Vanity sizing has reached a new level with J Crew introducing size triple zero into its preppy clothing line.
The workwear emporium joins some American brands by broadening their size range towards skinny bodies.
Vanity sizing is all about assigning smaller sizes to clothing items than is really the case, in order to encourage sales.
The additional zero was introduced in May this year when they opened the Hong Kong store. According to J Crew, the label had to “extend additional sizing to accommodate customer demand primarily coming from the Asia market”.
“Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to run small.”
A spokesperson told The Independent: “This has nothing to do with vanity sizing and accounts for the smallest percentage of our sizing.”
Apparently, across the pond women are too small for a 00 or XXS. To help picturing the unrealistic measurements, a triple zero has a 30.5 inches bust and a mere 23 inches waist – the same as the waistband on a six-to-eight-year-old girl’s skirt.
The original size zero is the equivalent of a UK size four, a double zero is a UK two, meaning a triple zero is a UK zero –five sizes smaller than an average size 10. Technically, an American size triple zero does not exist in the UK.
Both US and UK sizes vary widely, leading to the rise of “vanity and alpha sizing”.
The corporate label, which has seen a massive growth in the last five years, insists they also have a wide variety of measurements. “We offer unto size 20 (24 UK) in many women's styles as well as petites, talls, size 5 (3 UK) and 12 (10 UK) shoe sizes and special swim sizes (long and short torsos, D-cup) again introduced based on customers demand.”
However, the rise of the size triple zero is still worrying. Celebrities and the “skinny Hollywood” are now accessible through social media, where they share selfies of their skeleton bodies. Thin body shapes such as Alexa Chung, model Langley Fox Hemingway, Mary Charteris and Millie Mackintosh are just a few. Thankfully, there are still curvier role models out there, from Kim Kardashian to Beyonce.
The health cost of this new sub-size is serious. “Being underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight,’ told doctor and nutritionist Dr Adam Carey to Grazia.
“‘When your BMI [Body Mass Index – a calculation of your height and weight to determine if you’re a healthy weight] drops below 18.5, you’re deemed underweight. When you start to fall too far below this – as certain celebrities do – your body fat starts to reduce, which leads to irregular periods. This means they’re not ovulating on each cycle.
“ Being underweight puts you at a far greater risk of the brittle bone disease osteoporosis.
“Secondly, when you crash-diet, you start to lose muscle mass instead of fat. This is the engine in your body that burns fuel.”
Reality is that women still fall for vanity sizing. According to Grazia, “retail research proves that we are far more likely to buy a dress if it’s in a size that flatters their ego”.