Size Ain’t Nothing But A Number — The Truth About Vanity Sizing

Celebs! They’re just as sized obsessed as us! But they’ve got a team of stylists, editors and handlers to make them feel good. And they’ve got a media industry complicit in helping them combat body and size issues. On “The Today Show” earlier this week, More magazine editor Lesley Jane Seymour revealed the sad truth about how the celeb style machine really works. “When we go to shoots it’s all about the ego,” Seymour says. “If a celebrity says she’s a size 8 and we know she’s not, we cut the sizes out because we know she won’t put it on if it says it’s a 10.” So that’s how they do it!

But vanity sizing, and size-related tips and tricks aren’t just for celebs. Manufacturers caught on long ago that there’s a connection between the tiny number on the tag and the way a woman feels when she wears a garment. That’s why you may have noticed that you’re a 4 at Gap where at other retailers you might be a 6 or an 8. It’s also why sizing has gotten steadily smaller since the 1930s: In 1937, a woman with a 32-inch bust would have worn a size 14. By 1967, she would have worn an 8, and today she’d be a size 0. But while squeezing into a smaller size than you thought you could might be a great ego boost, it can make shopping more difficult; there’s no consistency among sizes at different retailers anymore, which means trying on endless pairs of jeans or shirts, and feeling alternately elated or let down when you’re not the size you expected you’d be.

Enter MyBestFit, a new device that offers a full body 20-second scan that records around 200,000 dimensions of your body. It can then take that information and give sizing recommendations for participating retailers in its database. It’ll tell you that at Ann Taylor you should try a pair of chinos in a 6 while at Banana Republic you should go for a size 2. Retailers are also offering alternatives to a straight number size: Levi’s now offers three specific fits for curvy women, aimed at addressing the fact that not all women are straight up and down (duh). In the meantime, we’re taking offers for someone to rip the tags out of all future purchases. Any takers? [NY Times]