The company explains its latest super-small size development

By Alex Apatoff
Updated July 10, 2014 08:53 PM

Brian Ach/Getty

How skinny are your jeans? J.Crew customers are asking that very same question now that the retailer has introduced a size smaller than 0.

The just-launched size 000 fits women with a 23-in. waist, according to the company’s size chart. It’s the equivalent of an extra extra extra small.

Shoppers took to Twitter to make fun of the gimmick. “J.Crew knows that size 000 already exists as toddler 4T, right?” wrote Twitter user @sassycurmudgeon. And from user @juliesnark: “J.Crew now offers size 000 pants for Americans who want a new cool headband.”

Others criticized the company for vanity sizing, the controversial (and pervasive) practice of assigning smaller sizes to clothes to essentially flatter someone into making a purchase. The idea is that if you actually wear a size 12, you’re more likely to buy a dress if it’s a size 8 because it makes you feel good about yourself. “J.Crew’s vanity sizing has reached a whole new level of crazy,” said a post on the fashion blog Racked. “What’s next, negative numbers?”

But J. Crew denies that it’s trying to boost egos — rather, it’s looking to boost sales in its new stores in Asia. According to a company spokeswoman, the new size was introduced in May when J. Crew launched two stores in Hong Kong, and the 000 is only available there as well as on the website (where they also carry up to a size 20 and extended sizes in shoes and swim).

What do you think of this latest development? Thoughts on vanity sizing in general?

–Stephanie Pfeffer