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J.Crew size 000: Really J.Crew, just how small do girls have to get?

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J.Crew needs to sit in my fifth grade math class. When I was learning arithmetic, a standard fact was that zero (0), as a stand-alone digit represented in place value systems, carried meaning. Zero is smallest non-negative integer. But when we start chatting about clothing sizes, the scales are skewed. What, may we ask, is 000 sizing?

According to J.Crew’s sizing chart, their U.S. triple zero size is equivalent to an XXXS range. In other words… extra, Extra, EXTRA small.

But that begs the question: Just how small is too small? And is J.Crew pigeonholing the push that rail-thin, model-like, borderline anorexic women are what gals should be striving for?

Writes the NY Daily News: “The popular retailer said the XXXS clothes, which are designed for customers with a 23-inch natural waist, were introduced in response to growing demand from customers in Asia. Some New Yorkers argue that the brand is setting a bad example by offering an even smaller size, but others see the 000 as a fitting option for petite women.”

A 23-inch waistline is almost a full foot shorter than the average American woman’s frame. In other words, if you can’t cut open a basketball at both ends and slip into it, you won’t be able to stuff your girth into J.Crew’s new triple zero non-dimension.

Commented customer Jennifer Appel, who was asked about the 000 size while shopping at J.Crew in Rockefeller Center: “We live in a country that promotes anorexia and shame for women’s body types. J. Crew is a really powerful brand because Michelle Obama likes it, so they are making a national and international statement.”

But the Hollywood Reporter offered a different take, stating that there is no “vanity sizing” going on with the American multi-brand, specialty retailer.

They carried a statement from the crew at Crew:

“We are simply addressing the demand coming from Asia for smaller sizes than what we had carried. Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to run small,” the J. Crew spokeswoman said in a statement. “To further put into perspective, these sizes add up to the smallest possible percentage of our overall sizing assortment.”

Still, some in the fashion community are saying that J.Crew has it all wrong. Notes a writer on the blog Capitol Hill Style:

For those not familiar with the concept, vanity sizing is when brands increase the measurements of their clothing without changing their size guide so that eights become sixes, sixes become fours, etc. It’s a process that even Cosmopolitan magazine… described as “out of whack with reality.”

Vanity sizing is based on the misguided notion that you need to lie to women in order to sell clothing. It promulgates the damaging concept that self-worth is directly proportional to clothing-tag size. And negatively effects girls’ feelings about their bodies before they’re mature enough to know that they’re defined by more than a number assigned to them by a clothing company.

If you need to create clothes with smaller measurements in the name of inclusivity, as the brand’s spin-doctors will suggest, wouldn’t the logical thing be to expand the sizes upward, making the measurements for 000 the new 0, and offering a size 24?

What are your thoughts on J.Crew and their triple zero philosophy? Sound off below.

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