The little number on the tag on a pair of pants that indicates size can mean a lot to a person, and retailers know it.
That's why, in recent years, as the American population has become generally more overweight, brands from the luxury names to the mass retail chains have scaled down the size labels on their clothing.
"You may actually be a size 14 and, according to whatever particular store you're in, you come out a size 10," said Natalie Nixon, associate professor of fashion industry management at Philadelphia University. "It's definitely to make the consumer feel good."
Research shows that, when it comes to self-perception, the concept of "overweight" may be relative.
A working paper from a group led by Mary Burke, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Massachusetts, suggested that people's perceptions of overweight have shifted, and "normal" is now heavier than it used to be. Read full article »