called Jennifer Love Hewitt fat and she zinged back with, “A size two is not fat
,” the Internet buzzed with derision. Bloggers and commenters, whether they were pro- or anti-curves, called her size declaration into question. Later it was explained that she wasn’t necessarily saying she
was a size two – just that in general size twos are not fat. Um, thanks for clearing that up? I’m betting though, that cutie-pie J. Lo-Hew probably does
have a pair of jeans in her closet labeled “size 2.”
In addition to current stars, people have long speculated about what size Marilyn Monroe would be in today’s sizes (the general consensus, I believe, is despite wearing size 12 or 14 in her day, today she would be a size 6).
What the Research Says
The fact that sizes have changed over the years is a fact. Researchers examined 1,011 pairs
of women’s pants and discovered that yes, pants size numbers have decreased given the same linear measurements. They also discovered, surprising me, that the more expensive the brand the worse the size inflation.
The common reaction to this is that women’s clothing should be measured like men’s – in inches per waist circumference and length. They would have a point except that men’s clothing has also fallen victim to this trend. As evidence I would show you my husband’s closet – he has a pair of Levi cargo pants bought in the men’s section, size 32/34, and a pair of Levi cargo pants bought in the young men’s section, size 34/34. Guess which one is bigger around his waist? Yep – the men’s 32/34. So apparently even men have size egos (Ahem. Not that way, you sickos.)
What’s the Big Deal?
So who cares? If it makes you feel better why not just embrace it? Well, for one, it makes shopping for clothing a total crapshoot. Especially if you shop almost solely at thrift stores like I do. I don’t even bother looking at the sizing tags anymore and instead resort to just holding it up and guessing.
It makes shopping at regular stores a lot trickier too. While I looooove Banana Republic with their “skinny mirrors”, my size there is several sizes smaller than what I wear if I shopped someplace like Wet Seal or Forever 21. I’ve also noticed Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein and the Gap similarly flatter me:) Is it because a pair of jeans in said smaller size cost 120$ at Banana while at Forever 21 you’d be hard pressed to find anything of 40$? The exception to this rule is Wal-Mart, the low cost leader, whose sizes are so outrageously huge they put all other companies to shame.
And forget about either buying or receiving clothes as gifts. The only size I can confidently tell my husband is my shoe size. Him: Would like a new hoodie for your birthday? (despite the fact that I own about 30 already – he’s very kind) Me: Wheee! A girl can never have too may hoodies! (Right??) Him: What size? Me: Um, if you shop at Pac-Sun I’m an X, Hollister I’m a Y, Gap I’m Z… Him: Snore. Hence the wonder of gift cards:)
As for the feel-good factor, that only lasts as long as you stay true to that store or brand. It’s a sad slap in the face to go into a new store and have to keep trading up sizes. This is especially true with European brands like H&M or pricier jeans that measure in “inches” like Seven or Hudson.
You Are Not A Number
Besides, the bottom line (hee!), is that you are what you are – not what your pants tell you you are. Self magazine (possibly the one magazine in the universe I don’t get) has a great article this month on how normal women found their “happy weight.” Read these essays
and get inspired. Really – I promise it will help you stop caring about the number on that little tag.
Besides, I hate feeling like I’m just another cog in the marketing machine – even if that machine tells me nice things about the size of my butt.