August 2012

A Sizeable Issue of Global Proportions

Size Tag by Sporkist

Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of vintage clothes shopping but in Buenos Aires, my home for the last eight years, the selection is slim. So, when visiting my home country of Canada I get most of my ‘new’ funky fashions second-hand. On my last trip back though, a friend encouraged me to buy clothes online. I needed some basic tees and tanks and the prices were right, so it was easy to fill up my virtual cart. I stopped clicking when she said I needed to order everything in an extra-small (XS). I thought I was a medium (M), at least in Canada. She insisted that anything larger would be too big. When my purchases arrived the next day, I realized she was right. I received further confirmation when we visited the local mall and hit the change rooms in H&M and Old Navy. Rummaging through the sale table at American Eagle further muddied the unstandardized waters. My friend held up a cute pair of faded jeans.

“Try these on, they’re only 10 bucks!”

I checked the tag and put them back on the sale table. “They won’t fit. They’re a size 5/6 and I’m a 9/10.”

“Trust me, they’ll fit,” she said pushing the hip-huggers into my arms.

Again, she was right.

Vanity sizing, or labeling clothes smaller than they actually are, is nowhere near a new phenomenon. For years now, experienced female shoppers know to take two or three sizes of the same garment into the fitting room because the label on the tag cannot be trusted. Brands and designers alike continue to reinforce the myth that skinnier is better by ‘rewarding’ women for wearing a smaller size. The Economist reports a noticeable trend in “size inflation” over the last 30 years: “the average British size-14 pair of women’s trousers is more than four inches bigger at the waist today than they were in the 1970s … and over three inches wider at the hips. A size 14 today fits like a former size 18, and a size 10 fits like an old size 14.”

While the clothing sizes have gotten bigger in North America, Australia, and the UK, the reverse is true…

Read the full story at Adios Barbie.