Vanity Sizing: The Impacts of Fashion Sizing on Mental Health and How AI Can Standardize Fitting

Sep 27, 2023

How often have you noticed that jeans labeled "waist 36" don't quite fit? Women, especially, have been faced with the perplexing world of vanity sizing on several occasions. Labels suggest one size, but reality can vary greatly.

Many people find vanity sizing confusing. When a pair of jeans is labeled "W:36" but does not align with a 36-inch waist, what does it really mean?

"Body Measurement for Apparel Sizing" has been established by the American Society for Testing and Materials to cater to a wide range of body types, including "Mature Big Men Type, Size Range 46-64" and "Miss Maternity Sizes Two to Twenty-Two (2-22). Nevertheless, ready-to-wear apparel companies largely ignore these standards. Market demands determine how brands size their products.


As body shapes and societal expectations have changed, clothing sizes have evolved. Brands have developed their own sizing of the ideal "fit" for their customers. As a result, we now see each brand approaches sizing differently, leaving consumers in constant uncertainty when shopping for clothes. The days of assuming that a clothing tag accurately represents your size are long gone.


While some may view vanity sizing as a marketing strategy, it is essential to consider the complexity of the fashion industry. Brands are adapting their sizing to their market and customer base. They don't solely rely on official measurements but also factor in consumer preferences and market trends.


Another factor influencing clothing sizing and cost is the type of fabric used. The price per unit is often based on the size medium, with larger sizes requiring more fabric and smaller sizes using less. Brands frequently adjust their garment sizes to remain competitive and meet the needs of their customers.


The substantial differences in clothing sizes across brands can have a major impact on people's mental health. Shoppers can experience feelings of frustration, self-doubt, along with body image struggles. They also frequently find variable sizing across different businesses.  Women experience this issue more than men do, as they frequently find themselves needing a larger size in one brand but fitting into a smaller size in another. These changes in size might make people feel inadequate because they may think they are bigger than they are, or that they aren't attractive enough according to society standards. This frequent need for size modifications can have a significant impact on mental health by decreasing self-esteem and causing poor self-perceptions.


Inconsistent size also causes emotional pain that goes beyond the actual buying experience. It can impact several areas of a person's life, such as their relationships with others and general confidence. When shopping for events or outings, frustration about not being able to fit into a particular size can cause tension and worry, which can undermine one's sense of comfort and confidence in general. Over time, this ongoing strain brought on by clothing sizes can lead to long-term mental health problems and prevent people from properly appreciating their experiences in life. In order to promote improved mental health and body positivity, it is crucial to address the issue of differing sizes among brands. This is not just an issue of convenience.


These inconsistencies in sizing across brands can profoundly impact consumers' mental health. It leads to frustration, confusion, and negative body image perceptions. Women, in particular, may experience feelings of inadequacy when they need a larger size than they typically wear, reinforcing harmful beauty standards.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a viable solution as we traverse the complicated world of fashion size. Sizing across companies can be standardized with the use of AI technology, which analyzes a ton of data on consumer preferences and body measurements. By utilizing AI, the fashion industry may produce sizing charts that are more accurate and consistent, hence lowering the disparities that result in vanity sizing.


The fashion business is filled with vanity sizing, which is frustrating and detrimental to mental health. The complexity of size in the fashion industry, which is influenced by consumer demand and market trends, must be understood, nevertheless. While artificial intelligence (AI) technology gives hope for achieving consistent size, it's equally important for customers to embrace body variety and reject unattainable beauty standards. By collaborating, we can advance towards a more inclusive and body-positive fashion industry.

Yours truly,

Celeste Martinez