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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Summer shopping finds: Urban Outfitters

I haven’t been shopping much this summer.  The reason being that I’m around clothes and fashion too much these days, and I actually get sick of seeing clothes after my shifts at Smartset (Canadian retail chain) where I currently part-time.  It is possible to get sick of clothes, and the idea that girls can’t stop shopping is not true.  I am working hard, and I mean hard, to find pieces that move me, on trends that are fun and worth following and reporting on.  A lot of the quality of clothing in the big chains have gone downhill.  And the clothes of better quality and are better made are just very pricey.  Good finds are hard to come by this summer, and with the months flying by, the summer will soon be over, and there will not be a reason to sport any cute, trendy piece at all.

Urban Outfitters has been serving my needs for a while now.  Partly because they do follow the trends, their clothes on sale is actually pretty affordable, and they have a generous return/exchange policy.  They also have a relaxed grunge-y street feel to them that I like, and as a former art college student, they appeal to me with pieces that are girly and bohemian inspired too.  This summer however, UO are almost my enemy, with high prices, and uninspired designs and fabrics.  However, after doing my homework, I was able to scout out a few things that I nabbed from them that are pretty fabulous.

1. The Kimono Trend

I saw this trend popping up in the spring, but wasn’t quite ready for it then.  Now I am on board with it.  It’s elegant, retro, and effortlessly pretty.  The floral printed kimonos are jaw-droppingly pretty, but usually cost fifty or more.  But for such dramatic silouhette as the kimono is, a less noisy print may prove more suitable.  I adore my recent kimono jacket find, at UO.  It was priced right, and cropped, so it doesn’t overwhelm a more petite frame!

Kinda dramatic, and kimono inspired.  Baggy and non clinging can be pretty sometimes!
Kinda dramatic, and kimono inspired. Baggy and non clinging can be pretty sometimes!

2. Printed Leggings Trend

This trend took off in the spring of this year, faded away and is now coming back again.  Who knew?  Well, I kind of did because black and grey pants are sooooo boring.

Funky and fun, floral printed tights say I'm in, I'm with it!
Funky and fun, floral printed tights say I’m in, I’m with it!

3.  Jelly shoes

Do you guys remember in the 90’s when jelly shoes were in?  Well, I have an infinity for them this summer.  they are comfortable, cute and stylish.  A perfect addition to any summer wardrobe, because they scream effortless fun and functionality.

Nothing over the top.  Just casual girlie fun.
Nothing over the top. Just casual girlie fun.

What are your fave finds this summer?  Do you guys think that it is a an awesome summer in terms of finding great fashion and styles?  Or is it difficult and lack-lustre?

Why is winter fashion so gloomy, especially on Valentines?

I have not been clothing shopping lately.  Mostly because…well, I am trying to save and also, I spent a lot recently on a super cool vacation with my kid.  But sometimes, you can’t avoid shopping…I have to say that as a girl, not to look too shallow, but it is just expected for us to be on top of trends and have something new to wear, especially on Valentines day.  So recently, I justified using my dusty visa card in search of something romantic, fun, and uplifting for this upcoming couple’s holiday.  The only problem was that there was so little out there to buy.  Everywhere I looked was gloomy…clothes were all black, grey, and brown.  Prints were unflattering.  There was nothing with lace or crochet, and nothing sweet with sparkle, or a vintage quirkiness. What’s wrong with TO during winter?  What’s wrong with Queen Street West…which is supposed to be the pinnacle of fashion in this city?

Ahh, Toronto's equivalent to New York's Soho
Ahh, Toronto’s equivalent to New York’s Soho

I went to H&M, Aritzia, some cute korean boutique, Mendocino…etc.  And nothing was catching my eye.  I finally gave in and went to Urban Outfitters, which I was trying to avoid, because I shop too much there.  But I was able to find this really cute salmon pink cable knit crop sweater.  I’m thrilled!  Finally a little colour to brighten up my mood during this crazy winter.  And come on, it’s Valentines day.  Doesn’t anybody dress up all cute in hearts, red and pink anymore?  Even the most jaded, unenthusiastic Torontonian and muster up some cheer for this once a year sweety-pie love fest, no?  Retail fashion, you need to zone in on that…

I’m in cute/sweet sweater mode this Valentines.  The weather is cold, so why not put on a comfy sweater…it is possible to be romantic in this bulky winter clothing staple.  I think the key is in colour.  This is the sweater that I got at Urban Outfitters yesterday:

The colour is a bit bright for my taste, but  it is cutely cropped and made of breathable cotton cable knit!
The colour is a bit bright for my taste, but it is cutely cropped and made of breathable cotton cable knit!

Pair it with a pencil/tube skirt and go a more feminine route.  In this photo I paired it with some printed leggings for a more fun look.

My next photo is a wool sweater I scored a couple of weeks ago at Black Market.  I think it fits Valentines because it’s a muted baby pink, with some pretty stitch detailing on the neckline.  Very sweet and demure.  Also cropped, so it works with high waist-ed skirts…

This sweater has a vintage vibe, because it is vintage.  I actually used scissors to crop the sweater!  No hemming necessary because the wool doesn't fray.  Sweet DIY.
This sweater has a vintage vibe, because it is vintage. I actually used scissors to crop the sweater! No hemming necessary because the wool doesn’t fray. Sweet DIY.

What do you think of my choices of wardrobe Valentines?  It doesn’t scream sexy, but it’s pretty fun and low-key.  And believe it or not, they were actually hard to find in a fashion forward city like Toronto…