But is that REALLY your size?

The answer may shock you. More often than not, sizes differ greatly between brands, whether it be jeans, shirts, or shoes. A new website is gearing up to be the only tool you’ll ever need to determine your true size on a brand-by-brand basis. The brainchild of 22 year-old college student and entrepreneur Melissa Adelman, Size Me Up will offer an application designed to give you a quick and easy way to translate your size from one brand to another.

This overwhelming lack of consistency is mostly a product of a sneaky little industry practice being called “vanity sizing”. Basically, it is just a poorly concealed attempt by labels to help weight-conscious customers feel less of a pinch, so to speak. By simply reducing the size while maintaining the original fit, customers are led to believe that they are wearing much smaller fits than those they may wear by a different manufacturer, thus ensuing a great deal of brand loyalty.

So head on over to Size Me Up and discover your true size. You may feel better, you may feel worse. But at least you’ll know the truth, and with a little research, you’ll never again have to use the pliers to put on that favorite pair of jeans.

One thought on “But is that REALLY your size?

  1. This overwhelming lack of consistency is mostly a product of a sneaky little industry practice being called “vanity sizing”. Basically, it is just a poorly concealed attempt by labels to help weight-conscious customers feel less of a pinch, so to speak.

    I intend no discourtesy but I laughed hard when I read this, it’s the venue -a western wear store- that makes it so ironic. First, have you read the wiki vanity sizing article in it’s entirety? If so, you must know there’s some controversy over the legitimacy of the concept. To whit, it’s better described as “size inflation”, a term I coined several years ago. There’s no secret conspiracy about sizing.

    Let me backtrack by introducing myself. I’m a pattern maker in the apparel industry (27 years). I specialize in western apparel and have literally worked for the best and most expensive brands in the business. I don’t know your buyers but I know reps who’ve dealt with your stores.

    There’s two main players accountable for size inflation, manufacturers and retailers (to include retailers cum manufacturers via private label). Manufacturers are sizing product lines according to their market AND the MEDIAN of that market, iow, the average. Now, since the average consumer is getting larger, those sizes in the spread must as well. If sizes remained static, manufacturers would have to add sizes to their range. That’s too costly to produce. Besides, it’d push them into plus sized lines on the upper end and while consumers don’t know what that means, you and I do. How many plus sized western lines do you carry? Hopefully I’ve made my point.

    The impetus of retail is similarly based on the increasing girth of their average customer AND what I describe as pressure on their vendors to CONFORM to other line’s sizing. If the measures that constitute the sizes of everybody else’s lines are increasing, it creates problems for a retailer. If one company’s size 10 remains static and in effect is two sizes smaller than competing lines, you can’t hang those together. It creates a merchandising problem. You’ll always have to tell the customer that “X” line runs small or very small *in comparison* to other lines. Therefore, buyers are always sending feedback to manufacturers on their sizing because retailers need it to be somewhat similar to what’s being put out by competing lines.

    I laughed over a western store saying this because product lines are highly targeted to given demographies; I think much of this nuance is lost on consumers today in the advent of mass marketing and a shot gun approach to hitting one’s retail stride. If you research niche product lines, it’ll be more obvious. To whit, the sizes 2, 4, 6, etc for ballerinas are much smaller than the sizes 2, 4, 6 etc for western wear barrel racers. True or true? The sizes for ballerinas are attenuated to that specific market. The same applies to the western apparel market. Both are valid. The smallest ballerinas can find what they need and vice versa. Now, what would you say if a toy-sized ballerina came into your store and proclaimed that your lines were all vanity sized because they didn’t fit her, a size 10 in her demography? She’s not your customer and as such, she’s not your size10. Of all the lines out there, western lines run the largest and as well they should! The western apparel consumer tends to be more active, more fit, larger boned, more muscle, they work harder physically. Even accounting for body girth and shoulder spread, the sleeves have to be longer than typical mass market lines. The backs of riding jackets must be “too” long as well. Does this make them vanity sized? I dare say not. But the average consumer could walk in your store and erringly claim you do.

    Other product lines are similar. Ralph Lauren produces seven different lines for different consumers. I *guarantee* his premium purple label runs “small” as compared to his lowest price line. Why is that? RL’s premium customer is smaller, thinner and has more money. The lowest price line is for the aspirational consumer, one buying it for the label. They are larger, heavier, less fit and with less expendable income. Now, if RL sized both lines equally, he wouldn’t be able to sell it to either group.

    I should stop taking up your space but here’s many more reasons that vanity sizing is a myth.

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