Clothes shops flatter women with ‘vanity sizing’

A new ploy by clothes retailers to flatter women by making clothes bigger so that they think they are buying a smaller size has been dubbed ‘vanity sizing'...

A study has revealed shoppers are being deceived by a ploy called ‘vanity sizing’, in which stores flatter their customers by making clothes bigger so they think they are buying a smaller size.

Several major high street shops – including Marks & Spencer and Gap – appear to have made their measurements larger despite size labels remaining the same. And the study found sizes vary wildly from store to store, depending on the type of customer who shops there.

A Size 10 in Topshop – a favourite of teenagers and women in their 20s – is likely to be much smaller than one in Zara, which attracts a more mature customer.
 
M&S insists it has not changed its ‘block sizes‘ – the patterns given to suppliers – since 2003. However, it admitted sizes on its website have been ‘tweaked’ and measurements increased by up to two inches, the equivalent to an extra dress size.

Gemma Seager, who runs the fashion blog Retro Chick, is a Size 14 with Size 18 hips. But the 30 year old, from Norwich, can fit into smaller sizes in many shops. She told the Sunday Times: ‘Under the British standard sizing chart my measurements would make me a Size 14 but in reality I wear a 12 in most shops and the M&S dress I bought is a size ten.’

An M&S spokesman said: ‘We are not sweetening the sizes or softening the blow for anyone but we tweaked the sizes on our website so they are based on an average body.’


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