Fashion Psychology

Chaffey College Alumni Sydney Vargas shows off her own unique jean style. Photo by Ciara De Alba.

Chaffey College Alumni Sydney Vargas shows off her own unique jean style. Photo by Ciara De Alba.

The unknown of whether a pair of jeans will fit perfectly or barely button up can turn a fitting room into a scary place. There can be intimidation when the pair of pants or the shirt you want does not fit and you have to get the next size up.

The self-confidence battle lies within the wide variety of pant sizes offered by different companies.You may be a size six at one store but size eight at another.

Chaffey College students are no stranger to the daunting atmosphere of changing rooms.

“It really does make me feel fat. I start to question my life choices,” Chaffey student Gienne Behnke remarks about her own struggles she faces when walking into the fitting rooms.

Over the years, Behnke has become a smart shopper, figuring out what brands work best for her. She realizes some brands run bigger than what she is used to and others run smaller.

“It is kind of demoralizing when one's regular size jeans are too small," remarked Behnke. “American Eagle sizes really well. New York and Company run big and Hollister runs too small.”

Not all jeans work for all bodies, however. Each body is different and different people feel more confident in different brands.

Chaffey student Kelsie Vargas, feels most confident when she sports a pair of Levis. She mentions how she believes Levis makes jeans for all shapes and sizes, herself included.

Vargas also noticed how some companies only produce products for certain images.

“A lot of companies make jeans for a certain body type, which makes it hard for me to find a pair that fits good with my body,” Vargas remarks on the struggle to find good jeans. “It takes time to find out what size I really am.”

First-year Chaffey student Anthony Villalobos mentions how he does not like a number put on him.

Villalobos chooses to “transcend all jean sizes,” and refuses to feel shame about the size he wears.

Consumers have started to call out many clothing brands for the way they size their clothes. Many producers have smaller waistbands correlating with larger numbers. Throughout time, what was once a smaller size is now labeled a larger size. According to an article by Time Magazine on how to take back the dressing room, a size eight bust measured 31 inches in 1967, but a size eight bust measures 36 inches today. A size eight in 1967 would be equivalent to a size double zero.

Clothing agencies marking sizes down as smaller than they are is called vanity sizing. This is when companies take sizes and stick a tag with a smaller size to appeal to the buyer who wants to wear a smaller size.

However, this is not always perfect, as each company freely decides what sizes to downsize and which do not. According to the same Time article, a size eight varies in measurements across many different stores.

A size eight at H&M in 2012 had a bust of 34.5 inches, waist of 28.5 inches and hips of 37.75 inches. The same size at Anthropologie has a bust measurement of 37 inches, waist of 29 inches and hip measurement of 39 inches.

With all these different franchises creating such different sizing charts, it can be difficult and hard on one's self-esteem, to try on numerous sizes of jeans just trying to look for the perfect pair. For Vargas and Behnke it is important to find the store that suits them better and find the best pair of jeans or pants for them, the pair that makes them feel confident and like themselves.