America is growing fatter and the clothing industry is adapting to accommodate our growing girth while preserving our vanity. Vanity sizing or 'size inflation' refers to the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing in nominal sizing growing larger over time. So a size 6 from the 1950's might be a size 10 or 12 today. Some highlights from a recent study:
- Because smallest sizes are growing, clothing makers are inserting size '0', '00' and negative sizes to compensate.
- More expensive brands tended to be smaller than less expensive at the same size.
- Vanity sizing is designed to make buyers appear thin and feel better about themselves.
- Dress sizes from the Sears catalog, a woman with a 32-bust would wear in 1937: size 14, 1967: size 8, 2011: size zero!
- The Esquire measured mens 36" waist pants at 37-41"