Adult Stores are Selling Triple Zero Sizes: Is Social Media to Blame?

Just when we thought women in Hollywood were starting to take a turn for the sultry and curvy—thanks largely to highly visible figures like Kim Kardashian—it seems the opposite could be at play. According to a new story in Grazia, more and more brands targeted at young women are rolling out size triple zero, thanks in part to the staggering number of celebrities, models, bloggers, and It-girls posting precariously skinny selfies to social media.

While the tiny size isn’t new—middle-aged favorite Chico’s has been carrying triple zero since 2011—it’s gotten smaller at retailers that cater to a younger audience. For example, size 000 jeans at Abercrombie & Fitch measures 23 inches around the waist, while Chico’s lists its size ooo as a waist size of 27 inches, the equivalent of a size 4 at A&F. (This is, by the way, wholly permitted—clothing sizes aren’t standardized in the U.S. market.) J. Crew also recently joined the fray, offering size triple zero in its pants, which measures 23 inches.

While the concept of vanity sizing plays a role at stores like Chico’s—that’s when retailers label bigger clothing with smaller sizes in an effort to boost shoppers’ self-esteem—it’s not surprising that social media is bearing the brunt of the blame for the rise of the new size triple zero. All it takes is one scroll through the average fashion lovers’ Instagram feed to see a seemingly endless stream of influential young women relentlessly posting photos of—and making headlines for—their tiny bodies.

‘The selfie craze in particular has intensified this, and celebrities know that if they post a picture of themselves looking skinny, with ribs on show, they’ll get attention,’ trainer James Duigan told Grazia. “But it isn’t always real – sometimes they’re breathing in and sometimes the angle makes them look thinner than they really are.”

And—no surprise here—it’s not just celebrities shouldering the blame for appearing unrealistically skinny on social media, but also high-profile fashion bloggers, who clearly use a number of smartphone apps as well as Photoshop to whittle themselves down in seconds. If you’re someone who follows bloggers, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed that many are starting to look noticeably narrower than they did when they started out (and, in addition, some appear to somehow have only grown in the breast area—likely a result of Plump&Skinny Booth, an app that boosts your chest while narrowing your waist.)

We won’t pretend we’re not alarmed by adult stores selling size 23 bottoms—especially when the size of the average woman in the U.S. hovers between 12 and 14—but what’s more concerning is the fact that Instagram’s fashion It-girls and bloggers know how skinny they are, and they’re choosing to show their thousands or millions of followers, something no woman would do if she were uncomfortable with the way she looked. For the impressionable young woman, that’s a dangerous thing, and one that ultimately may contribute to more retailers finding a market for staggeringly small sizes.

What do you think? Is the rise of size triple zero be blamed on social media? Sound off below with your thoughts, and head over to Grazia to read the full story.