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Vanity Sizing

Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

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  1. Lori (Finding Radiance)

    I always buy the fit. Sure, it can be frustating when most times an 8 fits, but there are times when I need the 10. I also have a pair of size 6 shorts, which I bought solely because I fit into a 6 LOL!

    I found at my heaviest weight that I was wearing anywhere from a 20 to a 24W depending on the item. It’s enough to send you to the loony bin, you know?

    1. hundredtenpounds

      Oh I can relate!! I was a 24W at my heaviest too and that was an astounding number for me. I don’t know why it didn’t “click” when I was a size 20 or a 22 but 24 was the number…

  2. Morgan

    I’ve noticed this often at stores I shop in. I know I’m a small person, but there are plenty of people on this earth that are smaller than me…If I have to buy a size 0 or 00 at a store, what do really really small people wear?! They won’t have any options at all!

  3. Julie @ Pickley Pear

    I wish there was some consistency at the stores. I HATE trying clothes on at the store, therefore I return a lot. I’m not so worried about the size, but do get excited to buy a 4 as opposed to a 6, that’s just the way I am. Oh…and then there are those illusion mirrors in some dressing rooms (when I actually do try something on) where you look extra tall and thin, even if the pants are snug. Gotta love it 🙂

    1. hundredtenpounds

      Oh man I forgot about those wonky mirrors!

  4. Ivie

    I had to buy new clothes for an interview last week, and was a little disheartened. For the past few years, I have shopped mostly Lane Bryant and Old Navy (plus size), but for the interview I went to Macy’s Women’s Section. I had to buy pants in a 22 and a jacket in an 18 – the exact same sizes I just got out of when I shopped at Lane Bryant! I was disappointed, but then I realized, LB must skew their sizing and it probably runs larger. Well, when you think about it, all of their customers would prefer to be smaller (for the most part).
    I got over the sizing and bought the clothes, mostly due to a time crunch, but know I have a lot to work on still.

    1. hundredtenpounds

      Ivie-You’ve made a lot of progress so don’t let that discourage you!

  5. Di

    I buy for fit but I used to get SO upset when I’d try something on in a size that fit in one store but was too tight in another. And there are some stores that are just ridiculous with sizing. For example, I once had a guy at Express tell me that I wasn’t going to be able to find my size jeans because the store had deemed it “disproportionate”. I won’t tell you the size that it was, because I don’t want to discourage anyone or make them think about themselves the way I temporarily though about MYSELF. But I will say this: way to single-handedly cause or worsen self-image issues, Express!

    I’ve gotten past it and can laugh about it now, but in a time where I was slowly gaining weight it was one hell of a slap in the face!

    1. hundredtenpounds

      WOW! I would have been so pissed at that guy. Nothing would have prevented the wrath. 😉 Glad you can laugh about it now!

      1. Di

        I think I was too in shock that someone would say that to me to react at the time and he’s SO lucky for that.

  6. Di

    (By the way, I really like your blog…I just found it and read a few posts…congrats on your weight loss!)

  7. Amanda

    Ugh. This is such a pet peeve of mine!

    When I was in high school (22 years ago!) I wore a size 12 and felt huge. I suspect that a size 12 is now the equivalent of a size 8/10.

    Right now, I’m anywhere from a size 16 to 20 and it’s frustrating that there are no industry standards.

    1. hundredtenpounds

      Agreed! It feels like false advertising to me.

  8. Kelly

    I agree that this is totally annoying. Sometimes I don’t have time to try things one but since no two stores are alike I can’t just run in and grab something! So frusterating!!!

  9. mindy

    Great post! I generally buy for the fit, but every so often if I find something that looks decent in a size “smaller than normal”…I almost can’t resist! Even though I know sizing is so inconsistent, on those days when I am not feeling all that positive about myself, it is definitely a self-esteem booster!

  10. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    Love this post! I don’t know which upsets me more, that fact that vanity sizing exists, or the fact that we women let that darn number get to us!

    In my past I have definitely bought something just b/c I was thrilled with the size, but now I try really hard to ignore the number. I’m one of those people who cut the tags out of most of my clothes, actually!

  11. Slowly But Surely

    I definitely buy by fit, but I can’t help but be excited when I find something in a size smaller than I typically wear. I try to keep it in perspective by comparing apples to apples (i.e. Gap Long & Lean jeans vs. the same style and brand). The thing that hurts is when you are larger, some stores that aren’t doing vanity sizing don’t have things that fit at all! I have definitely run into that problem before!

  12. Angela

    Typically I try to go by fit and since I’m still transitioning I think I have this opposite problem of buying clothing too large.

    Like recently I bought jeans and bought ones that pretty much fit – two weeks later and I’m noticing they are almost too loose already. I wish I had bought stuff that was snug instead.

    I also noticed when I was trying on some track pants that I took the 3x size pants thinking, no way I’d fit in 2x, only to find that even the 2xs are now a little baggy. I wish I had bought a couple 1xs, they were on clearance for $5!

  13. Marie

    I hate that — just as wrong as skinny mirrors if you ask me. And I agree that you should buy clothes according to the look and fit, and not according to size, but I also like to keep in mind the size I normally buy for a given brand — it helps me keep track of my weight and when I refuse to buy bigger clothes, I am more motivated to fit into the ones I’ve got.

    1. hundredtenpounds

      I HATE the skinny mirrors! It’s such a rip-off when I get home and see I am not tall and skinny. LOL

  14. blondeviki

    This subject really upsets me (not you writing about it!! the issue generally…). I hate the fact that as a woman, you can’t just go into a shop and know what size you’re going to be. I could say so much about this but my main two points are that if there was some sort of standard sizing, e.g. 42 inch hips would always be a UK size 16 or whatever, i think there would be less stigma about different sizes because a certain size would always mean the same thing. Instead we’re in a position where clothes size doesn’t mean all that much but there’s a proportion of people who view anything over a 12/14 as ‘huge’.

    Secondly, if you do lose weight, you don’t get the chance to fully feel good about it when you go into a shop and find you’re a size smaller because there’s always a chance the clothes have got larger!! I actually got told by a colleague the other day that the reason I could get into a 12 in H&M was because ‘they cut their clothes big’ – nothing to do with having lost 16 pounds. I felt just wonderful about that, as you can guess 😉

    I do try to buy by fit, but I will admit that when the number on the lable is higher than I was hoping, it does affect my mood. After all, when you’re trying to lose weight, seeing numbers of any kind go *down* is what keeps me motivated!

    1. hundredtenpounds

      I agree! There needs to be standardized sizing for everyone. But I might be sad if I knew what my “real” size is!!

      1. blondeviki

        Me too! According to the british standard sizes (which, no shop sticks to, because they aren’t legally obliged to) my 42 inch hips make me a size 18 – when I’ve never been bigger than a 16 in reality. But this is what I mean in my first point, if I’d always been an 18 and was an 18 in every shop, I probably wouldn’t attach so much significance to it – it’s only because so many shops make me a 14/16 that 18 seems ‘bigger’!

  15. Ann

    Yep! It’s both frustrating and comical about sizes! I have some 10s that are a little big, some that fit just right, and others I can’t make the button and hole get together! Then I was able to find a size 8 recently that fits nicely.

    Hmmm…am I being mislead by vanity sizing? who cares? I’m vain enough to enjoy my size 8:)

    1. hundredtenpounds

      I’m vain too. 🙂 I’d rather have the smaller size. LOL

  16. Superbowl Sunday Steak Night » 110 Pounds and Counting

    […] bought them at Kohl’s and I’ve written before about the topic of Vanity Sizing. I think Kohl’s intentionally labels their bigger sizes as smaller. I mean come on, an […]

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