Thursday, December 30, 2010

Size Matters

OK ladies - time for a reality check. I know I won't be popular with this blog, but sometimes the truth hurts. I popped into a high end women's clothing shop the other day to check out the after Christmas sales and I spotted THE most fabulous coat. There was only one left and even at half price it was still a small fortune. It was by "Save the Queen" designs and it was sooooo me! It had everything. Originality, varied textures, the perfect cut for my body, some bling attached on the lapel, a cool charm on the zip - the chances of me seeing something similar on someone else would be slim to none. It was black and grey and pink. It was love at first sight. It was attached to a mannequin so I had to ask the clerk to take it off it so I could try it on. It was a medium, and the last one, and I figured it might be a little big on me, but I could alter it if necessary. Besides, you don't want a winter coat to be too snug, in case you need to wear a bulky sweater underneath it. I was sure it would be fine. We stripped the headless plastic body and we made our way to the back of the shop so I could stand before the full length mirror and slip it on. "Hmmm," I thought as she helped from behind, it didn't slide on like I thought it would. I was wearing a zipped yoga jacket over my t-shirt - maybe that was creating a little bulk. I was about to tell her to wait a second while I unzipped and took off the extra layer I was wearing, but then I thought "Wait a sec," it does not matter. "Horrors!", it would not make a difference - the coat would clearly not fit me even if I did strip off. I could go right down to my bare skin and that coat would not wrap all the way around me. And then she informed me it was an Italian label - you need to go up a size or two with these she said. On one hand I was relieved it did not fit and look as fabulous as I thought it was going to, as I was not really in the mood to spend the money, but it was one of those things, that had it looked the way it did in my imagination from the moment I saw it, I would have slapped my credit card down in a nano-second and spent the next 30 minutes of my walk home justifying my extravagant purchase. The point of this story is we live in denial here in North America when it comes to sizing. I know a woman who is clearly a size 18 or 20 and goes around saying she is a size 10 or 12. "Yeah," I think to myself, "on what planet?" In Europe I am a large. In Canada I am a small. In some Asian countries, I am at least a medium and in some American chains, where they have really perfected the art of self-denial, I am an extra-small. Ladies! Let's be real here. I am not "extra-small". Even small is a stretch. Not that I don't love seeing an "S" on my clothing labels. I do. I just know that 25 or 30 years ago, that same "S" would have been a more realistic "M". I know this is true. But I don't mind the lie. None of us do. How else do you explain the existence of Size "0". Or better still "double bloody zero?" Clothing manufacturers figured this psychology out some time ago on this continent, but in Europe and Asia, where obesity is not rampant, sizing is still true. Sorry to burst the bubbles of all you 2's and 4's out there, but the truth is, you are merely a small or a 6. Yes, a 6! Ever since that infamous line in The Devil Wears Prada, "2 is the new 6", American clothing manufacturers saw the opportunity to sell more clothing. They started making their sizing more generous so women everywhere would feel better about themselves and spend more. And several Canadian designers are at it too. Last winter I tried on a Pink Tartan coat in a size 4 thinking there was no way it would fit and lo and behold - it was too damn big! Nice of Kimberly to try to make us all feel so tiny, but COME ON! We may be able to suspend reality somewhat, but sometimes it is just ridiculous. Same thing with Joe Fresh. That wonderful inexpensive grocery store wear that really takes it to a whole new level of bullshit. Remind me to show you my extra small T-shirts I bought there last summer. Of course there will always be women who try to squeeze into clothing that is way too small for them - that's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about getting your head out of the sand and accepting your true size. Unless you are anorexic, you are NOT a size zero. If you have any curves at all, you are at least a small or medium, or between a 4 and an 8. If your curves are starting to spill over into muffin top or your breasts are bursting out of your bra, you are a 10 or 12. If you have been noticing a double chin or none of your rings fit you any more, you are likely heading into the 14-16 zone. After that, you have to start shopping at plus size clothing stores and at that point, it's time to do some serious thinking about joining a gym and checking out the latest Weight Watchers program. I would love to think that one day I could fit into that Italian size small, but the truth is, if I lost that much weight, I would be grumpy all the time from starving myself and my breasts would practically disappear. Neither of those appeal to me. And besides, those European imports are expensive and wearing them in the correct size would make me feel fat - perhaps this denial thing is really the way to go. You're as young as you feel and you're as thin as your clothing label says you are! Tadah!

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