clothing size

Women’s Clothing Size is a Sham


We all know how it goes. You’re in the changing room of your favourite shop, trying on a pair of size 10 jeans. They fit like a glove. You then head over to another store to find that you fit more comfortably into a size 14. What causes this phenomenon? Don’t worry, you haven’t gained or lost inches from your waist in a matter of minutes. This occurrence is known as vanity sizing.

What is vanity sizing in regards to clothing size?

Vanity sizing is essentially size inflation. It occurs when ready-to-wear clothing of a universal nominal size becomes bigger in physical size over time. It is a marketing tool that is used by companies to ensure that they have returning consumers. Why? Lets consider, if a woman in her forties was a size 10 in college, and prides herself on her ability to maintain her weight, it is very possible that she has slightly increased in size in the last twenty years and just simply hasn’t noticed. This is due to the fact that her clothes have increased in size along with her, but have remained on the label as a size 10.

What’s the issue?

Vanity sizing exists to boosts peoples confidence. Increasing peoples self esteem within themselves is always a positive thing. However the reasoning behind these good intentions is maliciousness and add to the profits of large corporations. This is due to the fact that people will continue to shop in a store that uses vanity sizing, and that tells them they are a size 8, rather in a shop that tells them they are a size 12. This allows the store using vanity sizing to ensure returning customers. It is no secret that capitalism profits on the exploitation of women. Does this sound far-fetched? Well I took the liberty of visiting a few popular retail stores to try on jeans of the same size. I’m a mere 5ft and wear a size 8 in clothes. So here’s what I found.

These trousers are a size 8 from one well known store across Ireland and the UK. I literally felt like I was dressing up in my dad’s jeans. There was at least an extra 2-3 inches of extra material around the waist/hip area.


Here are a pair of size 8 jeans from another popular store. And they fit!


This company have recently adopted the concept of vanity sizing. Here is a size 8 that once again, has excess material of about 2 inches.

I am now a size 6 in this shop, which I would never have fit into before until the company decided to use vanity sizing.


This is a pair of trousers from a different store again. They were a size 8 with another 2-3 inches of excess material. They were once again larger than a regular size 8.

However this shop is interesting as they have a petite section. So I tried on a size 8 from there aswell.

Initially I thought they fit more comfortably as they were made for a shorter person. However a size 8 usually measures as 26 inches in width. Once I compared the two size 8s side by side, it was obviously that they were of two different measurements in regards to width.



Women are worth more than their waistline

Unfortunately studies have shown that a woman will feel more confident in a smaller size piece of clothing that doesn’t fit perfectly, rather than a lager size that has a better fit. That is tragic. It shows the impact that the media and society have had on women’s perceptions of themselves.Many women see their worth as the size of their waistline. Women come in all shapes, sizes and colours. It’s a cliche but everyone is beautiful, regardless of their clothing size. Just because someone is a size 6, doesn’t make them any more or less beautiful than someone who is a size 18. The beauty of the moon does not taint the beauty of the sunset.

A community and youth development student, a socialist, a feminist, a lover of plants, a lover of food, a very small person