Women's Clothing: What in the World Has Happened to Women's Sizes?

...It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
--Carl Sagan
In the past few days, I have been shopping for some new shorts; my "fat" shorts are too big, and my "skinny" ones are too small.

I figure I'll, more or less, be my current size for the entire summer, so I decided to buy 2 or 3 pair.


What a production.

Now I must admit: I haven't bought shorts in about 11 years. Thick or thin, I simply dug through That Secret Closet Which Harbors Several Sizes, and, when summer rolled around, I selected the correct shorts, usually in the larger sizes. I pretty much knew which ones to choose.

I thought this would be a straightforward shopping expedition. I had just a few simple criteria for my new shorts:
--My butt and part of my legs/thighs had to be covered. And, PLEASE, no possibility of butt crack...

--I wanted to buy shorts that were slightly snug in the butt and hips (so that I could "slim" into them) but offer an ample waist, which meant an elastic band or a draw string. In proportion to my hips and butt, I'm a bit thick in the middle, so buying slacks or shorts has always been a problem.

--For two pair, I wanted plain blue denim, and dark blue khaki for one pair. No old lady polyester prints for me.

--No low riders (It's that butt crack thing again).
Simple, right?

Lesson 1:
Only large sizes offer elastic bands (as I was helpfully told by a sales clerk at Kohls. "Unfortunately," she said, "We can't help you with that." Okay, I admit it: that was a bit of a thrill to hear.)
Lesson 2:
The clothing industry is delusional and is deluding an entire generation of young women along with it.

When I was in high school--many, many, many moons ago--I was 135-140 pounds and a solid size 13/14, a size 15/16 on a very, very fat day. I didn't like being a size 13/14, but at least it wasn't considered horrendous and I could still find "cute" clothes.

Given the clothing size label deflation between the late 1960's and the year 2000, the last time I weighed 130-140 pounds, I figure that the size-10 shorts tucked away in my Secret Closet will fit sometime next year; at this point I'm fortunate that I can pull them halfway up my thigh. I can get the size 12's pulled up around my butt, but buttoning and zipping are not options.

Just as I expected, so no big deal.

So I thought I had a good starting point. The size 14 (slim) jeans I bought 11 years ago fit, albeit a bit snugly, so I would start with size 14, a very respectable size for a woman of a certain age.

But yesterday as I searched the clothing racks at several stores, the size 14's looked, well, way too large. I attributed it to size distortion, a condition that people seem to get when they begin losing or gaining weight.

Still, I took three different sizes (10, 12, 14) into the dressing room and started with the size 12.

Too big.


I'm 25 pounds heavier than I was when I bought those size 10's 11 years ago.

Long story short: I ended up buying three pairs of size 10 shorts, a la 2011...
Lesson 3:
Hip huggers and Low riders are in right now, which means that you will buy hip huggers or low riders--unless you want to hit the polyester/ seersucker/ flower/ plaid/ colors-not-found-in-nature/ department.

Fortunately, I found some modest hip huggers, and with longer tees, no possibility of butt crack.

However, my new shorts are slightly shorter than I'm accustomed to, but not overly short, so I'm good.

All these compromises.
But the truth is, I am NOT a size 10, no way, no how, but the clothing industry has set out to delude overweight women into thinking that they are size 10's--I'm guessing to sell more clothing.

So, by my calculations, size 0 is really size 4 (GASP!).

If you go back to 1960's sizing, I would be a size 20, and a size 0 would be a size 8!

How crazy is that?

I wish women's sizes were calculated and tagged honestly, like men's: by waist size, inseam, and length. Women would have an additional measurement: breast and chest size.

Shopping would be SO much easier.

Just stop the false vanity! If I tell people that I'm a size 10, they wouldn't believe me anyway.

I don't believe it, either, and I refuse to be deluded about my true size!

Can we please be honest about the way women's clothes are sized?

And, as women, can we please be honest about the size of our bodies?



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