Dress size is nothing but a number

We often hear that age is nothing but a number.  That you can do anything in your 30’s that a 20 year old can do, and that we should not limit or restrict ourselves to such a trivial things as age and such.  We can also be free to date people of all types, of all ages, of all lifestyles, and of all races.  There is encouragement to be ourselves in these matters.  The same should be said about dress sizes.  I work part-time in fashion retail, and I have recently noticed how some of us gals have strange ways of associating some part of our identity through the size clothing we wear.  If we are a size small, we are content…an extra small brings out boastful, prideful personalities.  Medium is a triumph for the more curvy types if they can get into this size label, and large and extra large are okay too, but then just don’t say it too loudly, and hope to fit into the prior.  I myself am guilty of thinking this way a bit, but now I can see why we shouldn’t think like this.

Women's sizing chart.  Why so confusing?
Women’s sizing chart. Why so confusing?

The reason is simple.  The fashion industry is fickle.  They change their measurements daily.  Different stores and different collections have different ways of fitting.  Smartset, the store I part-time in tends to have a larger sizing so that a small there is like a medium at say, Forever 21.  Also, realize that some styles actually look better looser than tighter, it all depends on how you want to style it.  In my wardrobe, I have sizes ranging from XS all the way up to M/L. And it’s nice to think nothing of it. In truth, size is really subjective, and we should not confine ourselves into thinking we are just one size.  We should not be jumping up and down when we fit a small, nor should we be bummed to size up.  Just be happy, healthy and feel great. Don’t let the industry standards have their way with you.  Larger doesn’t always mean fat.  It could also mean you’ve got a bust, and that is a good thing in this culture too.

I know some of my customers get caught up with sizes.  I’ve had skinny ladies complain and whine (in a prideful way) about how they can’t wear our pants because the double 0 just is still too big for them.  I mean, come on?  If you really liked them, they don’t have to stick to your skin for you to pull them off.  I recently lost a few pounds and have just been enjoying the extra room in some of my clothes.  It feels nice to size up too.  I’m more petite than the average woman, and I love to size up on tights.  They fit so much more comfortably, they don’t pull down, and are warmer when not stretched out.  But when we ran out of s/m tights at the store recently and I dared suggest to size up to women my size and larger, their expressions were kind of like I was insulting them!  Clothing size is nothing but a number.  Let it go.

See?  Sizes are just labels.  Don't label yourself.
See? Sizes are just labels. Don’t label yourself.

I’ll end with one last story.  I was helping a middle aged lady the other day with a particular style of sweaters that I knew the sizing ran large.  So I suggested to her to size down from her L to go for a M, medium.  She brightened up immediate with a glow of confidence.  Feeling validated from being able to grab the medium sweater, she smiled at me, and actually asked my size.  “Hey, yes, I can get away with a medium…that’s your size too, no?”  She prodded me.  I felt kind of insulted that she wanted me to define my size, the way she was defining hers in a way to make herself feel better or somehow “equal” to me.  My only reply I could think of is “well, my size, it depends, really.”  She left before I could tell her what it depended on.  I guess she was not interested in an answer that was not black or white.  But our style and personalities are never black or white, so why expect a black and white answer to the matter of dress size?  Just go with the flow and wear what fits.  Ignore the size on the tag.  If it really bothers you, cut it off when you get home and think nothing else about it.  Wouldn’t it be great to focus and put our energies on being a fabulous person instead?  That is what will put fun back into fashion.

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