Clothing manufacturers have started altering their sizing to make us feel better about ourselves. The shrinking sizes appeal to the ego, but have little to do with reality.

The changing sizes have a lot of people, including CTV's Lynda Steele, wondering what size they really are.

Steele visited five popular Vancouver retailers -- Le Chateau, Zara, Banana Republic, The Gap and H+M – to purchase five identical outfits.

Steele tried on the purchases, five sets of size medium button-down shirts and five pairs of size six dress pants, and found that many were either too large or too small.

One shirt wouldn't even close all the way.

Tailor Gwen Chmelyk took the exact measurements of the garments and found that the sizing just doesn't add up. Every garment had a different measurement, with some being way off.

Here's how the size six pants measured up:

  • The Gap 33 inch waist
  • Banana Republic 33 inch waist
  • Zara 32 inch waist
  • Le Chateau 30 inch waist
  • H+M 30 inch waist

The size difference was even more dramatic when it came to the medium shirt comparison, with a five-inch spread in sizing.

  • The Gap 39 inches
  • Banana Republic 38 inches
  • Le Chateau 37 inches
  • Zara 36 inches
  • H+M 34 inches

Vancouver fashion designer Jude Feller said the experiment is a classic experiment of vanity sizing, where "one size fits nobody."

"Oh, I think it's all psychological," she said. "Everyone wants to be wearing a smaller size so companies want to sell more, so they offer a smaller size to a larger woman."

Chmelyk believes there should be a standard set of sizing across the board.

"But there isn't anywhere near," she said. "Every brand is different sizing and it's just a crap shoot."

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele