There’s no denying that our culture is obsessed with size, the media constantly bombards us with the direct or indirect messaging that smaller and thinner waistlines are “better” and “more beautiful.” The list of examples for this is very long
And where do large fashion chains fit into the equation? (Beyond, you know, promulgating images of only one body type: tall and thin.)
They use a tool known as Vanity Sizing. Vanity sizing is the inflation of sizes, so that larger cut pieces are labeled as a smaller number size to convince the customer into thinking they are smaller. This is a major culprit of body image issues.
This system of sizes shrinking over time is problematic, particularly as it all leads back to an unhealthy focus on numbers. “Vanity sizing plays to our insecurities and manipulates us into buying clothing that we may not even like because the tag says a size smaller than you typically wear. It makes us feel like we don’t know our own body—something that many people struggling with body confidence and disordered eating already feel plagued by. Whenever we try on clothing in a size that we expect to fit and it doesn’t, we wonder if our body has changed—have we gained or lost weight? For many struggling with body image issues, this can send them into a major tailspin. It can trigger feelings of depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal and can also exacerbate disordered eating symptoms.”
However, as much as the media can portray the sizes of too-thin models on billboards and actresses after months of preparing for a movie role as “normal” and “beautiful,” for the majority of us, it’s simply just not realistic.
Although, some brands are making an effort to take away the number aspect of sizing altogether.
Body positivity as a movement has been going through various changes all over the world, but in India especially, the idea of “thin is in” is changing, particularly in the fashion industry. The industry is starting to realize (and so must consumers) that clothes are made to fit your body and you aren't supposed to fit the clothes.
Uniquestuff, is an online women’s ethnic wear store. They brand their ethnic wear under the name of NaviNari. Headed by husband and wife, Neeraj & Nidhi duo that both have experience in manufacturing women’s apparel. They have worked with the likes of Lifestyle, Meena Bazaar, and Kalpana Sarees among others. After spending 20 years doing that, they have launched their brand and online store. The knowledge of the fittings and fabrics led the brand to create an incredible range of Kurtas, Indo-western dresses, Kaftans, and Dupattas in eleven sizes from XS to 7XL. The market runs amok with those who claim to know and make clothing for plus size fashion. It helps in creating a sense of body positivity. They aim to eliminate the judgments that are frequently tied to sizing. Numbers and body measurements bear increasingly less resemblance to each other in the fashion industry.
While several brands are offering plus sizes, not many offer plus-size fits. Navi Nari's range of ethnic wear is focused on creating tailor-made fits in each size.
What we need to do to solve these deep-rooted body image issues that lead to dangers such as eating disorders, is to fight back against these unrealistic beauty ideals. “Gaining awareness about how the media perpetuates an unrealistic ‘ideal’ body image that is unattainable is a great first step. “Having a critical eye to the advertisements out there and learning all that goes into making these models appear the way they do can help dispel the illusion that what they see as ‘ideal’ and attainable if they just try hard enough is not.”
Next, we need to spread the message of body positivity and self-love and incorporate it into how we live our lives every day. Knowing, and truly believing, that size does not equal self-worth is something we need to work on. Maybe then we can collectively feel that it's not our size that matters, it's just us who matter. And we can't be reduced to a mere number a