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Vanity Sizing - Elizabeth Unexplained
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greyautumnrain
greyautumnrain
Vanity Sizing
Shopping: Warren wanted to go shopping Saturday, so shopping happened. He specifically wanted to go to some of the higher-end stores. His quest for gloves was unsuccessful since there was only summer stuff available, but he got some other stuff. I bought something too...

So, there we were walking through this store that's a bit more expensive than any place I normally buy stuff, when I spotted a nice dress on a manaquin. The thing that caught my eye was the full skirt. Those of you who dance will understand my excitement when I verified that it was indeed a full circle skirt. This was a sleeveless white-cotton dress with a full circle shirt, and that meant it was a dancable dress.

Dancable dresses and skirts are hard to find. I can find skirts in a specialty dance shop in Englad. Of course this is why I have nine different version of the exact same skirt in different colors, but it works. Dancable dresses are even harder, and here was one in a regular (if expensive) store. Given tha I almost only ever buy dancable clothing now, this was a big win.

On flagging down a salesperson I found out that there weren't many copies of this dress. (In fact, it lookes like they got just one of each size, and had sold a few already.) Upon searching, there was just a size 12, a size 14 and the size 6 that was on the manaqin. Normally I take a US size 8, but I can sometimes take a size 6 if things run large. I asked the salesperson, and she said this designer usually ran small. I was disappointed, because when things run small I need a 10. On the other hand, I really liked the dress, so I resolved to try on the 12, and I figured I might as well try on the 6 as well, just in case she was wrong about them running small. It was a good thing I did, because the 6 fit fine. If anything there was room to spare.

This brings me to the issue of vanity sizing. In high school, I wore a size 8. We shopped at cheap stores, because that's what we could afford. Now I still wear a size 8, only more and more often I wear a size 6. Have I lost weight since high school? No, in fact I've put on a good chunk. Nope, I'm wearing a smaller size because I'm shopping and more expensive stores where there is more vanity sizing going on. Vanity sizing is the practice of resizing a clothing line so that the same clothes are now labelled as a smaller sizes. The idea is that a woman will be so pleased about fitting into a "smaller" size that she'll be more likely to buy the dress. Its pretty insidious because if your wallet expands as your waistband does you can fool yourself into thinking that your not gaining girth. Also, in this case it the salewoman's addition to this practice (telling me they ran small) nearly resulted in me not trying on the 6, and 12 would have been too tent-like on me. You can have too much of a good thing. Still, I've got my dress and I like it, and better yet I'm not deceived about my real size.

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Current Mood: amused amused

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Comments
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: April 18th, 2005 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
It's not just a factor of expensiveness; I think it's a general trend.

Worse, I discovered last time I bougt clothes from the LL Bean catalogue, that it wasn't just that they were making clothes larger for the old size labels. The catalogue gives you a measurement chart: take your measurements, figure out what numerical size you need. I did this, and got pants that were a size, if not two sizes, too large. Inches are inches, guys...
twe From: twe Date: April 18th, 2005 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that's quite poor.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: April 18th, 2005 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I've found a general coorelation between price and amount of vanity sizing going on, but yeah, its not absolute.

If the measurement chart is off, that's really a problem. Perhaps they mean for you to purchase based on the measurments you wish you had, or they're basing it on what your measurements were 15 years ago, assuming a roughly constant rate of expansion for all Americans...
dcltdw From: dcltdw Date: April 19th, 2005 08:21 am (UTC) (Link)

the honest inch

Utilikilts uses "the honest inch" as a descriptor in their sizing chart. They tell you what to do (put on pants, run the measuring tape as a belt).

At least they tell you that a kilt should, once on, either fall off or nearly do so. It's somewhat of an odd feeling, though: "umm, this kilt is about to fall off." I mean, I know I'm ignorant when it comes to kilts, but even so, it still makes me wonder, "hmm, did they throw in a fudge factor into their honest inch?"
twe From: twe Date: April 18th, 2005 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
So did you get the dress?
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: April 18th, 2005 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes. I guess I should have been clearer about that. Of course I can't wear it yet as its definitely a sunny-July-day dress, not an April-in-New-England dress.
coraline From: coraline Date: April 18th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
tell me about it. i'm in serious danger of falling OFF THE END of the sizing charts in a lot of places. (hell in some places i already have.)
not to mention poor coffeekitty who not only weighs 15 pounds less than me, but is 6 inches shorter.
merastra From: merastra Date: April 19th, 2005 12:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eek! Maybe coffeekitty should visit Taiwan. :) They're a good deal smaller and lighter than the avg US woman. Clothes from there look silly on me.
coraline From: coraline Date: April 19th, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah, she's been lusting after japanese fashon magazines for a while now...
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