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Musings On Vanity Sizing

I’m going to preface today’s rant by letting you know: it really bugs me when people say “You know, Marilyn Monroe was a size 14.” What does that even mean? Are you insinuating she was large or something? Have you noticed how teeny her waist was? And lastly, are you aware that the women’s fashion sizing conventions of yesteryear bear no resemblance whatsoever to those of today? Come on, people. Marilyn Monroe may not have been a twig, but if you honestly believe she’d wear anything roomier than a 6 in the contemporary fashions we now know and love … well, I think you’re misled. I think Tim Gunn would agree with me, too.

Recently, Kirstie Alley lost a considerable amount of weight and reports that she’s now a size 4. Never really one to mince his words, Tim Gunn went on the record and publicly stated he thinks she’s an 8 at smallest. And while there is NO doubt Kirstie Alley looks amazing and the steps she’s taken to better her health in addition to her figure are commendable, I am inclined to agree with him.

But before you jump down Tim’s throat or mine, I’ve got to ask you: do the little numbers on the tags on your shirts really matter? Isn’t the way you look in the clothes you have on more important? Isn’t your overall health what’s most important?

I know from vintage shopping that a size 2 dress—which, the way fashion is sized today, I could maybe cram all my junk into on my absolute skinniest days—will hardly fit over my pinky finger if it’s from the 1960s. And it’s not like I’m big or anything. My point is that there is NO denying the fact that clothing sizes have changed, and it’s because brands nowadays want to trick you into feeling skinnier than you really are in hopes you’ll be incentivized to buy their stuff. “OMG, I haven’t worn a size 4 since junior high! I’ll TAKE IT!” Sound familiar? Consider this a public service announcement: if it looks good on you, buy it. If it doesn’t, don’t! And if it looks good on you but the number on the tags is higher than you care to admit, say “to hell with it” and cut the darn things OUT. Problem solved.

What’s your take on vanity sizing? Got any interesting stories? Tell us!

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2 Comments

  1. Melissa
    Posted September 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you. I get soooooo sick of hearing about Marilyn supposedly being a size 14 when she’s a size 6, which is TINY. She wasn’t very tall either. It’s like people forget that height actually makes a giant difference in sizing.
    If she was that short and a size 14 today, I’m sorry but the movie studios back then would never, ever have hired her. They were VERY concerned with looks and forced their stars to diet. There are lots of stories about how old hollywood basically controlled your whole life once you signed the contracts.

  2. MJ
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this! It’s blog posts like this, believe it or not, that have liberated me from caring too much about the size on the tag. Now I’m free to decide if I want an oversized look to buy the bigger size- it’s about how it fits, feels and looks, like you said!

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