When it comes to fashion, we often buy clothes that are smaller than our actual size. In the past, manufacturers had standard sizes, but as the body shape changed over time, clothing brands began using their own systems for labeling their clothes. The result is a lot of inconsistency and vanity sizing, where clothes are labeled smaller than their actual size. In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why we buy clothes that are smaller than our actual size.
The fashion industry has historically catered to a particular type of consumer, the white, thin, and muscular. However, with growing affluence and an increasingly discerning public, shoppers are starting to turn away from stores like Victoria’s Secret and demanding more sizing variety from mass-market clothing chains. Celebrities are calling out fashion designers for ignoring curvier figures and are demanding more diverse sizing.
The rise of vanity sizing has rendered most labels meaningless. Today, a women’s size 12 in 1958 is the equivalent of a size six in 2018. In fact, jeans with a size six waistband can vary by six inches! In short, it’s no wonder that people are so frustrated when they buy clothes that are smaller than their size. If we could get a one-size-fitting chart, shopping would be a breeze.
As our buying habits changed, our self-esteem suffered and we started to shop online, we often bought clothes online. It was a cinch that we could try on clothes in our homes. We then sent back the unwanted ones and left the retailers with the costs of return shipping, inspection, and repair. Unfortunately, this new reality meant that vanity sizing became a profitable sales gimmick. We now pay billions of dollars in returns because of vanity sizing.