½ 39½ 41 42½ 44¼ 46 48
Hip (Curvy) 34 34⅝ 35⅞ 37⅛ 38¼ 39¼ 40¼ 41¾ 43¼ 45 46¾ 48¾

Men's clothing[edit]

Although more common in women's apparel, vanity sizing occurs in men's clothing as well. For example, men's pants are traditionally marked with two numbers, "waist" (waist circumference) and "inseam" (distance from the crotch to the hem of the pant). While the nominal inseam is fairly accurate, the nominal size may be smaller than the actual length by more than an inch in U.S. sizes. In 2010, Abram Sauer of Esquire measured several pairs of dress pants with a nominal waist size of 36 at different U.S. retailers and found that actual measurements ranged from 37 to 41 inches.[9] The phenomenon has also been noticed in the United Kingdom, where a 2011 study found misleading labels on more than half of checked items of clothing. In that study, worst offenders understated waist circumferences by 1.5 to 2 inches. London-based market analyst Mintel say that the number of men reporting varying waistlines from store to store doubled between 2005 and 2011.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Schrobsdorff, Susanna (Oct 18, 2006) Fashion Designers Introduce Less-than-Zero Sizes Newsweek.
  2. ^ Vanity Wearing Suits.
  3. ^ a b D'Angelo, Jennifer (2002-07-15). "Flattery Gets Designers Everywhere". Fox News. 
  4. ^ US standard clothing sizes are no longer used by manufacturers.[dead link]
  5. ^ Clifford, Stepanie (April 24, 2011). "One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10". New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Kinley, TR (2003). "Clothing Size Variation in Women's Pants". Clothing and Textiles Research Journal. 21 (1): 19–31. Subscription required.
  7. ^ "PS 42-70 Body measurement for the sizing of apparal". Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  8. ^ "ASTM D5585 - 11e1: Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Adult Female Misses Figure Type, Size Range 00–20". Astm.org. ASTM. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  9. ^ Sauer, Abram (September 2010). "Are Your Pants Lying to You? An Investigation". Esquire. 
  10. ^ "Wrong trousers on the High Street as men fall victim to 'vanity sizing'". The Sunday Telegraph. September 2011. 

External links[edit]