Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Vanity Sizing Hits Target

I went to Target today, I hadn’t been in a while. Look recently I have put on weight, I'd been letting it get to me a little bit but the other day I had a little bit of an epiphany. Sure I will lose the extra kgs I've put on once I up my exercise regime but in the meantime stop I decided to stop sooking about my clothes not fitting me properly and go buy a cheap skirt or two from Target in a bigger size.

So off I went to buy myself something in a size 12. I haven’t been an 8 since I was in high school and I know that I’m currently too big to comfortably fit in a 10 downstairs. I like Target okay, I know it’s not exactly ‘cool’ to say that but I don’t particularly give a shit. For cheap work and around the house clothes it does the job especially when you are on a budget. I went straight through the doors to the ladies section on the left hand side and started looking, then I noticed the sizing… Target has always had a small amount of size six in the ladies section, of course some ladies are that small, especially for women who are in between girls and ladies sizing but size four?? Really?? As I took a closer look I noticed something, you’d expect a size four to be pretty tiny right? These fours weren’t that small, they looked like a normal six, I immediately suspected vanity sizing. What is vanity sizing? It’s when clothes sizes are marked as smaller than they are so if you are normally a size ten, you’d fit into a size eight, and be loving life because yeowww you’re a size smaller than you thought you were!! Of course, you aren’t really, and if you go to a different store or even buy a different brand you’ll probably go back to your normal size. Do you know why this is so easy to do? Australia has no standard sizing for women’s clothes. Go do a search of “women’s standard clothing sizes Australia” and you will struggle to find two charts with the same measurements for the same tag number and what about your S, M and L sizing? What number do they relate to? At this point I only suspected Target had succumbed to vanity sizing, I kept looking around for a skirt and found one I liked, I picked out a size ten and a twelve to try on and off I went to the change rooms. The twelve…way too big, the elastic waist and was very loose and I knew already that the sizing was off. I tried on the size ten, it fit, in fact if anything, it could do with being a tiny bit smaller. I couldn't believe it. I’m not stupid, I shouldn’t have fit in that size ten. The sizing is definitely off by one. I bought the size ten but I wasn’t fooled and luckily I don’t have major body hangs ups because I’m not so sure someone who was uncomfortable with their shape would be so happy about being a size less when they see a size four hanging on the rack too.

Who’s fault is it though? Who do we blame? Target? Not really, I’m disappointed in them but did it run through every range they had in store or just the ‘free fusion range’? I didn’t go look at everything so I’m not sure, in any case they are definitely not the only brand doing vanity sizing. Is it the medias fault? Are they fuelling this warped perception of ‘the perfect body’? Or is it our fault? The general public? I don’t think you can pin this problem on one thing, the media puts out a reflection of what the general public asks for, wants, clicks on, likes, then companies act on this alleged demand, it’s a cycle. How do we break it though, is it too late? I don’t know but I do think it will take an effort to change it, I’m going to post a heap of links at the end of this post, some dating as far back as 2007 talking about vanity sizing and the desire for more standardised sizing. Has anything happened since then? No. What to do then?

I don’t have the answers but I know what I am going to do. I’m staying aware and I'm remembering that that little number on the clothes tag, it’s just an arbitrary digit. It doesn’t mean anything, it’s a sometimes helpful guide that will tell you which one of three different dresses might fit you. Don’t get hung up on that number, on that letter, you know what’s more important than your size number? It’s how you feel about yourself, and your self worth shouldn’t be dictated by a number. Forget fat and skinny and think about health and fitness. Don’t freak out about losing weight just aim for healthy and happy, teach your kids that from a young age, encourage them to question the images they see on TV and in magazines. Remember that those images you see go through photoshop, they are airbrushed, they are in full make up. It’s smoke and mirrors, it’s not real. People come in all shapes and all sizes and you can’t express that on a tiny clothes tag.

Love Carrie

More Reading….

Mamamia - Vanity Sizing One Size Fits All

Courier Mail - How Do You Measure Up?

The Curvy Fashionista - Vanity Sizing, Is It Really An Issue

Lady Melbourne - Size Matters

Alyce Vayle Author - What's Your Real Size, the Truth About Vanity Sizing