Vanity sizing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vanity sizing, or size inflation, is 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.[4] The use of US standard clothing sizes by manufacturers as the official guidelines for clothing sizes was abandoned in 1983.[5][6] In the United States, although clothing size standards exist (i.e., ASTM), most companies do not use them any longer.[2]

Size inconsistency has existed since at least 1937. In Sears' 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.[7] Some argue that vanity sizing is designed to satisfy wearers' wishes to appear thin and feel better about themselves.[2][3] This works by adhering to the theory of compensatory self-enhancement, as vanity sizing promotes a more positive self-image of one upon seeing a smaller label.[5]

Designer Nicole Miller introduced size 0 because of its strong California presence and to satisfy the request of many Asian customers. Her brand introduced subzero sizes for naturally petite women.[2] However, the increasing size of clothing with the same nominal size caused Nicole Miller to introduce size 0, 00, or subzero sizes.[2]

The UK's Chief Medical Officer has suggested that vanity sizing has contributed to the normalisation of obesity in society.[8]

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.[9]

US pattern sizing measurements: 1931–2015[edit]

Pattern sizes – Du Barry / Woolworth (1931–1955)[10]
5 ft 3 in–5 ft 6 in tall, average: bust (3 in < hips), waist (9 in < hips)
Dimension/size 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 40
Bust 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 36 38 40
Waist 23 23.5 24 25 26 27 28 30 32 34
Hip 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 39 41 43
Pattern sizes – McCalls (1947)[11]
5 ft 3 in–5 ft 6 in tall, average: bust (3 in < hips), waist (8-9 in < hips)
Dimension/size 12 14 16 18 20 40 42 44 46
Bust 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Waist 25 26+12 28 30 32 34 38 38 40
Hip 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49
Pattern sizes – DuBarry / Woolworth (1956–1967)[10]
5 ft 3 in–5 ft 6 in tall, average: bust (2 in < hips), waist (9–10 in < hips)
Dimension/size 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20
Bust 30.5 31 31.5 32 33 34 35 36 38 40
Waist 23.5 24 24.5 25 25.5 26 27 28 30 32
Hip 32.5 33 33.5 34 35 36 37 38 40 42
Pattern sizes – DuBarry / Woolworth (1968–present)[10]
5 ft 3 in–5 ft 6 in tall, average: bust (2 in < hips), waist (9 in–10 in < hips)
Dimension/size 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
Bust 29.5 30.5 31.5 32.5 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Waist 22 23 24 25 26.5 28 30 32 34 37 39
Hip 31.5 32.5 33.5 34.5 36 38 40 42 44 46 48

US misses standard sizing measurements: 1958–2011[edit]

Misses' sizes (CS 215-58)[12] (1958)
5 ft 3 in–5 ft 6 in tall, regular hip
Dimension/size 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
Bust 31 32+12 34 35+12 37 39 41 43
Waist 23+12 24+12 25+12 27 28+12 30+12 32+12 34+12
Hip 32+12 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Misses' sizes (PS 42-70)[13] (1970)
5 ft 2+12 in–5 ft 6+12 in tall, average bust, average back
Dimension/size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
Bust 31+12 32+12 33+12 35 36+12 38 40 42 44
Waist 22+12 23+12 24+12 26 27+12 29 31 33 35
Hip 33+12 34+12 35+12 37 38+12 40 42 44 46
Back-waist length 14+12 15 15+14 15+12 15+34 16 16+14 16+12 16+34
Misses' sizes (ASTM D5585 95(R2001)) (1995, revised 2001)
5 ft 3+12 in–5 ft 8 in tall
Dimension/size 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Bust 32 33 34 35 36 37+12 39 40+12 42+12 44+12
Waist 24 25 26 27 28 29+12 31 32+12 34+12 36+12
Hip 34+12 35+12 36+12 37+12 38+12 40 41+12 43 45 47
Misses' sizes (ASTM D5585 11e1)[14] (2011)
5 ft 5+12 in tall
Dimension/size 00 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Bust 31+18 31+34 33 34+18 35+14 36+14 37+14 38+34 40+38 42+18 44 46
Waist (Straight) 25+38 26+18 26+78 27+58 28+12 29+12 30+12 32+14 34 36 38+14 40+12
Waist (Curvy) 23+78 24+58 25+38 26+18 27 28 29 30+34 32+12 34+12 36+34 39
Hip (Straight) 33+14 33+78 35+18 36+38 37+12 38+12 39+12 41 42+12 44+14 46 48
Hip (Curvy) 34 34+58 35+78 37+18 38+14 39+14 40+14 41+34 43+14 45 46+34 48+34

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 waist may be quite a bit smaller than the actual waist, in US sizes. In 2010, Abram Sauer of Esquire measured several pairs of dress pants with a nominal waist size of 36 at different US retailers and found that actual measurements ranged from 37 to 41 inches.[15] 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, the 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.[16]

See also[edit]

  • Body image
  • EN 13402, emerging European and international clothing standard from 2007, based on body measurements in centimeters
  • US standard clothing size, an inch based standard based on body measurements, gained little traction and was replaced by vanity sizing from the 1980s

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Flattery Gets Designers Everywhere". Fox News. 15 July 2002.
  2. ^ a b c d e Schrobsdorff, Susanna (17 October 2006). "Fashion Designers Introduce Less-than-Zero Sizes". Newsweek. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  3. ^ a b D'Angelo, Jennifer (15 July 2002). "Flattery Gets Designers Everywhere". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2006-05-25.
  4. ^ "Vanity Sizing". WNWO.com. Archived from the original on 2005-02-15.
  5. ^ a b "Hidden Numbers: The History of Women's Clothing Sizes in the U.S." Bodylore. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  6. ^ "When — And Why — We Started Measuring Women's Clothing". Time. Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  7. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (24 April 2011). "One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10". New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  8. ^ Howard, SJ; Davies, Sally C (27 March 2014). "Chief medical officer urges action to tackle overweight and obesity". BMJ. 348: g2375. doi:10.1136/bmj.g2375. PMID 24677657. S2CID 6223248. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  9. ^ Kinley, Tammy R. (2003). "Clothing Size Variation in Women's Pants". Clothing and Textiles Research Journal. 21 (1): 19–31. doi:10.1177/0887302X0302100103. S2CID 110382656.
  10. ^ a b c "A short history of U.S. white women's measurements used for patternmaking". Analog-Me. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  11. ^ "Vintage 1940's McCall's 6879 Misses Shirtwaist Dress Size 14". yourpatternshop.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  12. ^ "CS 215-58 Body measurements for the sizing of women's patterns and apparel" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-06-17.
  13. ^ "PS 42-70 Body measurement for the sizing of apparal" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2014-09-14.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ Sauer, Abram (September 2010). "Are Your Pants Lying to You? An Investigation". Esquire.
  16. ^ Jamieson, Alastair; Hadfield, Tom (September 2011). "Wrong trousers on the High Street as men fall victim to 'vanity sizing'". The Sunday Telegraph.

External links[edit]