Vanity Sizing: This Chart Explains Why You’re A Different Size In Every Shop

Apparently there's a reason why we can never be the same size in all shops and it's been going on since before you were alive.

squeesing into jeans

So, you go into one of your favourite high-street shopping destos and you’re a size 10. Woohoo! Then you walk across the road into another shop and all of a sudden you’re a size 16. Huh?! What gives? This conundrum has been baffling us since, well, forever, and it turns out we’re not the first generation of women to get disgruntled about sizing.

“I don’t know who the mythical size 36 is who forms the basis of sizing but average, tall, short, thin and plump women come into a department store and the 36 size fits none of them,” complained a retail executive in a 1927 New York Times article. We hear ya, sister.

This week Metro Cosm collected data from the American Society Of Testing And Materials to create the following two sizing charts. And boy, have things changed.

To put things into perspective, a size 12 woman in 1958 would have a 25 inch waist and a 34 inch bust. In today’s measurements, she’d need a 32 inch waist and a 39 inch bust to fit into the same size. Pretty crazy, huh?


So how does this explain why we’re one size in one store and a completely different size in another?

Well, it’s cos retailers today have either completely disregarded the old sizing format or they’ve taken to using vanity sizing, where women’s clothes are sized smaller than they usually are, to make women feel smaller than they really are.

So, unfortunately that means we can’t ever say you’re ever going to be one size in all shops. We guess we’ll just have to grin and bear it and not let our egos get too bruised in the process.