What’s the deal with sizing?

Did you know that a lot of sizing problems started with mass production and vanity sizing? Check out our video by our Head of Design & Product Development, Dr. Deb Christel and read her blog for more details.

First, What is Vanity Sizing???

Vanity sizing is a psychological marketing method that involves labeling a size smaller than it is so (in theory) a consumer feels better about themselves. Of course this assumption is based on the cultural belief that everyone desires to be smaller – but I’ll save that for another day. Many companies have implemented vanity sizing to encourage consumers to buy from them – and in such a saturated market, it gets vastly more complicated because all fashion companies create their own sizing method. The United States does not have laws governing sizing standards. So any company can come up with any sizing system they want. There are also differences between sizing methods depending on binary gender and age categories. For example, fashion breaks down humans into categories of gender (boys, girls, women, and men), age (children, tween, teen, adult), and height/ size (big and tall, petite and plus-size). Within each category, the sizing methods can vary as well. For example, men’s dress shirts, pants, and jeans often use body measurements as their sizing designation. Women have two most common sizing systems – alpha and numeric, but some companies have entirely different methods.

Furthermore, the few companies that do offer larger sizes often have segregated sections. With all the complexity, and since women’s uses a combination of alpha and numeric, the average woman can have up to 5 sizes in their closet. So you could have everything from a medium to a 3X, and they could all fit the same! Super frustrating right?

Young african american woman sitting on the table using computer laptop stressed with hand on head, shocked with shame and surprise face, angry and frustrated.

The takeaway, unsurprisingly, is that we must not let clothing size impact the value of our bodies or our mood. Wearing a size four in one garment from your closet shouldn’t make us feel any better or worse than wearing a size eight the next day – because all that matters is that you like it and it fits.

We must remember that when we go shopping and the sizes we “normally” wear don’t fit, it is one sizing system of a million. It is not a reflection of our worth or value as a human being but a reflection of how one company does it.

WHAT size can I get you?” is never a simple question to ask a person who’s out shopping for clothes. The answer is always; it depends. Not on your body but the sizing system of the brand. Shopping is a major stress for plus-sizes and based on my research, I’ve written about coping with the emotional labor of shopping for plus-sizes. Check out this blog post Breaking up with Shopping; It’s Not Me, It’s You that uses a HAES® Approach to Fashion and the Shopping Experience by Dr. Deb Christel (me) & Susan Dunn.

Quick Tip: Here is what I do if I’m feeling perturbed by a size designation. If I find something that fits and feel distressed by the size, I cut the label off because an arbitrary clothing size should never be in the driver’s seat of my self-worth. Removing a tag takes its power away.

Woman removing blank clothing label on knitted clothing. Closeup, hands, sweater, balls of yarn and knitting needles in image.

We believe, no matter the size chart, every human deserves access to quality, comfortable clothing. 

When you check out our size chart at Panty Drop, you’ll see we have one size chart with sizes from XS to 8XL. We do not have a Plus-Size section because we do not believe in segregating people based on the size they wear. We sell underwear that fits all sizes and shapes of women. Why? Because you deserve it.

Curvy African American woman posing in a forest with flowers in her hair, a walking cane, soft sunshine on her face and wearing Pine Green plus-size cotton underwear with pink ruffle crop top.

Follow us👇⁠ on Instagram!

Brand: @pantydropme
Model: @cambriaplusmodel
Stylist: @kimmycorday
Make-UP Artist: @samanthalepre
📸 Photographer: @oliviaphilo

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