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Size battle of the vanities

By FashionUnited


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Vanity sizing, the American-coined term for retailers flattering your true measurements with terms such as size zero, is now just as relevant to UK customers. In fact, if you've been flattered by those 29 inch jeans, you may in reality be two sizes bigger, or even more.

According to the Daily Mail, Britain's High Street stores are flattering the vanity of their customers by understating the true measurements of their trousers, according to new research. A study of popular brands revealed that many stores are now making trousers on average three inches wider than is stated on the label. It found that many retailers are being more generous with their sizing as a sales ploy to make customers think they are thinner than they actually are.

And it is not just an American practice, Next, Zara and French Connection are also thought to have favourable sizing discrepancies. Researchers also found that designer names in fashion, such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana were guilty of understating the true sizes of their trousers by a couple of inches, although the discrepancy tended to be smaller than at some High Street retailers.

Research by the Sunday Times found that French Connection had the biggest discrepancy in its actual and advertised sizes. On one range of men's slim-fit jeans, a size 30in measured 36in and a size 32in was found to be 37in. Women's jeans were also wider than stated by as much as 4in. According to the most recent National Sizing Survey, 44 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women in the UK are either overweight or obese. The average male measurements are now a 42in chest, 37in waist and 40.5in hips.

Whilst for women, average waist measurements have increased six inches since 1952 and gone up 1.5in in height. Vanity sizing, also known as size inflation is used to refer to the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing of the same nominal size becoming larger over time, with the implication that manufacturers do so to satisfy the buyer's wish to appear thin . This also means that some customers may have to wear smaller nominal sizes without much change in their body shape. So the next time you go shopping, you might think you've dropped some pounds - but that smaller size doesn't necessarily mean you've lost weight.