I stood in front of the mirror at the wedding gown store wearing what would end up being my wedding dress. Everything about it was beautiful: the cut, the pearls, the lacy veil. I loved it all….except the dress size. When the clerk saw my face drop as I read the label, she quickly explained that wedding dresses are true to size and that our everyday clothes are incorrect. That made me feel a little better, but seeing that larger number took something away from the once-in-a-lifetime experience of finding the perfect wedding dress.
The whole numbers game really bothered me even though I tried to ignore it. What I later learned was that I was manipulated by vanity sizing. This flattery is a stealthy way for clothing manufacturers to sell more products. By exploiting our desire to be thin, they make us believe we fit into a smaller size. If we believe that we can squeeze into a smaller size, we feel better about ourselves and will likely purchase the product.
Vanity sizing isn’t new and has been going on for decades. If you take a look at sewing patterns from the 1970s, a size 10 from that time period would be the same as a size 0 today. I even read somewhere that if Marilyn Monroe slipped into a dress in today’s world, she would be a size 14. My first reaction was to laugh. How could the iconic sex symbol be a size 14? She looks like a size 6, maybe even an 8, but size 14? No way! I’m well aware that sizes can differ from brand to brand, but I think it’s safe to say that vanity sizing is real.
Even though I had that wedding dress experience, I admit that I still fell for vanity sizing when I started dieting even though I knew how inaccurate clothing sizes could be. After several months of Weight Watchers, I decided to go shopping for a new pair of pants. I grabbed what I thought was my size, but ended up trying on one size smaller than that. Purchasing the larger size would have been fine since it was smaller than my pre-dieting size, but seeing that even smaller number on the label brought a giddy smile to my face. I happily handed over my money, and not just for that smaller pair of pants but also for that smaller number. And that was what the clothing manufacturers were counting on! They knew that my desire for that smaller number would likely lead to a sale and an increase in their bottom line, which it did.
By now I feel like I have been fooled enough. I know that the number on my clothes are meaningless, and I refuse to get sucked into the dieting industry’s consonant manipulation. Not only are the numbers artificially deflated, they surely don’t define me as a person because I am more than a number.
Where have you noticed vanity sizing? Please share in the comment section below.
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