Does vanity sizing make a difference in where you choose to shop?

Mandi Gosling

For women, deciding what size clothes to take into the fitting room can be a confusing and frustrating experience.

Other than jeans, most women’s clothing is not measured in inches.  The average women’s clothing store offers sizes ranging from 0 to 14.  Sizes in stores offering clothes for plus-sized women generally run from 14 to 28.

But, unlike shoes, there is no standard sizing system agreed upon by retailers and many stores have added to the confusion by practicing something called vanity sizing.  Acting on the assumption that women would like to be told they are smaller than they truly are, vanity sizing labels clothes with smaller sizes than they would be in other stores.

A recent article in The New York Times discussed this retail quandary of being a 4 in one store and a 10 another.  One solution is the placement of body scanners popping up in malls around America that will give you a printout of what sizes you should pick up in each store.

No doubt this service will save some time in the fitting room.  But if vanity-sizers are correct, wouldn’t we still want to shop at the store that tells us we are 4 instead of a 10?