Size Doesn’t Matter
When I was in junior high, I distinctly remember an unsettling incident at Abercrombie & Fitch.
It was my first trip to the store with some girlfriends and I was very excited to try on their famous jean shorts. After being unable to pour myself into their size double zero, single zero or “1” daisy dukes (like my two super thin friends), I lost the enthusiasm to shop.
Participating in many different sports growing up, I was always in good shape — but by no means a string bean. With my muscular legs and broad shoulders, the model dimensions at stores like A&F certainly weren’t created with girls like me in mind.
In high school and college, this size dilemma continued (only on a larger scale). I wanted to be a 2. I thought I worked out hard enough and ate healthy enough to be a 2. If asked, I was a 2.
But depending on the store, that 2 was actually a 4, a 6, and sometimes even an 8.
Now I’m sure some of you out there think I sound ridiculous. Many people would be grateful to be a 6 or an 8.
I’m not saying that being a 6 or an 8 is bad. I’m saying, regardless of the specific numbers we’re talking about, no woman likes to feel like they’re not the “right” size. I’m sure most women can relate to that moment in the dressing room when a well-intentioned sales lady carefully suggests you bump up a notch.
Whether it’s from a 2 to a 4 or an 8 to a 10, it’s not exactly a self-esteem booster.
Yesterday, a girlfriend of mine shared this article with me: When a Size 0 isn’t a really a 0: The Psychology Behind Top Designers’ Big Secret.
The article confirmed what I’ve suspected and pretty much known for a while. There is no standardization in clothing sizes. A 2 at one store is a 4 at another, and a zero in a third brand.
Sizes are based on either a label’s intention of excluding people of “undesirable” sizes (like Abercrombie famously does) or of “vanity-sizing,” labeling clothes smaller than they actually are to make size-obsessed shoppers more likely to purchase them.
In addition, sizes often change each season, depending on the model the designer uses to base the sizing off of.
This paragraph sums it up pretty well:
“French and Italian zeros are often equivalent to a U.S. minus 4. Not only that: Every designer brand cuts samples on their own fit model and garments are scaled up to the larger sizes from there. If said fit model goes breatharian (i.e., a diet of air) with a bout of modelrexia after a bad break-up, an entire season’s collection will reflect her wasting-away waifiness and could make real women sartorially suicidal.”
So how do we combat this roller-coaster without becoming “sartorially suicidal.”
1. Embrace the truth, that we all have different shapes and sizes and we are not all meant to fit into perfectly-packaged proportions.
Like I said before, I have broad shoulders. This means while I may be a small on the bottom, I’m usually a medium on top. And while I may shimmy into a size 2 dress occasionally, I might have to keep going up in size until I find one where the zipper will actually close on top.
If it looks good in the end, who cares what the label says.
2. Acknowledge the fact that the numbers really shouldn’t don’t mean anything. They don’t!
Don’t be proud that you’re a zero, a double zero or a two, and at the same time, don’t be upset that you’re not. Those numbers stand for nothing.
The euphoric feeling you get after a hard workout. The glow in your skin and eyes when you choose to rest, hydrate and eat whole foods.
And the happiness you feel when you can share these positive experiences with your friends and family, and stop perpetuating myths about what size makes a woman beautiful.
That is all.
*Shout out to my friend Rachael for sharing this article with me.