Disease Proof

Expanding Waists, Shrinking Sizes

Now, I’m not exactly the most fashion conscious guy on the planet. So I had no idea that there was such a thing as a size zero—there’s even double-zero and sub-zero—again, all news to me! Megan Scott of the Associated Press explains that despite America being the land of the fat, many women are squeezing into smaller and smaller clothing sizes, or are they? Take a look:
The fashion industry gets a kick out of appealing to our wish to be thin — changing the size on the label without actually changing the size. We're on to them…

…Designer Cesar Galindo, who sells mostly 8s, 10s and 12s, says he is concerned that women place too much emphasis on a size label. (How many men do you know who buy something that doesn't fit?) And he is bothered that designers play into their insecurities. He hasn't changed his sizing, but his 1967 mannequin, a size 10 back then, is now a size 2-4.
I’m not sure how I feel about this—it’s probably because I’m a guy—but if clothing manufacturers are screwing with sizes so that heavier people can fit into smaller sizes, where is the incentive to lose weight (other than the long-term health benefits)? Because for me, snug jeans are the first indication that its time to slow down the avocado and speed up the treadmill. Ladies, since the article is mainly about women’s clothes, what are your thoughts on this?
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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
CB - November 27, 2006 5:43 PM

I'll never forget the day, about 11 years ago, when I bought my first pair of pants at the Gap. It was a last-minute emergency purchase for work, and I was absolutely shocked to find I wore a size 4! (Normally, I was a size 6 or 7, depending on brand.) I've worn a 9 or 10 in junior's and a 4 or 6 in women's sizes at the same time. When I sew clothes from a pattern, I wear a size 12 or 14, but Old Navy would say I'm a 6. I think this is crazy-making!

This country needs either a universal size chart or to switch to measurement-based sizing (like men's jeans and shirts). I just can't believe that having the sizes on the label shrink are really making most women happy, it's just requiring us to visit the dressing rooms more.

When I sew clothes from a pattern, I wear a size 12 or 14, but Old Navy would say I'm a 6.

Louise - November 27, 2006 10:25 PM

That's why Oprah's a size 8. Do you ever read women's magazines on diets, and the picture captions which show a 160 lb woman fitting a size 12? That's a milestone, to get into a smaller size. With the fluctuation in today's sizes, not a challenge.

But it's hard to buy things on ebay. European sizes are more traditional.

Sara - November 28, 2006 9:29 AM

It is certainly true that sizes are inflated. I have size 14 pants from 30 to 35 years ago that are almost the same as the size 10's now. Mostly sizes are not very meaningful. Now, should I buy an 8, a 10, or maybe even a 6 or 4? Try it on and judge weight with a scale. I go by clothes that I already have, whether they feel big or small. It is pretty silly to distort sizes so much. But now I know why that woman who is clearly larger than me says she wears an 8.

Monty - November 28, 2006 9:48 AM

Clothing sizes, like fat-city food portion sizes, have become supersized. Men's clothes have also become giant. For that reason, I can't buy from catalogs where I can't see or try on the item. (Pants, where the waist and inseam sizes are specified, are the exception.) Clothes that are marked "medium" are really XXXXL or thereabouts, made to fit giant potbellies or aspiring football linemen on steroids. I have a collection of cotton knit shirts that are over 50 years old, bought when I was in high school, sized medium, and they are still a perfect fit. Now, I try to buy small, but they are slightly smaller in the potbelly and the sleeves are too short. Are they actually fooling anybody when Mr. Blimp can claim that he wears a medium?

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