Are we deluded by vanity sizing? Do we think we have a body like Gwynneth Paltrow?

Do we love vanity sizing because we feel better buying a smaller size than we believe we really need, or do we hate it because it is another type of deception practised by retailers?

It has become almost routine in the high street for brands to size garments up – i.e. manufacturing a size 10 and slapping a size 12 label (or in some cases, a size 14 label) on it, to lull customers into the fond belief that they are a size 10 when they are really a 14, or a size 16 when they are really a size 20.

Personally, I can’t quite decide how I feel on the issue: does buying a dress labelled a size eight when I know I am at least a 10, sometimes a 12, deceive me into feeling I have a body like Gwynny or Madonna? Or, because I know that the particular shop “sizes up” – i.e. manufactures a size 12 garment and slaps a size 10 label on it – does it make me feel as though I am being manipulated and therefore stupid.

I clearly remember, as a not-so-lean teen, loving shopping at Wallis because Wallis was an early practitioner of vanity sizing thanks to its astute boss, Jeffrey Wallis. I knew that I could, without fail, get into a Wallis size 12 when I knew I was a size 14. I was aware it was a bit of a con, but I can still recall walking out of any of any branch of Wallis with a little bit of a spring in my step, carrying my new purchases in a SMALLER size than I knew I normally wore, and thinking, maybe, I was thinner than I was when I went shopping in Chelsea Girl or Peter Robinson (respectively the forerunner of River Island and Topshop) a week before.

So, while we know it is a device to lure us to a particular brand or shop, is it a harmless practice that makes us feel good, or by lulling a seriously overweight person to believe she (and, it always women – men’s sizing is pretty standard) isn’t as overweight as she is, does it exacerbate a possible health issue?

How do you feel about vanity sizing? Love it or loathe it, let us know…

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About Cyndy and Jan

Co-founders of SoSensational, a website showing sensational clothes for sensational women
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