Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Size Was That??

I'm not sure if I've mentioned recently about my challenges with clothing.  For example, the other week at work the office admin (via messenger) asked what size button down shirt I wear, since they're thinking about ordering us some nice shirts.  This simple question put me into a panic and it took me almost 10 minutes to stammer out some kind of answer that made any sense.  This was not because I’m ashamed of my size. I’ve never been ashamed of my size. But because I just don’t know what the answer is.

Well, apparently I’m not the only one. Apparently this is a frustration point for many, many women, even those who are already small to begin with. I’ve talked about my frustrations of trying on 3 pairs of pants in the same size by the same company and only 1 slightly fitting right.

Yesterday morning, for example, I found a pair of khakis in my closet I’d put in the “give away” pile because I thought they’d be too big by spring, but low and behold, they’re smaller than my jeans that are too big, but only a hair bigger than my work pants that are too big and a good bit bigger than my jeans that actually fit fairly well for most of a day. Anyhow, the jeans that are too big and the work pants I’ve been wearing are both the same brand (Lee) and the same size (16, not 16W, just 16). The jeans are a good inch or two bigger in the waist than the work pants. Huh?  The jeans that fit fairly well are also Lee and a 14.  There's a pretty big difference between the two jean sizes (even though they're the same style even) but not such a big difference between the work pants and the 14 jeans. Oh, and the khaki’s I wore yesterday, they fit well enough (and in some ways better than my pants I'd been wearing), and they’re an 18. Of course, from past experiences, I totally expect to need a full size bigger in that brand (Cabella's) than my “normal” clothes. (I'm sure all this numbers and comparing just made your head spin, if not explode... mine was doing that yesterday morning at 6am while I was standing in my closet trying to get dressed for the day...)

So, with my experiments at home yesterday, it looks like I need to go down to a 14 or maybe even a 12 in my work pants and get another pair or two of 14s in jeans. I never in a million years thought I'd be in those sizes. Then again, with the "vanity sizing" that's been running rampant through the industry, it probably should be about an 18 from a decade or so ago...  Even though my weight has been mostly the same the last several months I'm hesitant to buy new clothes.  I do want to loose a little more, but it's not even that.  I really do need to buy new clothes.  The ones I have don't fit right and clothes that don't fit right no matter if they're too big or too small just make you uncomfortable and self conscious.  (That and I'm sure my coworkers, even though they'll say other wise, are almost as tired of the same 5 or 6 shirts I've been rotating through as I am.) 
Oh, and don't get me started on shirts.  I have 3 (woman, not unisex) workout T-shirts that are a size large that fit beautifully that I got from Target.  A few weeks back I tried to get a button down shirt from there that was an XL because the arms looked slim, and well, if I had no bust I could have buttoned it (and the arms were still a bit snug...).   And if my shirt fits nicely and slimly (is that even a word?) through the tummy and my pants are baggy and falling down, do you tuck in your shirt (and have it pull out every time you raise your arms) or do you leave it out and have it fall into your waistband anyhow?  Either way you look sloppy.

So, it looks like I really do need to break out the sewing machine and find some new and fun patterns and convince mom to help me whip up a few additions to the wardrobe.  (Maybe even a skirt, that'd be nice to wear in the summer to work and still be cool enough to play on the playground with Boo after.... hmmm.... one advantage to dresses/skirts...)

Anyhow, all of this personal angst was just to point you to a very interesting piece from the New York Times yesterday. I totally agree that if there was some kind of standard in clothing labels, then clothes shopping wouldn’t be such a long, arduous and mentally and emotionally painful task. The only size "system" that makes even less sense and seems almost as random as woman's sizing is that for infants and even toddlers.  The tags are so "helpful" with height and weight suggestions and trust me, no two brands, or even pieces are cut the same...

(Oh, and I looked at the Levi jeans… first off, I don’t have $70 to spend on a single pair of jeans and they may have different curves, but please, not all of us can wear skinny jeans, nor do we want to… I mean, I have curvy hips and a butt and my thighs go right along with them and will never, ever fit in "skinny jeans", they have ever since puberty and always will. I like my curves, they just need to be smaller over all, not go away completely!)

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