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Vanity Sizing: How To Avoid It When Shopping For Clothes

By Size Wise / In Discover Size Wise, Fashion Tips / On 31 Jan 2021

Vanity sizing is defined as the practice of labeling clothing with a size smaller than the actual cut of the items. In other words, your size 34 might actually be a size 36, or larger. This is done to make the customer feel better about themselves and to make them buy more clothing.

It’s easy to get duped into buying something that “doesn’t fit” online because you think it’s your fault for not having the right size, but actually the clothes are just smaller than what they say!

You can avoid this by taking measurements of yourself before shopping online or checking out reviews of other customers’ experiences with sizing from previous buyers. We’ve got some tips on how to do so below!

Vanity sizing dates back to 1983 when the North American women’s measurement guide was abandoned for vanity sizing. Decades later, vanity sizing is now available online, and we are likely to see this trend continue.

finger holding clothes tag

Whether you prefer buying clothes online or from a brick-and-mortar store, it’s important to be aware of vanity sizing and how it affects you. The more you know, the easier you’ll be able to spot sizing discrepancies and choose the right clothes for your body.

Here is what you need to know:

An Overview Of Vanity Sizing

Before manufacturers started the practice of manipulating clothing sizes, there was a standard in sizing. For example, a medium was medium across the board regardless of the brand.

However, these standards were withdrawn over time as body shapes continued changing. Brands then developed their own sizing systems as the market increasingly became brand-centric. As they sought to satisfy their customers, the evolution of clothing brands led to inconsistencies and gradually gave rise to vanity sizing.

Disadvantages Of Vanity Sizing

Today, brands label their clothes as smaller to reassure customers about their size. In general, women want to be thinner and feel better about themselves.

female getting dressed in mirror

Putting smaller sizes on larger clothes boosts the self-confidence of customers. Thus, shoppers are more likely to purchase the item, resulting in more sales and profits. This practice, however, poses several challenges.

Let’s take a look at how vanity sizing hurts customers:

It Makes It Difficult To Pick Sizes Accurately — Especially While Shopping Online

One of the most obvious disadvantages of vanity sizing is that it makes shopping difficult. Differences in sizes both across and within brands make the process more confusing for shoppers. Because you cannot rely on the size tags, you have to go to great lengths to be sure you’re making the right decision.

Customers End Up Paying More

A lack of standard sizing results in higher return rates for online shoppers because they are unable to try on clothes before buying.

Most customers are annoyed when they discover their specific size looks different, or the product they just bought does not fit. In some cases, this has forced them to request custom alterations, which are more expensive.

Health Concerns

Even though vanity sizing can boost your self-esteem, it can also make it difficult for you to know your actual measurements. Clothing retailers ensure your clothes grow with you, so you can put on unhealthy weight without realizing it. It can make one overlook the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining appropriate body weight. 

How To Avoid Vanity Sizing While Shopping Online

Unfortunately, vanity sizing is here to stay. People like it, and retailers use it to boost their sales. So how do you navigate vanity sizing and discover your perfect fit while shopping online?

Here are ways to beat vanity sizing and find clothes that actually fit:

Get Your Exact Measurements

Shoppers’ main question is: “How do I find my size when shopping online?” 

The first thing you need to do is to get the exact measurements of your body because a ”large” at one store may not be the same as a ”large” at another store. Working with a professional will ensure you get up-to-date measurements.

If you plan on taking your measurements on your own, start familiarizing yourself with the basics.

Check The Size Charts

The next question most people ask is, “What is my dress size based on my measurements?” Once you have the measurements, check out size charts to find out which size you are. 

Unlike tags, size charts can provide more insight into what size to order. For each purchase, you should follow the brand’s size guide rather than using universal size charts. Women should choose the right size based on their bust, hip, and waist measurements.

Find Your Best-Fitting Clothes And Compare Them

As a result of vanity sizing, most brands will not have accurate sizing charts, meaning that your body measurements will only get you so far.

woman holding comparing clothes on hanger

Use your best-fitting clothes as a benchmark to find items that fit you perfectly.

  • Choose clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
  • Take a look at your favorite clothes and see if any are similar to those you are considering buying.

This allows you to find new garments that fit like your favorite clothes.

Opt For The Safer Brands Online

Why aren’t clothing sizes standardized? This is a common question among online shoppers. The simple answer is because people have different body types, especially women. Similarly, this is a technique that brands use to get people to buy their products.

When shopping online, look for brands whose quality and comfort have previously satisfied you. While in-store shopping, you should experiment with different brands and styles of clothing in order to avoid the challenges that come with vanity sizing.

Check The Return Policy

There is still a possibility that you will buy something you don’t like or that doesn’t suit you. As such, check the retailer’s return policy before placing your order. This way, you will know whether you’ll be issued an exchange or refund if the product does not fit. A generous return policy will make it easy for you to size up or down if necessary.

Choose The Right Retailers

Your choice of the store will have a significant impact on how you navigate vanity sizing. Identify a retailer who sells the right clothing items for your body type and size. If you want the perfect fit, custom clothiers are an excellent choice. They can also alter different outfits according to your measurements and body type.

How Shop Size Wise Helps You Avoid Vanity Sizing And Find Clothing That Fits

At Size Wise, we know that a good retailer should help customers find exactly what they’re looking for. In order to ensure our customers buy clothes that fit properly and complement their sense of style, we have developed an innovative, customer-centric approach.

Below are some ways we offer solutions:

We Have An Effective Approach To Sizing

With our shopping platform, customers are able to select the sizes they want based on size charts. Using our site, you can track your size or that of a loved one if you are shopping for them.

In contrast to most shopping platforms, we use up to 10 size parameters to ensure you get a good fit. Height, shoulder size, arm size, bust size, underbust size, waist size, high hips, inseam size, low hips, and thigh size are all taken into consideration.

size wise profile module

We Make Shopping Interactive

As part of our mission at Size Wise, we want to provide our customers with full control over their shopping. Our Lookbook feature, for instance, lets you add your favorite design styles for reference. 

You can add clothes to your Lookbook by clicking the heart symbol on the clothes you like. Using Lookbook, you can easily narrow down your search and compare offerings from different brands.

size wise lookbook

This gives you better control of your shopping experience and conveniently allows you to find your size in every brand, putting you in a great position to use size charts to find the perfect outfit.

A Wide Range Of Brands And Styles To Choose From

Over 100+ brands are available to choose from: Enter one or all of your measurements and we will search for a specific brand for the item in your size. If you cannot find the right size in that brand, use your saved measurements to search through dozens of others without wasting any time.

Additionally, depending on your body type and measurements, you can select the appropriate style. When you shop with us, you are not restricted to a few brands and a few sizes.

Tutorials On How To Measure Yourself

Taking measurements of your body is an integral step when looking to avoid vanity sizing. However, you will need to know how to take accurate measurements if you are to get the best results.

We offer video tutorials to teach you the basics. There are videos that show you how to measure your height, head, neck, shoulders, arm, chest, waist, high hips, hips, inseam, thigh, and foot.

Discover How You Can Finally Find Clothing That Fits And Never Deal With Vanity Sizing Again

By helping you avoid vanity sizing’s frustrations and confusion, we at Size Wise can help you. The brands we carry are top-notch and we provide a tailored online shopping experience. 

Sign up today to search for curated styles in your size. It’s totally free, with no hidden fees or commitments.

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