Monday, February 23, 2009

Can We Just Have Some Consistency??

I couldn’t believe I had something physically in common with Marilyn Monroe until I read an article on Snopes about the “truth” behind the fact that Marilyn wore a size 16. We’re both 5’5.5” tall. And…well, that’s where the similarities end. I’ll never have a 23-inch waist, and my bra size will never be a 38D without medical intervention.

I was researching how the perception of women’s body sizes has changed over the years. I look at photographs of my mother and mother-in-law and many of their friends from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and they’re all small waisted and petite (by today’s standards) even after having babies. Yet my mother wore a size 8/10 back then.

Now, I’m no mathematician, but I weigh more than my mother did in her smallest days, my hips are wider, my waist is larger, and I wear a size 4/6.

I know, I know. It’s called vanity sizing. But it’s really messing with folks. Many women like to quote the fact that Marilyn “wore” a size 16 when in reality, at her heaviest of 140 pounds, she would be a size 10 or maybe a 12 by today’s standards.

I own two pairs of long johns that I wear as pajamas on cold nights, which is most every night right now. Each was made by a different manufacturer. The are both size small. One pair is too big and one pair is too short and fits a little snug in the waist. I’d like to get another pair of the ones that are too big because they fit well in the length, but the company doesn’t make “extra small.” Like I’m extra small anyway!

I just want some consistency. Is that too much to ask of the clothing industry?

Take Eddie Bauer for example. My hips measure 38 inches and my waist varies between 30-31. According to EB’s size chart, my waist size puts me in a size 12 or L and my hips a size 8 or M. These seem very reasonable to me. If I were ordering from their catalog or website, I’d select a size based on these numbers, right? So how come when I go into their store and try on their clothes, I wear a 4 or 6, both in tops and bottoms?

Marilyn Monroe’s hips were 36 inches at her heaviest. 36 tiny inches. According to EB online, she’d be a size 4/6. But I’M a size 4/6 at EB! So what’s the truth? An inch measures the same now as it did 50 years ago. Inches didn’t suddenly become smaller. Have we become that vane that we need to see an S or a 6 or 8 on our clothing to feel good about ourselves, even though the truth is that we’re an M or L or 10, 12, 14 or whatever?

Personally, I just want to go online or into a store and know that my 38-inch hips ALWAYS fit into the same size across the board. Whether I’m at Ann Taylor or WalMart, my size is always my size, and that size is always dependent on the cold hard facts: my waist/hip/bust/inseam measurements.

As for who’s “fat,” Marilyn Monroe, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Simpson…each one has been called “fat” in the press. If this is fat (that's Jessica Simpson), then hell, I want to be fat!

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5 comments:

  1. I want to be fat if it means looking like any of the gals you listed in this post. They're all so pretty! And none of them make me want to shove a sandwich down their throats when I look at them. :)

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  2. I know what you mean about sizes. I agree that regardless of if they've skewed the sizing they should at least all be skewed the same. I must admit though that fitting in a smaller size regardless of the reality does make me feel better. I know I'm living in a dream world but after being a size 32 for most of my life I need a few dreams *smile*.

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  3. AND A HEARTY AMEN, THIS SIZING THING HAS GOTTEN OUT OF CONTROL. YESTERDAY MY HAIRDRESSER WAS COMPLAINING BECAUSE SHE HAS GONE FROM A SIZE 0 TO A 3; AND SHE REFUSES TO GO TO A SIZE 5. I'M 5'2" AND A SIZE 18/20 BUT THINK I WANT TO BE A 11/12 BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I WAS A LONG TIME AGO. AND......I STILL THOUGHT I WAS FAT. WELL, ENOUGH SAID ABOUT SIZING I'M EXERCISING NOW AND EATING RIGHT SO LIFE WILL TAKE ME TO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR ME!!!!

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  4. I completely agree! I wear a size 14 most of the time, so I can still shop at most stores, but I know that would not have been the case even 20 years ago. I feel like clothing stores are experiencing the same dilemma the rest of our country struggles with--should we adjust everything to account for the overweight majority or refuse to adapt in hopes it will motivate the overweight to change?

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  5. I am on the other end of the scale. 5'1 & 1/2". I weigh 114 right now. There is no way I can get any pants at chain stores. I shop with my 13 year old daughter, but I (at 46) should not be wearing clothes that she wears.

    I have been in Columbia stores and there is nothing small enough to fit me. I think they started with size 4 or 6. But they are not real sizes at all.

    At The Gap, a 4 short fits me. But I do need more than jeans.

    I am not skinny. I am actually a bit over my personal best.

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