Sunday, November 29, 2009

One size does not fit anyone

posted Fri, 31 Dec 2004

I have a bone to pick with women’s clothing makers. I can’t tell you if it’s a big bone or a little bone, though. How about if I say it’s a size 5 bone? Does that mean anything to you?

I didn’t think so.

When they say Marilyn Monroe was a size 14, they mean a size 14 in 1950 measurements.

I went to Target for my semi-annual new underpants splurge today. New underwear twice a year is one of the three indulgences I promised myself if I ever became financially stable. The other two are fresh flowers in my house (beauty for its own sake) and a cleaning lady. (She only comes once a month, but that is enough to be a huge luxury for me.)

As usual (I always forget), I was tricked. What was my underpants size? How would I know? Underpants sizing has nothing to do with other clothing sizing and has nothing to do with hip measurements. Was I a five? A six? A seven? I DIDN’T KNOW!

Far be it from the manufacturer to put a measurement on the tag itself. “Size 7” takes up so much more room than “39 inches.” Wouldn’t want to waste the ink printing that on the label. You can’t try on underpants, so it’s a gamble to buy them.

Men, you have no idea how good you have it when it comes to clothing sizes. It is so easy for you. It’s all by measurements. What a concept. If you know your measurements, you know what size shirt, pants, briefs, whatever to buy. Someone else can even buy clothes for you.

But for us women – forget it. Clothing sizes are a game – a way of playing with women’s minds. The numbers are inconsistent – they vary from one manufacturer to the next – and change from year to year.

The only item of women’s clothing where the body’s dimension is a part of the measurement is in brassieres. Coincidence? I think not. Breasts are the only part of a woman’s body that are allowed to be big. Everything else has to be small, small, small, even though that is not how nature intended most of our bodies to be.

I weigh now what I weighed in high school, but wear clothes four sizes smaller than I did then. (I have expanded and shrunk many times between then and now.)

My mom and I used to sew all our own clothes. (This was before we learned about the Junior League thrift shop.) My mom, at whose house you want to be if there is ever famine or any other disaster, still has a lot of the patterns we used in the late 1970s.

I asked her to give me the measurements for a size 12 from one of those patterns.

They correspond to an eight now.

That’s in cheap clothes. If you go to the expensive designer garments, you might find a size four with those measurements.

The clothes in my closet range over four sizes, but all fit the current me. I got rid of my fat clothes the last time I lost a bunch of weight.

I was so pleased to be wearing some “small” jeans the other day – and then I took a close look at the label. They were “relaxed fit,” which is Levi’s code for “not really this size, but if we put your real size, you won’t buy them.”

Yes. I would. I would buy them. I have gotten over the trauma of being my size and now all I want is clothes that fit properly. I don’t want to have to make five trips to the dressing room trying to figure out which size fits me. Make it easy for me, please. And let me buy underwear without gambling.

1 comment:

  1. SO True! I hate women's clothing sizes. It gets even more complicated when shopping in different countries, the amount of size 'adjustments' seem to vary depending on nation. I hate having to try on 3, sometimes 4 different sizes in order to find the right fit. It's absurd.