What's with the new sizing? We are getting larger and more obese nationwide, and to make our ballooning population feel better about themselves (thus encouraging sales), somewhere around 1980, American clothing manufacturers took to downsizing women's dress
es. Prior to that, both American and European clothing manufacturers followed similar standards that were established in the 1940s. It's hard enough to know what size we are (or strive to be) when the rules keep changing on us!
No woman feels good about herself when she goes to the store and realizes she must buy that great pair of jeans in a size larger than the last time she shopped. So if that size 8 you bought last week fits, it doesn't mean you are the same size you were 10-15 years ago, but I think that's something you already know. Women's dress sizes have changed significantly in recent years. My first inkling of this happened last year. Once I had lost enough weight to need new clothes, I began to shop for items in smaller sizes. How different those sizes seemed from what I remember. When I was a teenager in ninth grade, I weighed about 95 pounds and wore a juniors size 7 (I stand 5'2' tall and yes, I was a skinny kid). This time around, I slid into a size 7 at around 135 pounds.
Using the general guideline of 10 pounds per dress size, if I were to get to the same weight today as when I was in the ninth grade, I would be about a size 1 or closer to 0 according to some of today's clothing manufacturers. Making this comparison puts things into perspective. The 'perfect size 10' of the 1950s and 60s was something altogether different from the image we have of a size 10 today, which is considered by some, less than ideal and certainly not 'perfect,' and compares more closely to size 14 or 16 of those decades. So really, not much has changed-what has changed is the way it is portrayed in the media. With an alarming number of today's teens being overweight or even obese, this is more unfair to them than anyone.
If you need validation for what I've just said, take a look at any dress pattern from the 1950s. (You can find them on the Internet.) They generally list the dress size with bust and sometimes waist size on the front. A size 12 dress will list the bust as 31-32' and the waist as 24'. Look at a modern clothing pattern and you'll see that the same 'bust/waist' measurements will say size 4/6. Confused yet? I am!
'Vanity sizing,' as it is called, has become the norm. Case in point: I just bought a blazer in size '0' and I can tell you, it compares in fit to some old size 4's and 6's I wore a number of years ago. That same day, I bought a pair of size .5 (1/2) slacks. Yes, that store actually offered pants in fraction sizes between 0 and 1. Not all manufacturers are doing this and I applaud those that don't, because really, size zero? What's next, minus 1? Minus 2?
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