Prepare yourselves ladies because one major brand has decided that size 00 is no longer the vanity size to aim for, they’ve just made it that little bit harder. J.Crew, renowned U.S retailers of preppy style clothing has set their loyal fans a new low, because now you can shop for clothes in sizes XXXS, or 000 if you need to know in numbers.
This size equates to women with busts measuring 30.5-inch bust and a 23-inch waist, and early indications from the general public show that customers are not happy with new low sizing. But are the public right to be unhappy, or are J.Crew right to give consumers more choice? I remember when I was 18 and my measurements were that of the 000 sizing, and I could never find clothes in mainstream shops, having instead to buy from children’s stores.
So aren’t J.Crew merely addressing a sizing issue that other clothing retailers are too afraid to tackle? Well in my day (some 30 years ago) we didn’t have all the issues with eating disorders and anorexia. So shouldn’t retailers have a responsibility to their customers? J.Crew issued a statement explaining why they had come up with the new smaller size:
“We are simply addressing the demand coming from Asia for smaller sizes than what we had carried,” she said. “Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to run small. To further put into perspective, these sizes add up to the smallest possible percentage of our overall sizing assortment. Also to note, J.Crew’s sizes run across the board to try and accommodate as many customers as possible … We run up to size 16, we carry petites and talls, and our shoe sizes run from 5-12. [It’s] all based on customer demand.”
Well, it seems that although they are happy to go smaller and smaller, they appear to consider a size 16 to be the largest size they will ever stock. In fact, they actually class size 16 as a ‘special size’ and features tall and slender models that in our opinion do not represent size 16 ladies at all. So we could forgive them and perhaps take their 000 sizing with a pinch of cynical salt if they offered the same variety and choice for their larger sized customers. But looking at their website we can see that is certainly not the case.
The problem we find is that no one ever sees the label on your clothing, so people that brag about the actual size of their clothes must have some issue with their body or body weight. Otherwise why would it matter to anyone what size clothes you wear? So long as your clothes fit you properly and you look fabulous in them, who cares if they are a size 16 or a size 000?
But vanity sizing is a major problem within the retail industry, and clothing stores must admit their part in this worrying trend. For the last few years, certain clothing retailers have been consistently re-labelling their sizes to appear smaller, in order to make their customers feel better about themselves. But instead of making smaller sizes that appeal to the vanity of people with possible eating disorders, why not offer proper sizes to women that replicate the diverse sizes in the world today.
Offering smaller and smaller sizes does nothing for the average customer, and to compare the US market to Asia is meaningless when you are selling clothes in America. All J.Crew are doing is making the 000 size an aspirational target for women with low self esteem and reduces them to a number.