Tuesday, February 5

Vanity Sizing

   There's no denying the fact that we live in an image conscious age.  Women everywhere tirelessly strive to conform to an unrealistic shape or size believed to be deemed acceptable by society.  Clothing designers are acutely aware of this fact and play on a woman's desire to fit the prototype.   Hence, the development of Vanity Sizing.  The concept is rather literal and means labeling a garment with a smaller number or letter size than it actually is in an effort to cater to the vainest of shoppers, women.  For instance, the purchaser believes she is buying a Size 2, when in actuality the garment is a Size 4 or 6.
   One of the biggest offenders is Banana Republic.  In the past I've praised the label up and down because I do love Banana's quality and versatility.  However, it is with the wear-ability of their clothing that they fall short.  This has particularly been the case in the past year or so when I began noticing that the brand changed their sizing.  I have been shopping at Banana for the past 10 years and during this time have been exactly the same shape and size.  However, a year ago their clothes started fitting me differently.  Really the problem was they weren't fitting at all.  I would still buy their garments because I loved their style and quality, but I needed to have almost everything altered, especially the dresses, skirts, and pants.  I was always either a 0/2 or XS in their clothing, but to my disappointment I began noticing these sizes were now too big.  When Banana started making 00s, I mistakenly thought my problems would be solved.  However, somehow the 00s were even too big.  I acknowldge that I am a small woman, but by no means is my 5'4 115 lbs frame too small for a 0/2, nonetheless a 00 in any other store!
    It didn't take long for me to figure out that Banana Republic, like many other retailers, was guilty of Vanity Sizing.  With the advent of size 00 the 0s now fit like the old 2s, the 2s like old size 4s, and so on and so forth.  Vanity Sizing is definitely smart marketing.  I don't fault Banana for trying to win over female customers by making them feel thin in their clothes, but I do fault them for making their sizing so grossly inaccurate that I can't fit into a thing in the store.  The same is true about the sizing of Old Navy and Gap, which are also branded under the Banana Republic label.  With all the shopping I do there's one thing I'm sure of and that's my true size.  Truth be told I have no problem buying clothes that fit at Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Express, or any other store. 
   As much as I wish Banana would quit lying about their sizes I will likely continue shopping there because I do love their clothes.  I suppose my axe to grind is more with society for giving women such harsh and unrealistic ideals to live up to.  Heck men have it so easy.  They walk around with their pant measurements (accurate ones at that!) plastered all over the back of their Levis and no one judges them because it doesn't matter how big or small their waist is!

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