If you know the frustration of being a different size from store to store you are a victim of vanity sizing.
There are no sizing standards for clothing manufacturers in the United States.
The Commerce Department withdrew them more than 25 years ago. As a result, manufacturers can do anything they want with sizing and that includes making you feel smaller.
“There’s an entire range of sizes and if you can be at the smaller end you feel better about your body image,” said Baje Thibodeaux, an apparel design student at the Art Institute of Portland.
Sizing for clothing has been getting steadily smaller for more than eight decades . In the 1930’s a woman with a 32 inch bust was a size 14.
In 1967, she was a size 8 and today she would be a size 0.
“Who wouldn’t want to feel like they’re getting smaller when in reality everybody’s getting bigger in the United States?” asked Sue Bonde, the Director of Fashion Programs at the Art Institute.
Bonde says the dramatic change in sizing can be seen in the dress forms manufacturers use each year.
Each individual company decides what its sizes will look like.
“People still wanted to say I wear a size 8 so they basically had to take a size 10 and relabel it so they really vary year to year,” explained Bonde.
Design students say the more expensive clothing and European labels are more accurate and they worry about the impact of vanity sizing.
“With younger girls it’s like I have to have a certain size to be beautiful. I totally disagree with that because if you’re not one size it doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful,” said student designer Cassidy Rivera.