What you’ve always known to be true is now confirmed: you really are a size 8, and a size 10, and a size 14 — just depends on where you shop!

Manufacturers use  vanity sizing to delude us into thinking we’re getting smaller (and spend more money because we’re feeling so good about the lower number), when in fact the clothes are getting bigger.

What was a size 10 jean twenty-five years ago is now a size 6!  While that may bring momentary relief when we slide into a smaller size, we also may suffer great angst when the equation goes against us.  Recently a pair of jeans in my “usual” size wouldn’t slide more than half way up my thighs.  My thighs do tend to buff up a bit when I’m cycling more, but that was ridiculous!

A number of companies are attempting to address the disparity among different designers and stores by making it easier for us to find the right size and fit with less hassle.  But our best defense against the emotional ups and downs of the dressing room is mental preparation.  Before you go shopping, take a few minutes to ground yourself in the truth:

“I am not a number on a tag.  I am a human being.”

Don’t let the fashion industry delude you into believing that your self-worth is tied to a size.  Neither the relief or the angst associated with those numbers accurately reflects anything about you.  They are by-products of an industry that says it wants to make us feel beautiful, but is really all about profiting on our insecurities — which they do a great job perpetuating with games like this one.

If you want to arm yourself with more information, check out this sizing chart for more details on the disparity among different stores.