What does it mean to be a size 4/6? How about a 10/12? What about the average American dress size for women, a size 14?
Depending on the manufacturer, all of these sizes could be just about anything. But there is one really big clue … generally speaking, the less expensive the clothing, the more “generous” the sizes.
I’m in the process of losing weight to get ready to shoot two fitness videos. I didn’t want to get hung up on what the scale says, I just wanted to get down into the 4/6 range (after having started in the 8/10 range). That seems simple, right? I made my declarations about my 60-day weight loss program and then started looking up what a size 6 actually meant in measurements in order to get my body there.
Let me give you an example of a size 8 at different stores:
The bust range is between 34″ and 36 1/2″ … the waist cruises from 26 1/2″ to a generous 28 1/2″ … and the hips from 37″ to 39 1/2″. And did you note that last column? Pattern makers never varied the sizes over the years. It’s still the original sizing from the early 1900s. What you see in that column is what a size 8 used to be. I’m shocked by how far we’ve inflated.
In general the pricey brands keep the sizing more streamlined. I suspect this is because they only want a certain “type” of woman wearing their clothes, but I can’t be sure.
If you’ve got two or so inches to work with at any given dress size, how are you supposed to find clothes that fit? Do you know what 2 1/2″ on the high side means in terms of how much fat you’re carrying on your frame? A lot! How does this make sense to anyone?
Vanity Sizing vs. Reality
Our egos have gotten the best of us. Yes, we are happier when our size is in single digits. Yes, we want to think we haven’t actually gained any weight. “I’m still a size eight after all,” you think to yourself.
Ladies, the clothing sizes lie. It’s the mirror that tells the truth. Look at yourself naked, and if you’re happy with what you see, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not happy with how you look, well, go find that wagon to hop on.
I’ve been judging myself two ways lately: what I see in the mirror and what I see on video. I can tell you, it’s totally bloody true, the camera does add 10 pounds! I’m often really happy with the mirror and then I’ll start editing video and cringing. If you ever wanted a really good incentive to stay on a diet, start shooting videos of yourself in form-fitting clothing. Trust me, that’ll keep you on the straight and narrow.
The next time you’re in the dressing room try to cut yourself some slack. The most important thing is that the clothes hang well and that you look good in them. No one but you sees the tag, and if it bugs you that much, just cut it off. Have you had a snit fit in a dressing room over wandering sizes? Have you had a self-esteem moment (good or bad) from what size you wear? Let me know and we can start the conversation.
photo credit: Dalvenjah