I’m not thin but neither am I large. In the local Asian brand market, I usually take an M (Medium) size for clothes without being over ambitious.
Yet going into to Western (American, British or European) clothes stores, I find I’m fitting into sizes like XS, S (MNG, Zara, Banana Republic) 0, 2 (Banana Republic, Gap) 8 (Marks & Spencer, TopShop or any British brand). The question is, am I really fitting into those tiny sizes? If I am, then how on earth are the even slimmer or smaller sized girls fitting into anything in these brands?
This is the phenomenon of vanity sizing. I personally believe that vanity sizing exists. Why I say so is because when you compare men and women’s clothing sizes, you’d notice that most men’s sizes are constant across most brands. Men’s shirts are measured by collar size (which don’t differ by very much), chest and sleeve length and men’s pants are measured by waist and length of the leg. That’s mostly all there is to men’s wear I’ve found. Know a man’s collar and waist size and you can invariably shop for your man at any time, even with him absent, without too much fear of his clothes not fitting.
Try with with women’s clothes and you have a nightmare on your hands. The same dimensions could mean anything from an XS to an M depending on the brand and cut. I personally feel it would be better if there could be some form of chart or guideline provided that shows you what the measurements of an XS or M are. Worse still when numbers come into play. Can you imagine if I’m a 0 in sizing, what would a smaller girl be? Negative? I have seen labels with negative sizing once (I can’t recall where) and it wasn’t pretty, I assure you! Negative sizing is just wrong!
I think manufacturers are basically catering to the psychology and vanity of women. Weight and size are 2 things many women obsess about. Manufacturers can capitalize on this by reducing their label sizes while keeping the dimensions the same. So, if you normally wear M but find that you are an S or XS in a certain brand, you might want to keep shopping there just so your wardrobe is populated with clothes that bear the label of a smaller size. I guess it might make some people happy but it doesn’t help or encourage them to lose any extra weight if they are still fitting into their old sizes albeit the dimensions might now be larger.
What it does do, is create havoc when shopping as far as I’m concerned. These days, I walk into a store and I can’t tell from looking at the labels what size I might take, and I hate having to try on lots of different sizes just to find one that fits. I don’t quite subscribe to this vanity sizing phenomenon because all I want are clothes that fit. I might gasp a little if told I’m an L but hey, if its fits and looks good, its just a label, and no one has to see it except you (and not even you if you cut it off!). 😉
I must admit to a little thrill every time I’m told I take an XS or S or 2 or 0 (yes its happened before and I was reeling) but the thrill soon passes when you realise that out of that one store, those sizes don’t exist in other brands.
In this regard, I find that Asian brands tend to be more constant in their sizing. I can more or less consistently take an M for most Asian or local brands. In fact, I find that the Asian version of Vanity Sizing is the opposite of the western concept. In Asian brands, I am anywhere between an M (Medium) to an L (Large). Somehow I find that Asian brands are cut smaller so I actually have to size UP instead of DOWN and fitting into an S or XS is but a dream. This begs the other question – if Asian sizes are cut small and Western sizes are cut bigger, what size are we in actual fact? The mind boggles…
Do you have a problem with vanity sizing?