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Here's Proof Of Our Messed-Up Relationship With Clothing Sizing

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Photo: Getty Images.
What's the dynamic between women and the size labels on our clothing like? It's fraught, to put it nicely. Or, to put it more frankly, pretty fucked up. Yahoo recently did a study examining this, and the results underscore how complicated the dynamics between our brains and bodies really are, particularly in terms of (wildly inconsistent) sizing. The site spoke to 1,000 women to suss how we view our bodies and how the sizes in our closets affect that.

Turns out, 71% of those surveyed are unsure about their own clothing sizes. Yet despite not even knowing the right size to reach for on the racks, half of women surveyed are upset when they don't fit into the size they expect to fit into. Nearly a quarter of women have lied about their sizes, while 20% of the survey pool feels shame about shopping because of the sizes on those labels.

Interestingly, the women surveyed cop to only having four or five items in their closets on average that don't fit now (in hopes that they'll fit later). As for aspirational shopping, where items are purchased specifically in hopes that one day they'll fit? Just over 1 in 10 women surveyed say they've done this, which is, frankly, a bit lower than we would've anticipated. (The relatively small number of ill-fitting pieces that women are holding onto is surprising, too.)

The survey certainly speaks to the deep issues that exist with vanity sizing, which is when retailers label items with smaller sizes, forcing shoppers to size down — which, the thinking goes, will appeal to their vanity so much they'll just have to buy the small-size pieces. It offers a perverse sort of flattery for some shoppers, but it also certainly adds to (if not full-on creates) total confusion about sizing and self-image. So, no, you're definitely not alone in terms of having a conflicted-at-best relationship with the sizes of our bodies and our clothes. Let's just hope there are more promising stats ASAP (and definitely by the time the next survey results are tallied).
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