A U.K. woman has gone viral after she expertly illustrated the very real struggle of shopping for women’s clothing.
Earlier this month, Chloe Martin took to Twitter to highlight the sizing discrepancies between five different pairs of jeans, all sold as a UK size 12 (North American size 8).
The 18-year-old from Glasgow, Scotland shared a photo of the pants, each visibly different.
“In case you’ve ever wondered why women get so frustrated with our clothing sizes,” she captioned the photo, “every pair of jeans pictured is a size 12.”
Incase you’ve ever wondered why women get so frustrated with our clothing sizes – every pair of jeans pictured, is a size 12 pic.twitter.com/V88JAPQZTI
— c (@chloemmx) March 8, 2019
Martin’s tweet rang true for thousands of women, racking up more than 100,000 retweets and more than 250,000 likes.
The sizing discrepancy highlights the practice of vanity sizing, in which clothing companies purposely label clothing a smaller size in order to raise consumer confidence, and ultimately encourage sales.
As the average weight of the American woman rose from 140 pounds in 1960 to approximately 169 pounds in 2014, brands adjusted their sizes accordingly. The gradual shift to vanity sizing and labeling clothes a smaller size ushered in new sizes for smaller women: The 0 and 00.
Although absurd, studies have shown that vanity sizing works — and it all ties into the unhealthy messaging of the “ideal” body type and the quest for thinness.
In 2011, a study on the impact of vanity sizing found that women reported a more positive self-related mental imagery when they fit into clothing labelled smaller sizes. The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology posits that vanity sizing is a simple way for consumers to bridge the gap between themselves and the beauty “ideal.”
Whether or not brands adhere to vanity sizing, it turns out they still come out on top. A separate study from 2014 revealed that consumers who don’t fit into their “regular” size or are forced to go-up a size due to sizing discrepancies, end up purchasing more items to restore their self-esteem.
The same study also revealed that when shoppers fit a larger size at a certain store, they develop negative feelings towards the brand, which can discourage future sales.
Martin’s post, and the trend of try-on videos on YouTube that have racked up millions of views help remind shoppers that sizing discrepancies should not influence your feelings towards your body or your self-esteem.
It’s important to remember that fashion is a business just like any other; and it all comes down to the company’s bottom line.