Clothing retailers are not oblivious to those little victories we feel when we get to size down. I mean, they aren’t spying on you doing your happy dance in the fitting room, but they know women feel better when they fit into smaller sizes.
Vanity sizing, a practice many clothing stores use, is the process of making larger clothing smaller sizes. According to the Time Magazine article, “One Size Fits None,” “...a woman’s size 12 is now a size six...a pair of size 6 jeans can vary in the waistband by as much as 6 in…” American women are not as small as they used to be (ever tried to fit into vintage clothing?), and to accommodate for that, clothing retailers have changed the measurements of certain sizes.
Why don’t we just force clothing stores to all follow a standardized form of sizing?
Actually, this has been attempted in the past. In the late 1950s, the National Bureau of Standards published “Body Measurements for the Sizing of Women’s Patterns and Apparel.” This was supposed to help women determine what size they would be in any given store.
Unfortunately, it was less than helpful.
This was partially because the women they interviewed to determine what the standard for sizing was were all white and therefore excluded a large number of the population, but also because bodies cannot be easily categorized.
Despite the obvious flaws, clothing manufacturers were forced to conform to this standardized system of sizing until the 1970s, when the government finally gave up on standardized sizing.
Not only is it almost impossible to standardize the sizing of women’s bodies, it brings up an interesting ethical dilemma. By attempting to categorize and standardize women’s bodies, we imply that there is a certain range of measurements women should fit into.
Once again, we feed into body image issues. If somehow, the government was able to come up with a better standardized size chart, it STILL wouldn’t work for everyone.
If you are like me, you are still learning how to cope with the emotional drain that sizing can be.
It helps knowing that things have always been a mess.
But I think practicing body positivity is key in learning to accept whatever size you may be (read about this topic here).
No one’s body conforms to a standard. Clothing sizes in America, tend to be arbitrary, as they vary from store to store. While these numbers carry very little real value, the emotional toll that they can take on us is huge.
For example, when thinking about writing this blog, I wanted to include how I have a wide range of sizes in my wardrobe, but feel very uncomfortable elaborating on exactly what size I am.
The social pressure that we feel to be a certain size (the smaller, the better) is very real. I don’t want to be judged for the size clothing I wear, and neither does any other woman.
When you think about it though, it is crazy to make judgements based on sizing when your size varies in every different store you enter! My current closet has items ranging from a small to an extra large - which is complete insanity.
Unfortunately, there is no denying that rush that I feel when I try on a size small and low and behold, it fits! For whatever reason, the smaller the size I can fit into, the better I feel about myself.
As part of our “Self Acceptance with Attitude” Initiative, WodBottom plans to increase and revamp sizing in the future. You can expect a sizing category change and size expansions in 2020!
And as we always say here at WodBottom:
It’s not the stuff we make that inspires us
And incredibly powerful ❤️