Vanity Sizing: Helping Boost Your Self Esteem

June 23, 2011 · 13 comments

Vanity sizing, aka size inflation, is somewhat of an unknown truth.

You go into a store. Try on the size 8 jeans and they feel… BIG! You can’t believe it! You haven’t been a size 6 since High School! You look at the price tag and squirm a little. $150 for a pair of jeans!??? You know you can probably find a cheaper pair at H&M but will they fit this good? Quickly you rationalize the logic behind buying the more expensive pair of jeans.  High off endorphins, you head to cash register.

Whether or not this sounds familiar, it’s called Vanity Sizing and it happens every day!  High end labels size down to make their customers feel good about themselves.  They have found that when a consumer fits into a smaller size, they experience a period of jubilation that makes the purchasing decision much easier and more money is likely to be spent.

While this has been speculated since the genesis of the size 00, it appeared in an article today in USA Today, comparing side by side measurements for a size 10 at KMart and Ralph Lauren.  There are no regulations nowadays regarding sizing.  It’s pretty much up for grabs. This is disturbing, especially with my addiction to RueLaLa! How am I suppose to just guess my size when it can pretty much be whatever the designer wants it to be? Should there be regulations?

Curious what I had in my own closet, I discovered that most of my clothes range between 3 sizes.  The majority being the lower 2 digits, and a few outliers from Target.  This is because I know and admit to falling victim of vanity sizing.  I will not buy an expensive piece of clothing if it is a large size.  I feel like it’s because “I’m bloated” and will come back when I’m not to make sure the size still fits.  

Curious about what everyone else thought about Vanity Sizing, I made a YouTube video.  With over 28 comments in less than 2 hours, the majority of my viewers had no idea about vanity sizing!  I am shocked to be honest.  Do you fall victim or do buy what fits and what your budget allows?  Like me, do your bigger size pieces of clothing tend to be from lower end stores?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alyssa June 24, 2011 at 2:40 am

Oh my goodness, I was just shopping today at Express (looking for bargains on the clearance rack, naturally :p) and I picked up a pair of size 4 jeans, because I am usually a 3-5. I was swimming in them, and thought hmmn whaaat? I then tried on a pair of size 2 jeans and they were STILL too big! Now I have never been a size zero in my life. I’m petite and small, but not even remotely close to being a size zero (or a two, for that matter :p) and I immediately realized that there was something up with the jeans! Had to be! Oh, vanity sizing :-)
I will admit to falling victim to vanity sizing. If a label declares that something is a larger size, I am less likely to buy it. Silly as it may sound, it is human nature, especially for females.

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2 Alyssa June 24, 2011 at 2:41 am

As for my budget, I am stubborn. I don’t care about sizing or even how an item looks, too expensive is just that-too expensive. I like to think that I dress nicely, but I do so on a budget. I’m a poor college student, I have to! :-)

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3 Ashley June 24, 2011 at 4:28 am

I never really knew the actual name to this, how annoying. This can especially happens with plus sized people as myself and you’re like ok I guess I’ll go check to see what fits and if something is loose when you’re normally another size, you are the happiest gal ever since most of the time real plus size clothes aren’t in the big name brand stores so you feel fantastic. . . .then this? Total debby downer. Sometimes commercial needs to cut us some slack and stop making us feel like we “have” to fit in a certain brand of clothes or else you’re simply cheap or something. But budgets should always come first. With one $150 jeans, I can buy an outfit :)

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4 Shannon June 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

Great post as always!

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5 Heather June 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm

i had noticed that there was a difference, even just between Hollister and A&F and Levi’s! when i can afford to splurge on them I lovvveeeee buying the high end (so sue me, i love fashion lol) merchandise as much as possible and hate buying knockoff brands. so i’d say that i’m definitely a vic of vanity sizing!! :(

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6 Hollie June 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I had no idea! Obviously I notice the size fluctuations but didn’t know it correlated to the price tag of the jeans. I fall victim. When I go to Target and have to go up a size, I won’t buy it because I’m already skeptical that it’s made cheap. To me, if the size isn’t consistent with my typical size, it’s a flag to me that it’s cheaply made. I knew there was a little defense mechanism going on there!! I feel fooled! Good to know, thanks!

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7 Sarah June 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I go up in size at Target too! But since it’s cheap I just assume it was poorly made too and don’t care – it’s the expensive clothes I wont buy if the size is off haha – so I guess I’m the perfect target :/

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8 Brittany June 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I noticed this at JCREW recently when I picked up a few dresses in my normal size only to find out I needed 2 sizes smaller. It’s kind of annoying because all brands are different now and you never know what size you’re really going to need. It makes it impossible to shop online if you’ve never bought anything from the brand before.

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9 Charlene June 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I’m really glad you did this vlog. It does help put into perspective when looking at the price tag. This can also be really annoying when ordering online. Thats why I usually look at the size chart.

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10 rana January 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm

You go into a store. Try on the size 8 jeans and they feel… BIG! You can’t believe it! You haven’t been a size 6 since High School! You look at the price tag and squirm a little. $150 for a pair of jeans!??? You know you can probably find a cheaper pair at H&M but will they fit this good? Quickly you rationalize the logic behind buying the more expensive pair of jeans. High off endorphins, you head to cash register.

Reply

11 Sylvia Torres February 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

So So So true! I’ve experienced the other side of Vanity sizing. I’ve been saying this for years, and few people have believed me. I literally can pull Limited pants size 0 on and off without unbuttoning them. And an Express 00, well that too is too big. And the nasty comments I’ve heard from Sales Associates, “Must be rough not fitting into a 00″ Well it is. I remember leaving there almost depressed, feeling like a freak. I realize I’m thin, but if this Vanity sizing keeps up I’ll be shopping at Baby Gap for jeans soon enough.

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