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likely an un-popular topic...vanity sizing

OK - so I went out this past weekend to get a few new things to wear to work and some new jeans. Everything I bought was a size 4 (various brands, varios stores).

Now as thrilled as I am to be in such a small size, I know I'm not a 4. In fact I've been smaller then this and my clothes were 8s.

I think I'd actually rather buy the real size then to be flattered. And what are the tiny people wearing - because it certainly isn't a 4....


Thu. Feb 16, 5:32pm

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There seems to be a lot more people at size zero than ever before!! My size 3/4 I wore 13 years ago would probably be considered a size zero now! I need to dig out those measurements and see!

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 5:46 PM

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Vanity Sizing

We pretty much only do it in america. I went to London last fall, and when I tried on my typical 10's and they didn't fit. In a nonvanity size I was a 14! That made me feel fat. My goal is to be in the single digits (nonvanity size) ergo -- a size 4 american = a size 8 in england. The average model used to be a size 6, and now they are a size 0 =) This isn't necessarily because models have gotten thinner; it is because sizing has changed.

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 5:48 PM

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Erm, the England vs US discrepancy has nothing to do with vanity sizing. It's just that the US has a different size chart to the UK (it's the same for shoes or bras, the same numbers/letters mean different measurements in the different countries).

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 6:09 PM

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I agree on the vanity sizing issue--

I found an old paper dress pattern from the 1940s at a garage sale--the inch size is a 34 chest, but If I remember correctly, the 'dress size" was a 16...

I recently bought some jeans and was amazed at the differences between brands. AxCess by Liz Claiborne (from Kohl's) is totally vanity sized. A size 12 seems more like a 14 / 15 in other sizes



Thursday, February 16, 2006, 8:02 PM

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I know. When looking at the height/weight thread, what I've been most surprised by is the women wearing size 4 and 6 at much higher weights than I was when I wore those sizes.

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 8:06 PM

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le Chateau now has size xxxs. Ridiculous. The obsession with being small instead of healthy is insane. But sizes differ based upon the market- le chateau is aimed at younger people, who are typically smaller. I shop at Sears- in their Jessica brand, I'm a size 12, in Nevada brand, a size 14, and Tradition (not that I wear it...) I'd be a 10 or 8. Really, as women we need to forget about what the size on the garment says, and worry about how our clothes FIT. Feel good about your body and who cares what number a manufactureer puts on it.
(Oh, and I have a 34" waist, but my 32" jeans are loose- yeah, like that makes sense...)

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 8:13 PM

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ugh, get this... I buy a size 12 bottoms in the store and I just started sewing. My pattern size is 18. Reality check!! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 8:17 PM

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tell me about it!!! I was wearing a size 16, and according to the pattern, my measurements made me a size 26!!! I couldn't believe it!

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 8:45 PM

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when my mother was my age...

My mom never gloats and unfortunately she's no longer in the best of health, bu t once in a while we'll get talking and she'll say that when she was in her 20's (where I am now) she was between 130-140 lbs and wore a size 14! I was sporting a 14 at almost 200 lbs in high school! That's a hugh difference. Now I'm 167 (ten years later) and I'm in a twelve but I'll probably be in a 10 around 155-160. If I ever get down to the 130s or 140s I bet I'll be an 8. These hips aren't ever getting into a six, no matter how "vain" the sizing!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 9:05 PM

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I usually have to shop at the fat ladies store. so last weekend I discovered a completely new size had appeared since the last time I shopped there. 0x. what the heck size is that??

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 9:06 PM

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that really sucks, because that means I have gotten even fatter than I thought! If I was an 8 four years ago and I am a 12 now, that means I 'm probably really a 16..... wah!

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 9:40 PM

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that is the biggest problem with the vanity sizing - it gives women a false sense of accomplishment. I wish our clothes were sized like mens! I'd rather just buy a 29/28 in pants and my shirts in sleeve length. Wearing a size 2 will mean nothing if its really a size 10 - so we should all just get past our "size".

Worry about eating healthy food, being in shape, and living our lives. The rest will come...

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 10:30 PM

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Maryiln Monroe was a size 12.

Friday, February 17, 2006, 2:58 AM

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It's size-flation - like inflation, and it's been going on for years! Someone said dress patterrns from years ago were so different and that's true. The worst part is that you never know what size to take to the dressing room because they vary so much from one to another brand. Argh!

Friday, February 17, 2006, 6:07 AM

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If Marilyn Monroe was a 12 then - she would probaby be a 6 or 8 today. That seems about right

Friday, February 17, 2006, 8:13 AM

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Ya know, if we bought our clothes by 'measurements' they'd probably actually fit better anyway.

Friday, February 17, 2006, 9:20 AM

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what sucks!

you know what sucks, i should be wearing a size 3 or 4 however I cant ever find any that size that are long enough. i have a 35 inch inseams!

Friday, February 17, 2006, 11:31 AM

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I'm not convinced...

When my mom was my age, she weighed 120 lbs. She is 5'5". Right now, I weigh 120 lbs. I am 5'1". All of my mom's clothes that she has left from then, obviously just a few pieces (she was my age in 1970), fit me perfectly, except for what's too long. Whatever "size" it was, pound for pound, I should be fatter than she was. I'm 4" shorter but weigh the same. Really, though, I must just have more muscle than she did.

I'll check the size of the few clothing items of hers that I wear; I've really never checked before. I'll record it here after I look.

Friday, February 17, 2006, 12:26 PM

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What do the women who were a size 4, say 10 years ago? My lean and slender friend supposedly is a size 0 today, but those are fitting her loose?

And Ann Taylor is the worst of the worst! there is no conceiveable way I wear a size 6. At my most slender (125lbs) ten years ago, the smallest I could get into was a 7/8. I'm only ten lbs. heavier today.

Friday, February 17, 2006, 12:50 PM

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Ann Taylor is cut for pear-shaped women. I wear a 4 there; they fit at my narrow waist or below, cover my butt, and are roomy in the thighs for larger thighs. My mom is thicker-waisted with a tummy but has skinny legs - Ann Taylor looks terrible on her, b/c she has to go up a couple sizes to fit her waist, and then the pants are way too loose for her skinny legs! Some stores, though, I have to go up several sizes b/c my hips are wide... It all differs...

Friday, February 17, 2006, 1:00 PM

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Thanks for the tip on Ann Taylor...I'll have to check her stuff out!

Friday, February 17, 2006, 1:35 PM

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I absolutely HATE the way jeans are made these days. I am about 125 and 5'5". I should be wearing a 6 or so (based on the current sizes). BUT - they are so big around the waist! They are meant to be worn so that your BUTT CRACK can show, I guess. UGGG!

I finally settled for some Tommy Hilfigers in a size 4 (they run VERY big, so that's why I can wear a 4), simply because they didn't hang off my butt.

UGGGG! So frustrating!

Friday, February 17, 2006, 1:40 PM

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A new size??

I was just scanning Banana Republic.com and I'd like to report that (drum roll please...) They are now offering some of their collection in a size Double ZERO! If this isn't vanity sizing, then what is? The conceot of a zero is foolish as zero means non-existent and even the slimmest of people still exist! What would 00 represent? The only think I can think of is a number on a sports jersey, not the size of a human being!

Friday, February 17, 2006, 7:59 PM

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To the poster who commented about the jeans she tried on being big around the waist...those jeans probably aren't really meant to show off your crack...It's likely that the cut doesn't fit you properly. According to my waist I can fit into size 12 but because I carry my excess fat in my thighs and butt I generally have to go up a size. If I'm really passionate about getting jeans that fit right and have a few days to spend just shopping in a major city I can find a pair that fits properly everywhere...they just tend not to be cheap.

Some low-rider jeans are meant to show butt cleavage (a trend that thankfully is quite "passé" now) but those don't fall on your waist so that's a moot point.

Also, on a sidenote, lower waisted (I do not mean super low riders!!!) jeans give you the illusion of having a smaller bum since it breaks that area up a bit. Just make sure that when you try them on you sit or squat in the dressing room to see if you do get "butt clevage" (caused by too much butt and not enough "seat material" to cover it, it pulls the back down) Jeans that go up to your waist aren't really flattering on anyone, not to mention a bad reminder of 80's style. Please, PLEASE do not wear jeans that climb UP your butt crack..if it looks like your jeans are about to cut you into two pieces...they don't fit you. And if you have muffin-top problems with your pants, go up a size or two!

Phew...that was a bit of a rant but seriously, I'm so tired of people who have decent clothes but wear the wrong size. If clothes don't fit you properly, you won't look good when you wear them. Buy the sizes that suit you because I really doubt anyone is going to come up to you, compliment the outfit and then ask to see the tags to verify sizing. :o)

Saturday, February 18, 2006, 3:17 PM

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great thread. at least now i understand how other women can honestly say they wear a size 12 or 14 when my eye tells me they weigh at least as much as i do. (and i wear a size 16 or 18).

Saturday, February 18, 2006, 8:09 PM

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I. Hate. Buying. Jeans.

I went school clothes shopping this past fall... Yeah, I hate jeans. Last year I bought all 9s.. This year I had to buy 11s-13s.. Okay, so I went up a size or two.. Whatever... But that's not the problem..

I've taken body measurements (4 different spots on my legs, mid butt/hips, top of butt, bellybutton.. etc).. My measurements haven't changed in the past year. And on top of that, I still fit into those size 9 jeans!

This make no sense except for maybe if they changed the size chart?.. Which is possible seeing how media hypes up being skinny..

Saturday, February 18, 2006, 8:30 PM

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If anything, with vanity sizing you should have gone down a size. Perhaps your size 9's are stretched out. Also, did you buy the same brand of jeans?

Saturday, February 18, 2006, 8:57 PM

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.. Oh, I don't know if I'm actually talking about "vanity sizing" .. seeing as I don't know what that is, haha...

And they were the same brand, yes.. They are probably stretched.

Saturday, February 18, 2006, 9:29 PM

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I finally realized that because of my butt shape, i need to take in the back of the waist band to make them not "gap".

I can't stand low riders because they land below my buddha belly and look stupid! >:(

Instead, I try to find "at waist" jeans (hard to find these days!) Ultra low riders are not meant for women with any waist fat. In my opinion, if my fat is spilling out over the top, then I need to find a different pair of jeans-- why the heck would I want to flaunt my fat?!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006, 10:37 PM

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Brisish Standards Institute's solution

The British Standards Institute has drafted a brilliant solution. The labels it has come up with has a pictogram with actual measurements in centimeters. Work began in 1996, and the standard was ready for publication in 2003. With 95% of the world's population using metric units, it would be the matural choice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009, 5:41 PM

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I'm 5'2" and weigh 129. Size 4 shorts @ Walmart are huge on me! Else where, I'm an 8 and that seems right to me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009, 7:54 PM

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I agree that there is a lot of vanity sizing going on out there, but you also have to realize that human beings are getting bigger. I don't just mean fatter, I mean bigger in general. I think some of the up-sizing comes from that.

Sunday, June 21, 2009, 9:39 PM

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I don't! I think the industry has simply taken advantage of what they know about the psychology of women! Think how good it feels when the numbers on your clothes are smaller than what you usually wear! Or how hard it is to even consider going up to the next size b/c of what that number means? Despite the fact the item would look fabulous if were just a little bit bigger? Can you imagine if women's sizing were *real* like men's and went by measurements?! Shopping wouldn't be nearly as fun for some women! Like stepping on the scale..the smaller the number = happy dance and more likely to purchase!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009, 9:49 PM

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it's all just so depressing to me. i think that buying the "right" size (without the vanity size) would be huge motivation for me to lose the weight. i could never fit into the size 4 pants i used to wear in high school (when i was about 110 - i'm 5ft4in) yet now at 145 i can wear size 4 banana republic jeans (not the pants)?

maybe the sad reality is that the female average size has increased so much that the US has had to resize their products?

Monday, June 22, 2009, 1:41 AM

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I like the idea of having the actual inch size (like mens sizes) on our clothes. Maybe then the industry will have some kind of standard again and we won't have to take 4 different sizes into the dressing room each time to try and figure out what size we are in each brand.

Monday, June 22, 2009, 9:02 AM

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actually, i tend to buy all designer labeled jeans and they do come in inch sizes...but it doesn't mean that they are fair either! my size runs between a 2-4, so usually 25/26". my favorite jeans are true religions, and i own 5 pairs. 3 of the pairs are sized 26, 2 are 25's....sometimes i try them on at the store and the 26's are too small in some aras, sometimes they are too big. you have to pay attention to the cuts. there are likely 150+ cuts in true religions (in store) at any one time! they are made that way so that people of any body size/shape may be able to fit into their jeans. not every woman has the same build, therefore different brands at different stores will all be...different. when you buy designer items, usually the store staff can easily make recommendations to you based on your a.) size b.) height/weight c.) proportion d.) desired fit. i have gone in and literally tried on 15 pairs of jeans just to find the right fit. if you want to look great in your clothes, patience is key here. i have long legs and am 5'7...a lot of the jeans that i try on don't fit in the crotch (too short inseam), which is another reason to buy designer...they all typically come in 35-37" inseams, and will tailer them to your desired length upon purchase. as far as the vanity sizing goes, i'm not sure about it. i consistently purchase items in the 0-4 realm (25/26"), tops always XS/S and it doesn't bother me because I realize that all clothes are not made to fit my body shape specific. my hip bones prevent me from wearing a lot of styles i would love to wear (they jut out), but i've learned to love them, and wear things to accommodate them.

as far as men's sizing goes: they don't always find that their true size fits! i have purchased my BF jeans in 30/32 (his waist is a 29), only to find that they are too short on him (like a 30 inseam would fit). And sometimes, even the 30's are too big/small...i think this is just an industry-wide dilemma, as all design houses just do what they do and don't adhere to strict rules on measurements. plus, think about the sweat-shop type atmosphere where these garments are being sewn together...you have to allow a fairly large margin for error when these people are getting paid 2.00/week to sew together jeans that cost more than they make in 2 years!



Monday, June 22, 2009, 11:26 AM

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