How many of us, at one time or another, has encountered the Size Snob? You know who she is: that acquaintance or office mate who proclaims how she’s still a size 6 or has never been any bigger than a 34B (after all those kids, too!) They don’t want to make us feel bad that we’re a whole lot larger now than we\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nwere when we were 24. But if we do, it must be because we haven’t their great metabolism or our bodies were never as fit as theirs.\r\n\r\nStyle Snobs are, though, deluding themselves if they believe the size on the tag is the same size that they were 20 or more years ago. Because not just do our bodies change with age, but a whole lot has changed in American Fashion over the past 30 years. None of us know our true size. Blame “vanity sizing” for that one. And it affects all of us who buy anything made specifically for American markets.\r\n\r\nSince the 80’s, a few things changed in American sizes that most consumers didn’t know about, and some things I didn’t fully understand about how my body was changing. Because I’m short (5ft 3in) and narrow-hipped, I was able to wear Junior sizes all the way into my mid 30’s*. Junior sizes were always paired with an equivalent Misses size. So a Junior 5 was usually paired with a Missed 6, a Junior 7 with a Misses 8, and so on. My Junior size range was a 3 at my skinniest and an 11 at my heaviest. I’d maintained a 9 for quite a long time by daily walk, dancing on the weekends, and 2-3 times a week at the gym. I neglected to consider that all that exercise might actually build muscle, not just keep fat away. Silly me!\r\n\r\nThen came the day when a Junior 9 no longer fit! I thought I’d just *die* as I went to the 11s and then the 13s. I was *no* 13-14, that’s for sure. And I was right. When I held up a Junior size tee-shirt it looked as if it were made for someone with no internal organs. Actually, it was made for someone with smaller bone density and musculature. Not that I was muscle-bound, mind you. I was fit, with a slim six-pack, slender toned arms, and great calves.\r\n\r\nI realized that maybe, I was finally encountering my grown-up body. This was pretty much true. (BTW, my bra size also changed from a 36C to a 36D!) I figured that size 10 would fit because I’d always been a size 9. Seemed logical. That’s when I found that size 8 skirt and had my first encounter with Vanity Sizing. Now, sizes had always varied from the early days of mass-produced ready-to-wear-fashion which emerged in 1930’s, but it got super crazy in the 90’s when designers wanted to sell more to the California Rich Girls. Then, each designer brand and each manufacturer started to play around with sizes….\r\n\r\nWhich brings us to the current day and everyone’s size confusion. That is, except for the Size Snob, who takes for granted that she (or, nowadays, he, too) somehow has the genetic lock on youth and has maintained that desirable tiny size. While manufacturers and brands that serve the American market keep a certain vanity size standard. So, what was once a size 14 back in the 90’s is now probably a size 10 or 12. A person who wore a size 6 back in the day might be a size 4 today. If she’s still a size 6, it’s because of Vanity Sizing. Otherwise, she’d be something like an 8 or 10.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHowever, the Size Snob might actually get a real awakening if she starts buying from retailers whose supply is mostly for the European markets. European sizes–from the U.K. to Italy and France to the Ukrane and Georgia–are quite a bit different, esp. if one is buying online. If one uses a site like Zulily.com (a favorite of mine,) it’s best to look at the size charts for each offered line of clothing. Once one has to take one’s measurements, vanity sizing and size snobbery go right out the window. A size 12 U.K. is something like a 10 or 8 U.S., depending on range. A European 46 is something like a 14. But still, check the size chart because that might vary–and it will more than likely vary lower than higher.\r\n\r\nIn buying European or other clothing made for foreign markets, one quickly sobers up to the reality of where her (or his) body is at in its growth, age, and metabolism. And the smaller the size, of course, the hip and cooler the clothing. Those clothes in smaller sizes are supposed to be for young people. There’s no juniors or misses differentiation (although I do believe there is a plus differentiation because the plus size woman in Europe is not just heavier but also taller than the average standard size fit model.) A similar “thing” goes on with designer clothing, with some sized for European markets and some size for U.S. and/or Vanity. So to say that all designers make clothing only for skinny people isn’t quite true. Designer clothing is made primarily for age demographic vs. size demographic–or this is how it appears to me. The clothing that, say, a 45 year old businesswoman might buy from Diane Von Furstenberg will be different than what the college-going hipster will buy from Marc Jacobs, and the sizes will be measured differently, even if numbers are the same.\r\n\r\nSo, when it all comes down to it, the Size Snob is really only kidding herself. Be honest. Be who you are, in your grown-up body, with its spreading waistline and less-than toned arms. And if you don’t like it, there’s always exercise and diet to get you down to that size 6 again. If that really matters to you.\r\n\r\n*I’m still short and still narrow hipped, but since my adult body is rounder, petite-proportioned clothing usually fits best.