Not fooled by vanity sizing

There is no way on earth I’m a size 6, despite the fact that my Not Your Daughter’s Jeans and Club Monaco summer pants bear a label that says I am.  Blame it on a sly marketing technique called vanity sizing.  That’s when clothing manufacturers cheat a bit by lowering the size number to make buyers feel better and more likely to purchase. At the present time I weigh 10-15 lbs. more than I did in my heyday yet I’m two sizes smaller than 30 years ago? Math is definitely not my strong suit (I’m an extreme right-brainer; the left side is barely functional) but even I know that the numbers do not compute.

I feel so much better about myself now that I can wear a size 2.
I feel so much better about myself now that I can wear a size 2.

Back when I weighed what I wish I weighed now I consistently wore size 8 or 10. Now that I’m older, fatter and have no waistline whatsoever, there is no way in hell I legitimately qualify to wear size 6 despite what the labels say. And after a lifetime of being a Medium (M) fit on top, one clothing designer has decreed I’m an Extra Small (XS).  The only thing that has grown in size is my bra and bra sizes are so notoriously baffling no one relies on them anyway. My shoes are still size 7 and probably always will be until I need extra room for industrial strength orthotics to keep me motoring. But then, I’ve never actually tried on a Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik—maybe I’d be a dainty size 5.

Vanity sizing is right up there with “sell the sizzle not the steak”. Now that I’m older and perhaps have a few more bucks to spend on clothing, the designers are marketing to my desire to feel good and are regularly trimming my size tag to inflate my self-image. I know I’m not really a true size 6 but if I keep paying more for the higher-end clothing names someday I might believe it. There’s another old marketing adage that says “Perception is reality”. I’ll bet if I opted for even more expensive lines, I’d be a size 2.  How could I resist? vanity2In fact,  buying more expensive clothes in fake teeny tiny sizes might ultimately be cheaper than all the money we waste on gym memberships, weight loss books, diet plans, and low-cal empty foods. And we’d probably look better too. Saving enough money to fit into a Stella McCartney or Armani Size O sounds like a goal worth striving for. And I’d never again have to say no to dessert.

The bottom line? Wear only what fits your bottom perfectly. Disregard the numbers. They lie.

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8 years ago

I like your blog. It looks every informative. I will share this with my mother.

8 years ago

So true! However, on the other end of the spectrum, it would be nice if higher-end designers would extend their size range upward to accommodate the plus-size woman. They are missing out on a great market full of women willing to pay more for better fit and quality. It is better than the past, but there is still a huge quality gap.

Lynda, I love your blog and will click the follow button right now!

Lynda Davis
8 years ago

You’re right about plus sizes. Too bad clothing designers and retailers don’t realize what a huge demographic we are. It would be to their benefit. So glad to have you following Boomerbroadcast.

  Lynda Davis Follow my blog at: Social commentary on life from a Boomer’s Broad’s perspective


Perry McEwen
Perry McEwen
8 years ago

I don’t think this is a new concept. I’m a boomer and many (many!!) years ago my mother told me that the more expensive the clothes we bought, the less we weighed, i.e. the more expensive, designer labels were far more generous in size than the cheaper (off-the-rack) ones. The high end couturiers have been catering to our weight insecurities for a long time. Which is why I will never buy anything without first trying it on first.