Paper 14.269

M.E. Faust et al., "Perception vs Reality: 3D Body Image, Self-Esteem and Vanity Sizing", in Proc. of 5th Int. Conf. on 3D Body Scanning Technologies, Lugano, Switzerland, 2014, pp. 269-274,


Perception vs Reality: 3D Body Image, Self-Esteem and Vanity Sizing


Marie-Eve Faust 1, Isabelle Lessard 2, Marie-Eve Blackburn 3,4

1 Philadelphia University, Fashion Merchandising Management, School of Business Administration, Philadelphia, PA, USA;
2 Vestechpro, Apparel Research and Innovation Center, Montréal, QC, Canada;
3 ÉCOBES - Recherche et transfert at Cégep de Jonquière, Jonquière, QC, Canada;
4 Département des sciences de la santé, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, QC, Canada


Purpose: Many studies have been conducted since the arrival of the 3D body scanner measuring body sizes and looking at shapes either for national sizing campaigns, or specific target markets, or simply to learn about particular parts such as head or foot. Very little has yet focused on the perception of oneself and its definite 3D image, thus about vanity.
The purpose of this research is to investigate how people perceived themselves, compared to their 3D image. This research also parallel participants' self-esteem [vanity/ body cathexis] with their understanding [appreciation] of apparel sizing.
Design/methodology/approach: To achieve our objectives, our main method, is to survey participants at the Montreal 2014 Fashion & Design Festival. Participants are ask to: (i) complete a threefold questionnaire and (ii) to voluntary be scanned. The first section of the questionnaire measures global self-worth [own perception and self-esteem] of individuals with an existing and tested 10-item scale found in the literature. The second section measure participants' perception towards vanity sizing. Questions were elaborated based on literature statement. Lastly the third section compiles participants' demographic data.
After completing the questionnaire, participants are scanned using a 3D body scanner (NX16) from [TC]2. Participants receive initiatives to participating in the survey and a copy of their 3D image.
Findings: According to our pilot test, results validate that self-esteem is link with (dis)satisfaction of ones' appearance, the visible aspect of a person, but not necessary to its "3D depiction". Results also show a negative correlation between vanity and vanity sizing. Indeed, when one's perceives her/himself negatively, (s)he has a good impression about vanity sizing, (meaning one is affected by the size label favoring a low digit), whereas one's with a positive self-esteem doesn't seem to be trouble by the size label, therefore does not embrace vanity sizing. These results are significant since they should result in practical implication.
Research limitations: First research of its kind and was done only in Montreal. It would gain to be extended to other geographic areas and to a larger scale including people of diverse age groups, ethnicities, etc.
Practical implication: Literature shows that a commercial practice such as vanity sizing is a marketing tool, but our results show it also has "benefits" on people with low self-esteem. On the other hand literature shows that vanity sizing has an economic impact and give rise to costly returns.
Therefore the apparel industry may want to rethink these commercial practices in regards to sizing in a way it benefits all parties.
Originality and value: For the first time we are able to validate the prominence of the size label effect on self-esteem, related to body shape and perception [vanity].


Full paper: 14.269.pdf
Proceedings: 3DBST 2014, 21-22 Oct. 2014, Lugano, Switzerland
Pages: 269-274
DOI: 10.15221/14.269

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