Your preppy pal's favorite work-wear emporium is stirring up some controversy this week. J. Crew has introduced a Size 000, an even tinier addition to their lineup. Could this be a case of ... [lightening flashes, thunder rolls, bats fly overhead]... vanity sizing?
When the company rolled out some new pants in the smaller-than-ever size, Racked announced the move like so: "J. Crew's vanity sizing as reached a whole new level of crazy." And a blogger at Capitol Hill Style (via the The Daily Mail) used it as a peg for a fiery condemnation. She bought her first J. Crew dress (a shift) in a size 6. Twelve years and twenty pounds later, her latest purchase was a size 2. And she doesn't approve:
Vanity sizing is based on the misguided notion that you need to lie to women in order to sell clothing. It promulgates the damaging concept that self-worth is directly proportional to clothing-tag size. And negatively effects girls' feelings about their bodies before they're mature enough to know that they're defined by more than a number assigned to them by a clothing company.
Cosigned: vanity sizing is bullshit. Though it's a rather alien problem to a plus-size woman, as every plus-size brand seems to be shrinking or junior-sized to begin with. And I must disagree with her here:
If you need to create clothes with smaller measurements in the name of inclusivity, as the brand's spin-doctors will suggest, wouldn't the logical thing be to expand the sizes upward, making the measurements for 000 the new 0, and offering a size 24?
From your lips to God's ears. The sizes haven't come anywhere CLOSE to inflating that much or I'd be shopping those clearance sales like it was my job.
J. Crew's corporate line, however, is that they're simply trying to reach customers overseas, specifically in Asian markets like Hong Kong. A spokesperson told the Today show, "We are simply addressing the demand coming from Asia for smaller sizes than what we had carried. Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to run small."
She added, "Also to note, J.Crew's sizes run across the board to try and accommodate as many customers as possible." (For some reason, 16+ counts as outside the realm of possibility.)
Anyway it would be lovely if we could simply banish these arbitrary numbers and somehow begin selling clothes based on something useful, like actual measurements. One store's 8 is another store's 12 is another store's large. Deliver us, technology!
Photo via AP Images.