LIFE

A Person Who Was A Size 14 In 1958 Would Be Considered A Size 8 Today Because Of ‘Vanity Sizing’

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a writer, native New Yorker, TV enthusiast, and dog mom to Hobbes.

As many women know, clothes sizing is a complicated and touchy issue.

Particularly in America, there is virtually no standardization of sizes across brands in the fashion industry. From personal experience, I know that I might be a size eight for one company and a size 10 or even 12 in another! Obviously, this can make it hard to shop without trying on many different sizes in each store.

According to Shawn Charter, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, this has to do with something called “vanity sizing.”

“Vanity sizing is a way for luxury brands and other brands in fashion to help a customer feel good about themselves by saying ‘you’re a size two,’ when, if you look at their measurements of bust, waist, and hip, they could be a size six or even a size eight,” Professor Carter said.

Size designations themselves have changed over the years, even as the average American woman has grown larger. At this point, a person who wore a size 14 in 1958 would likely wear an eight today. This push to constantly give bigger and bigger clothes a smaller number has even led to the creation of new sizes like 0 and 00.

That’s why it seems confusing to hear that famous Hollywood bombshells quite often wore sizes in the double digits, like Marilyn Monroe, who was frequently listed as a size 12. In reality, a size 12 back in Marilyn’s day translates to something like a size six today!

Check out the video below for more of an explanation, and don’t forget to SHARE this story on Facebook!

Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Milton H. Greene // Etsy / CorsetLacedMannequin

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