The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 October 2006

Maybe you wear them inside out

Are you ready for size -2? No, that's not a typo:

[T]here are some people for whom size 0 is too big, and it's not just those banned runway models and Rachel Zoe's clients. For these people, designers like Nicole Miller will introduce negative sizes (that's not what they're really called, but what is smaller than 0?!?!) that have waistlines the circumference of "a soccer ball."

An official match ball is 68-70 cm around: 27 to 28 inches. This is a size 6, maybe an 8. A size 0 woman measures something like 31-23-33, so a -2 would have about a 22-inch waistline. This is below volleyball size.

(Geometric digression: A standard 45-rpm record is 7 inches in diameter, just under 22 inches in circumference. If you need to imagine a minus-two woman, pick up a 45 and hold it by the edges.)

I was tempted to attribute this phenomenon to "vanity sizing," but according to Kathleen Fasanella, it doesn't really exist:

[G]iven manufacturers are sized differently, [and] so are labels within a given design house. The reason is simple. Ralph Lauren produces a range of products across different labels that appeal to different types of consumers. The products that are intended for the vanity market — those who buy a tee-shirt at resort for example — are sized very differently from their core designer customer. The customer with more discretionary income is thinner than the former so if it were true that Ralph Lauren (for example; I have no bone to pick with him) sized for vanity then Ralph's core customer wouldn't be able to find a size to fit them. And you know that's not true.

This is not to say that vanity doesn't play a role. Just ask Dave Barry:

Here's how you could get rich: Start a women's clothing store called ''SIZE 2,'' in which all garments, including those that were originally intended to be restaurant awnings, had labels with the words ''SIZE 2.'' I bet you'd sell clothes like crazy.

Your zeroes and minus-twos? Why, yes, they will have fries with that.

(Via Neil Kramer, who has more Infiniti than I do.)

Posted at 2:13 PM to Rag Trade

A size-minus-two dress ought to come with weights sewn in the hems if they're to be sold in chronically windy locales.

Posted by: McGehee at 2:55 PM on 27 October 2006

Maybe I should have saved the Flat Stanley statement for this. Although he would probably be a size 2.

Posted by: Neil at 3:10 PM on 27 October 2006

You know, things are getting crazier everyday. This is getting ridiculous. One of my designers described a size 6 as one of "the larger sizes" the other day. We've got a lot more nutjobs getting in the business lately. I may have to rescind all I said. I think they ARE vanity sizing. Maybe it's time for me to get out. I'm getting too old for the insanity.

Posted by: Kathleen Fasanella at 3:56 PM on 31 October 2006