While there has already been one article about J.Crew’s new 000 size published on bust.com, I believe there’s more to discuss; in short, it’s time to unzip this issue a little further and see what unfolds (okay, no more clothing puns).
There are three huge issues that the first article left out that are worth being discussed
1) Vanity sizing
2) Asian female demographic
3) Who is to blame/What should be done
“Vanity sizing,” also known as “size inflation,” is basically when companies either increase the size of the item without increasing the labeled size, or when companies intentionally lower the labeled size to boost the shoppers’ self-esteem, in an effort to get them to shop more.
I’m not gonna sugarcoat things: it’s glaringly obvious that J.Crew does this. I’m a 6, sometimes an 8, in most clothing stores, and I wear a 2 in J.Crew. While I appreciate the effort J.Crew has made to make me feel “smaller” and therefore more socially desirable, I find this practice annoying and vaguely insulting. I know I’m a size 6 and I’m okay with that, you don’t need to hold my hand and let me down gently. (Maybe it’s a conspiracy to keep women in the dressing room for longer, trying on every size, WHO KNOWS?)
Because of this bullshit “vanity sizing,” women who are actually a size 0 or smaller occasionally cannot fit the clothing in their alleged size.
I’ve worked in retail for 3+ years, and the problem of clothing not fitting correctly is a common issue. Everyone has difficulty finding clothing that not only fits well, but fits at all. While it’s obvious that we need to make cuter, more affordable plus-sized clothing, it’s also obvious that we need to make clothing that is smaller than average for those shoppers too who, yes, do exist.
Why do you think Banana Republic and Topshop carry petite lines? There is a need for smaller clothing. In my years of retail experience, size 0 is always the first one to sell out, because the demand exceeds the amount produced. While many could sit on their soapbox and sarcastically say “Oh, clothing is too big for you? What a problem,” it actually really is a problem for some.
If clothing made for “the average woman” is too large, that phenomenon could lead to some serious body dysmorphia, not to mention the expense of getting most of your clothing tailored.
I grew in Honolulu, Hawaii, where 41% of the population is Asian, so I grew up among neighbors and shoppers who were smaller than the average American woman. Not all Asian women are the same (obviously), but I noticed that many of them had trouble finding clothing due to their smaller frames. And this holds true for many women across America.
Thin shaming is an issue, despite many thinking it doesn’t exist. And just as most retailers don’t cater toward plus-sized women, they also aren’t always catering to women on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Instead of introducing a new size, I think J.Crew should fix their sizing to be more accurate, and do away with vanity sizing in general. They could consider turning their 000 into the 0, and then think about expanding their plus-size offering as well.
We have to remember that, as women, we’re all judged by society. We all have difficulties fitting into clothing and feeling good about ourselves. But we should aim our anger toward the companies and their sizing policies, not each other. We;re all women and we’re all just trying to look cute, goddamnit.
photo credit: J. Crew / Ronjisway / Alohababe