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Is Vanity Sizing Harming Our Health?

By admin
Posted on 6 Oct, 2020
Is Vanity Sizing Harming Our Health?

The lower the size on the label, the more tempted we are to buy that gorgeous new dress. But could vanity sizing be masking a bigger problem?

Picture the scene, You’ve walked into a high-street store and spotted the perfect going-out dress. You’re usually a size 12, but you know sizes vary from shop to shop – so you pick up a 10,12 and 14, and head to the fitting room.

Crossing your fingers, you slide into the size 10 first and – miracle of miracles – the zip slides effortlessly upwards. You feel such a buzz, you buy the dress in two colors and go home happy, vowing that next time you shop you”ll hit the same store first for more of that Feel-good glow. You’ve probably had a similar experience.

Even though we know we shouldn’t care, we all Feel a thrill when we fit into clothes a size smaller than usual. But chances are it doesn’t mean we’ve shrunk overnight. More likely it’s down to vanity sizing – the trend where retailers are making clothes bigger,while the labels in them stay the same, flattering our vanity and encouraging us to part with our cash. It means that what 30 years ago would have been a standard size 14 could now be labelled a 12 or even a 10.
Vanity sizing is almost everywhere and, on the surface, it seems pretty harmless.

a girl good size

After all, what’s wrong with thinking you’re a perfect 10, even if your tape measure says different? But there are growing worries that this isn’t just an easy way For retailers to coax us into buying more clothes. Vanity sizing could actually be putting our health at risk. A waist measurement of more than 31in is a risk Factor For type 2 diabetes. If your body mass index (BMI) exceeds 25, you’re classified as overweight – a contributing factor to heart disease. But what if you have a 34in waist,while the label on your jeans is telling you you’re a 30? And would you ever consider you might he overweight if you could fit into an average size 12?

Sizing up

If you don’t believe clothes have changed all that much over the years, step into any vintage store and you’ll struggle to fit into your usual size.

Waists, busts and hips have gradually increased, as have the measurements of clothing. A size-12 woman today would have to buy a size 16 if she was buying a ’50s dress.
This is quite a shocking discrepancy. But the problem doesn’t begin and end at struggling to find a vintage Frock that fits. Women who store weight around their middle – the classic ‘apple’ shape – are more likely to suffer from a range of health problems, including high blood pressure.
But thanks to the ever-changing nature of sizes in high-street stores, many ‘apples’ can still fit into modern size-10 clothes, meaning that women who might be at risk of type 2 diabetes don’t know they’re in the danger zone.

Getting it taped

But that doesn’t explain why sizes vary so wildly from shop to shop, many of which are targeting the same market: Fashion-Forward twenty-somethings like you and me.
It was time to hit the high street with a tape measure to see how vanity sizing might affect a typical Cosmo girl.
Usually, I emerge from a shopping trip laden with size-12 dresses and jeans. So when I measured myself, I was shocked to discover that no only does my waist measure a sturdy 31in, but – according to the BSI chart – my ‘true’ size is a 14.

jean true sizes

It made me wonder how some of my clothes actually have a ’10’ on the label. I got my answer when I started trying on two spring staples – jeans and zip-up dresses – in different high-street shops.
It was the same story in all of them. A black shift dress in a 12 at Oasis looked amazing, and when I measured it, I Found it had a 31in waist – in other words, it was the same size as me. But according to Oasis’s online size chart, its size 12s should have a 28.3in waist – a detail that allowed me to snag a smaller size and leave the shop feeling great.

Labels vs inches

According to Andrew Crawford, this happens because size labels are designed to fit a body measurement and don’t indicate the size of the clothes themselves. “Clothes are cut to allow ‘ease’ – we need to get them on and off and pull them over our thighs,” he says.
“Sometimes this means an increase in waist size by up to a couple of inches.”

Which makes sense. But if we don’t know this is how clothes are made, it can make it very hard to keep track of our true size. A pair of Topshop Moto jeans with a 30in waist actually measures 32in, presumably so they fit comfortably. But when most of us use clothes to tell us our size, those two inches matter – especially if they mean the difference between being healthy and at risk of type 2 diabetes.

A recent US study showed that nearly a quarter of all overweight women aged 18 to 25 see themselves as slimmer than they really are, proving how common a distorted self-image is – and misleading label sizes don’t help. But although we might not approve of it in principle, many of us do respond to vanity sizing, and have bought a smaller size just For the label, even though we know it might not look as good as a larger one.

Taking charge

So, given how many of us Fall prey to label envy, who can blame stores for pandering to our vanity? “It’s tempting to point the finger at the retailers but it’s time we took responsibility For our own self-esteem and health,” says Kate Cook. “If you want to wear small sizes no show off; then go for it.
But a more useful thing would be to stop judging ourselves by the label in our jeans, and start measuring ourselves instead. I tell my patients to measure their waist-to-hip ratio every few months to see if they’re being delusional about their size.”

It seems that while vanity sizing is a great ego boost – until you try to buy vintage and find you can’t get your normal size over your head – it means that you shouldn’t use your dress size as a guide to your health. A tape measure is the only real way to make sure you’re the right size for your age and height.

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