As a fashion-minded woman, shopping literally is therapy for me. Whether it be done in a brick and mortar store or online, the thrill I get out of purchasing something I truly love and will wear for years is an amazing experience, second to none.
Unfortunately, that thrill has become less enjoyable of late as the brands I once thought of as “brainless buys” have changed their sizing, making going to the dressing room and being extremely disappointed a more frequent occurrence. For the better part of my life, I have been a curvy size 4, but now when I go into stores like the Gap or H&M, that size 4 has now turned into a size 8 which makes me wonder, “What size am I?” Other brands like J.Crew I have found are taking another approach seeing that my size small has now translated into an extra small, making me all the more confused as to which of the three brands is actually correct.
Vanity sizing has long been an industry practice that has been used by brands to increase the morale of shoppers by adjusting their sizing so that for instance my size 4 self could fit into a size 2. The Gap was always a brand I believed to take part in the practice really giving more leeway in fit to women like me with curvier frames, but now it seems that their sizes have taken a different course, making me feel much bigger than I might really be and leading me to wonder if their recent turn in a more high-fashion direction is causing them to cater their sizing to women who are shaped like models, instead of the average woman.
Take for instance this statistic from a New York Times article on the subject: “A woman with a 32-inch bust would have worn a Size 14 in Sears’s 1937 catalog. By 1967, she would have worn an 8, Ms. Zulli found.”
A company that is trying to combat this sizing issue is MyBestFit, which is setting up kiosks in malls across the United States, giving 20 second full-body scans which ultimately provide you with your sizes in close to 50 participating stores including American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Talbots and more. It might not catch on, but it is at least a beacon of hope that can make shopping easier and less stressful.
What do you think of vanity sizing? Is the disparity between brands a turn-off? Which are your favorite and least favorite brands to shop in terms of fit?