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Vanity sizing   General Discussion

Started 11/11/17 by Mishii; 910 views.

From: Mishii


I have my mother's sewing machine that she bought in 1957.  She didn't do a lot of sewing so she doesn't have many notions and tools.  She has zero fabric.  Zero.  Anyway, I was going through the cabinet drawer and found some newspaper clippings and catalogs...typical detritus in a drawer.  One of the things I found was a McCall's back to school catalog from 1973.  I love looking at old catalogs and patterns and things and seeing how things have changed.  We all know that clothing manufacturers have implemented vanity sizing over the years.....I assume it is because if my tag says I'm a size 4 then I automatically weigh less or something ::shrug::  Pity they can't incorporate that into mirrors as well.

Anyhoo, I was looking through the sizing chart out of curiosity.  I come from healthy peasant stock and usually wear size 18-20.  In 1973 I would have worn size 44!  That is over double!  Marilyn Monroe reportedly worse a size 12....according to this chart she would have been about a 34-26-36.  That was considered average.  Size 12 is still considered average, but now you can be double the size of Marilyn.  Holy schnikes!

In reply toRe: msg 1

Yep as we get bigger they keep changing to size so that I still wear the same size. Vanity sizing for sure.

In reply toRe: msg 1

From: judyinohio


My DH has worn the same size in men's clothing forever.

It is only women's sizes that have been "tinkered with" over the decades.  And who tinkers with the sizes?  The men who run the clothing industry.  They don't mess around with shoe sizes, just clothing sizes. Sets me crazy.

  • Edited November 11, 2017 8:26 pm  by  judyinohio
In reply toRe: msg 1
Cathy (cacnurse1)

From: Cathy (cacnurse1)


An interesting find.  I'd be in the same category as you.  Getting up that much in size might have made me pay attention to me size sooner.

In reply toRe: msg 1



Yes, back in my early 20's I also wore a size 12. Not any more. Vanity sizing didn't keep up with me. <snarf!!>

Sharon in Arizona

CC (ccase5)

From: CC (ccase5)


actually i find shoes are different now. evidently made in a different Country than before or made for very different people. my feet are not that wide. i have to buy 1/2 size smaller to keep them on.
In reply toRe: msg 6
Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

From: Pirate (PIRATE_SR)


My favorite youngest daughter is about 5'2".  She probably weighs about 110lbs .. but I'm totally guessing on that.  She's "slender" verging on skinny.  

Occasionally, she will accept something from my personal "vintage" clothing that somehow seem to have shrunk over the past 30 years.  :-)   In retail clothing, she wears a size 6 (more or less).  YET ... I pulled out a gorgeous, classic, camel hair wool skirt that *I* used to wear when I was gainfully employed as a programmer (mid 1970s- early 1980s).  [At that time, there was NO such thing as wearing jeans or casual clothing to the office .. heck, no!  I wore white collar professional clothing ... suits, skirts, dresses, trousers.  ] 

I kinda thought that the waistband looked about her size and ... danged if it didn't fit her PERFECTLY.  She and I were very happy (although she did not want the matching camel hair jacket that made up the suit.  ah well.)  It looked very nice on her.

The size?  a 12.   Now, if that skirt, a size 12 (circa mid 1970s) fits her *perfectly*, you tell me how the heck today she wears as size 6!  It's the same body that is wearing those garments!

Of course, the other question is why do I even still have those items?   I am realistic enough to know that there is no way that *I* am ever going to be able to wear them again but ... well .. sentimental reasons.   :-)

Then there is vanity sizing the *other* direction!  I currently weigh much more than I like.  (I'm working on that problem).  Because I have big boobs, I need to *try on* shirts to see how they fit across my chest.  Mail order clothing is right out.  I recently saw a candidate in a Paragon catalogue.  I checked their size chart and, according to them, I would need to order a 2X.  Say what???  Well, not only is that an affront to my ego but I know doggone well that nothing else on that size would fit me nicely... the shoulder seams would be off and the side seams & darts would need to be taken in.  And I'm going to pay $50 for that??  I don't think so.   Yet, if I ordered the 18 and it didn't fit, then I'd need to to through the hassle of returning it.  Small wonder I simply hate clothes shopping.


From: Midkid5


When DD was in junior high back in the late 80s she wanted me to make a skirt for her. So I measured her up and made the skirt. It fit her very nicely but she wanted to know what size it was. I said it's size Sarah, as I had made adjustments and knew if I told her I had started with a size 18 she would never wear the skirt. She did not know that I happened to have two patterns of the skirt, one with sizes 8,10, 12 and one 14, 16, 18.  She was wearing 8s in store bought clothing.


Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

From: Pirate (PIRATE_SR)


Midkid5 said:

knew if I told her I had started with a size 18 she would never wear the skirt. ...  She was wearing 8s in store bought clothing.

Geez, that's unbelievable.   Well, not really.  :-(


From: judyinohio


Pirate (PIRATE_SR) said:

Of course, the other question is why do I even still have those items?

I was stunned to read that you still had garments from your days as a working woman decades ago. Frankly, my dear, i was more than stunned, I was flabbergasted.

When I left my COBOL programming job in 1968 (with an eight month pregnant belly that the guys teasingly said was the longest loop they had ever had to work with)  I took my black & white engraved name plate from my office door.  I still have that taped to a shelf here in my sewing room but otherwise I have nothing in any closet or storage box from that long ago. Of course, I have changed residences six times since then which gave me lots of opportunities to pitch things.