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Why it’s probably not your fault if your jeans don’t fit

by News Desk
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If you’ve had trouble finding jeans that fit or have trouble figuring out your size, there’s probably a good reason.

a CBC Marketplace Research shows that most popular denim brands have inaccurate waist size labels. Sizing experts say it’s due to misleading marketing called vanity sizing.

Marie-Yves Faust, professor in the Department of Strategy, Social and Environmental Responsibility at the University of Quebec in Montreal, measured and evaluated jeans purchased from Levi’s, H&M, Gap, Lee, Wrangler, Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch. . The most popular brand.

See | Marketplace Tests Jeans Sizes.

test jeans sizing

We buy popular brands and have an expert check how the jeans’ actual size is measured against what is stated on the label.

The jeans were similar in style and size to fit the Canadian average waist circumference of 34 inches for women aged 25 to 59 and 38 inches for men, according to Statistics Canada.

market We found that most waist sizes (the metric retailers use to advertise and label their jeans) are an inch or larger.

“To please the consumer”

Faust, who has published many studies on fashion management, sizing, and fit, explains that vanity sizing is a marketing tool commonly used in fashion, not just jeans.

“We would label it with a size smaller than it actually is to please the consumer,” she said.

“It’s very difficult for women to find out which brands are OK,” she said. “But at the same time, it flatters you.”

She said that when people are happy with the size, they are likely to buy more as a result.

  • Have you ever experienced vanity sizing? we would like to hear about it Please contact [email protected]

Clinical psychologist Nina Mafrisi, owner of the Toronto Psychology and Wellness Group, says there are dangers in the practice as well.

“The problem of vanity sizing and deceiving people into believing that they are small is actually a matter of measuring size, an objective measure, such as clothing size or weight on a scale, against a person’s self-esteem. It’s about connecting with,” she said.

And that “can lead to poor body image and low self-esteem, which can contribute to eating disorders.”

Mafrici and her staff say they are seeing more clients than ever before who are young and have serious health issues such as eating disorders.

Model shows ill-fitting Abercrombie & Fitch jeans. (Stephanie Mathis/CBC)

Affected Men’s and Women’s Clothing

Faust says vanity sizing isn’t limited to women’s fashion.

in the market In testing, there were only two pairs of men’s jeans that adhered to size 38 labeled waist. Lee Athletic Taper Active Stretch and H&M Regular Fit (straight leg). Other men’s brands ranged from 1″ to 2″ larger than the size guide.

For women’s jeans, all waist sizes were different than stated.



Only the Old Navy Extra Stretch High Rise Curved OG Straight, labeled a size 14 with a 33.5 inch waist in the company size guide, was smaller with a measured 33 inch waist.

It was the only outlier among many. The women’s jeans I bought from Old Navy didn’t fit the vanity sizing pattern.These were also one of her cheapest jeans.

All others were great.

The Lee Relaxed Fit Straight Leg Mid Rise Jeans size 14 has a 33.5 to 34.5 inch waist in the size guide, but Faust found it off by 0.5 inch to 1.5 inch.

Some women’s sizes are way off

The Wrangler High Rise True Straight Fit and H&M Straight Regular Waist Jeans were about 2 inches larger than the sizes listed in the size guide.

Levi’s Premium Wedgie Straight and Gap Cheeky Straight Sky High were about 3 inches larger than what was stated on the label.

Abercrombie & Fitch had the largest discrepancy between its labels and actual measurements. market test.

Faust was surprised to discover that the women’s Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love High Rise 90s Relaxed Jean, advertised as a size 34, actually measured 40 inches.that is One of the most expensive pairs is $98 and has a 6 inch difference.

Marie-Eve Faust evaluates how Lee jeans fit Sarah Muslim as Rathod Ranganathan looks on. Both modeled jeans for the CBC Marketplace test. (Stephanie Mathis/CBC)

The company touts the Curve Love jeans as having an extra 2 inches in the hips and thighs to “help eliminate waist gaps.”

Sara Muslim modeled for jeans with a 34-inch waist market When tested, she said she considers herself curvaceous and always struggles to find jeans that fit because they often have too much material around her waist.

According to her, the Curve Love jeans are “probably the least fitting of all jeans and should be for curvy girls.”

In a statement, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. did not explain why there was such a difference in the waist of the Curve Love jeans. market It was measured.

However, a spokeswoman said, “In detailed online size guides, the number size label on jeans doesn’t always directly correlate to the design’s waist measurement in inches. Instead, extensive research and fit Based on sessions, our sizing is designed to fit a variety of waistlines.”

The spokesperson also wrote that “many other factors” influence denim sizing, including style, amount of fabric stretch, and waistline position.

Muslims urged companies not only to label clothing with information on both size and waist measurements, but also to ensure that the information was accurate.

companies respond

All companies were asked to comment on both discrepancies. market It became clear in terms of measurements and vanity sizing.

Wrangler did not respond. Levi Strauss & Co. declined the opportunity to respond.

In a statement, H&M said it could not comment on specific jeans. market I bought it and it works to ensure proper sizing for all markets.

A Gap Inc. statement to Gap and Old Navy says that while the company strives to provide consistent sizing, design and materials can sometimes lead to discrepancies.

Lee was the only company to apologize for the fit discrepancy and the only company to mention an industry term called “clothing tolerance.”

Garment tolerance refers to the difference in measurements that companies allow, with Lee writing that the factory “allows for variations of up to 1 inch.”

The company also said it is currently taking remedial measures.

Regarding vanity size, H&M was the only company to respond directly. “Vanity sizes are not part of H&M,” the company said in a statement, adding that different items of the same size may experience differently depending on factors such as clothing style.

lack of regulation

According to Faust, Canada set size standards for some clothing, including women’s clothing, in 1975, but they are now voluntary. Public Services and Procurement Canada confirmed in a statement that the “Canadian Standard System for Women’s Clothing Sizing” was withdrawn in 2012.

Faust said a mandatory size regulation is necessary to prevent customers from being misled or manipulated.

Faust said companies mention waist sizes in inches or centimeters on their websites and on the jeans themselves, but the numbers are becoming increasingly meaningless.

Faust says 00-based number sizes can be just as inconsistent as those labeled by waist size. .

Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the first brands to create size 00 and now has size 000 on their website.

Faust remembers in the 2000s when she and her colleagues were laughing, “Oh my God, it’s going to be close to zero soon.”

Lee and Levi’s are both size 00, H&M is size 0, and my waist is 24 inches according to the size guide.

Clinical psychologist Nina Mafrich advises consumers to focus on how they feel in their clothes. (Stephanie Mathis/CBC)

The British Standards Institute had regulated anthropometric sizing in 1951, and Faust said the Canadian General Standards Board could now regulate it.

However, in a statement to market, The agency said the clothing standards were withdrawn, indicating that “CGSB has no expertise in this area.”

The statement suggests that “public or private organizations interested in developing new national standards may contact the CGSB for information on the development process.”

The retail psychology of vanity sizing doesn’t sell to Muslims.

“You should embrace your size and get what makes you feel good,” she said.

Until companies consider changing their practices, Mafrici said, “Do your research. Find brands that use accurate sizing. They’ll be able to see how their clothes feel and how they feel on your body.” Please focus,” he said.

And she encourages shoppers to go for “brands that demonstrate size versatility.”

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