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Your Bod

How do I know what size pants I wear?

 

We all know the struggle: You go into a store and find the perfect pair of skinny jeans that hug your waist just right and look as if they were custom hemmed for you. But then, when you go to another store and try on the same size of jeans, they barely fit over your thighs. There's no way you suddenly gained weight in the past twenty minutes, so what gives? How can two pairs of jeans that claim to be the same size fit so differently? The reason is called vanity sizing, a marketing technique that companies have used on women for over fifty years. 

Vanity sizing is when a company artificially lowers clothing sizes in hopes that the “smaller” size will make it more desirable to the customer. Imagine this scenario: A woman walks into a trendy store and tries on a pair of pants in her normal size, however when she tries them on they are way too big. Vanity sizing assumes that all women want to be smaller, and that by making their customers feel skinnier the company will sell more pants. Not only is this a stereotype and manipulative of girls’ insecurities, but it is also greatly affecting the fluidity of American sizing as a whole.

How bad is it? We now know that companies are guilty of fluffing the numbers, but for a long time this marketing technique went unnoticed. If you were to compare today’s “size 8” to the standard “size 8” in the 1950’s they would vary greatly; however, due to the inconsistency of today’s clothing sizes it's impossible to say by how much. 

The moral of the story: Use your past pant size number as a jumping off point to find pants that make you look and feel good. When you go to the dressing room, grab a couple of sizes on either side for each fit you are trying on, as even jeans sold at the same store can differ. Just remember that not fitting into “your size”, is not a flaw on you, but on the system itself.

Have you ever noticed this trend? Share your experience in the comments below!

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by Clarissa Latman | 5/19/2017
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