When Archimedes realized that the water he displaced in his bathtub must be equal to his volume, he began a process that is now making it possible to precisely determine body size, and all of the vanities that must include, especially for women. Clothing sizes vary considerably from company to company so that a size 8 with, say, Marc Jacobs becomes a triple 0 at Chico’s. We are all different sizes, of course, but there is a vanity factor that has led to what is known as ‘vanity sizing’ where some companies have moved a given garment from a 12 to a 10.
But now a much greater precision has become possible thru body-scans, the same as are being used now by airport security but without the pat-downs. MyBestFit, a company that has recently set it self up in malls and provides such a complete body-scan for free, is an effort to deal with the confusion evinced by a plethora of sizes. Ultimately, of course, there will be holographic images of the customer’s body that can be exactly fitted to any item of clothing whatsoever. In William Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive, Mona, a lead character, goes with a client to have a suit for him fitted. The projected image is also enhanced so that he becomes better looking, which amuses Mona. But it’s clear that playing to vanity is a good way to make a sale, whatever the gender.