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50 years ago, today's size 00 was an 8. This viral post shows why vanity sizing must end.

"Stop believing the social normatives about who and what you should be."

Deena Shoemaker was going through her closet when she realized something odd: She had several pairs of pants in drastically different sizes.

It wasn't that she had gained or lost a lot of weight recently. Despite the varying sizes on the labels, each pair of pants fit her exactly the same. Shoemaker is simply a victim of something that plagues millions of people around the world: arbitrary clothing sizes. Some brands are "true to size" while others "run small" or "run large." Still others use "vanity sizing" like double- or triple-zero to make sizes seem smaller than they are.

Finding six pairs of pants that fit her the same in a range of sizes from 5 to 12 opened her eyes to just how ridiculous our clothing size system truly is. And as a mentor coach at Youth Horizons, a nonprofit organization that supports at-risk kids, Shoemaker knew that teen and tween girls felt her frustration magnified tenfold.


She decided to share photos of herself wearing the pants to show just how absurdly unstandardized clothing sizes are.

No I'm not selling my pants; I've just got a bone to pick. I've worked with teen & pre-teen girls as a leader and...

Posted by Deena Shoemaker on Saturday, December 10, 2016

She wrote the post as a letter of support to the girls she's worked with over the years, many of whom struggled with body image issues:

"I've have girls sob in my arms and ask me, 'if I were skinnier, would he have stayed?' I've counseled girls who were skipping meals. I've caught some throwing up everything they've just eaten."

She goes on to explain why she's not happy with the sizing discrepancy that exists across clothing brands:

"When you resize a girl's pants from a 9 to a 16 and label it 'plus size', how am I supposed to fight that? ... How do you expect me to convince her that she doesn't need to skip dinner for the next month because her pant size didn't *actually* go up by seven digits?"

Finally, she implored any girls reading the post to recognize that clothing size does not determine their worth as a person:

"My dear beautiful girls, my size 2 girls or my size 18 girls, your size doesn't determine your beauty; your life does."

There's truth to what Shoemaker found in her own closet: Clothing sizes have been jumping all over the place for the better part of a century.

Photo via iStock.

According to a report from Time, over 50 years ago, model Twiggy wore a size 8. Today, writer/comedian Mindy Kaling wears that same size. These two women have two very different body types. What used to be a size 8 is now considered a size 00.

So where did these crazy size fluctuations originate? Simply put, clothing manufacturers thought women would find their actual measurements on clothing unnerving, so they began a practice known as "vanity sizing" to make women's sizes appear smaller. The horrible irony is the same system that was designed to make women feel better about their size is now making them feel frustrated and confused every time they go shopping.

Thankfully, there are people in the fashion world fighting to make clothes shopping a more inclusive, less stressful experience for people with a range of body types.

Melissa McCarthy promoting her brand Seven7. Photo by Paul Conrad/Getty Images.

Companies like ModCloth are doing away with separate plus-size sections in favor of including extended sizes with their main clothing lines because separating larger sizes is a form of fat-shaming. Newer designers like Mallorie Dunn are featuring women of all sizes to model their clothes and show the world they're actually made for anyone to wear. More and more, we're seeing curvy and fat models, actresses, and designers featured in the fashion world.

But we still have a long way to go. No one should feel they have to change their body to fit into clothes — clothes should be designed to fit the beautiful spectrum of body types that exist in the world. Not only that, but clothing should be marked appropriately and practically. Creating new sizes to make customers feel better only makes it seem as though some body types should be hidden or ashamed to be seen.

As long as vanity sizing exists, young girls who are just growing into themselves and learning to be comfortable with their bodies will face frustration when they go shopping. That's why it's vital for them to have people like Shoemaker on their side telling them it's all just bullshit anyway.

As Shoemaker wrote on Facebook: "Stop believing the social normatives about who and what you should be. You are lovely and you are loved. Just exactly the way you are."

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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