Saturday, August 23, 2008

Does Size Matter?

You don't know how many times I've been asked "Girl, what size you trying to get down to?" Since I started working out and dropping sizes everyone wants to know what size I will stop at. It has become clear to me that women are obsessed with sizes. I admit that I measure my weight loss around my size, so I guess I'm obsessed too. I'm too lazy to measure my inches regularly and and the scale and I, have a love-hate relationship. So, I measure my success by how many sizes I've gone down. It's quite unfortunate because sizes are extremely arbitrary.
They are numbers chosen by clothing companies to make women feel good about themselves and keep them shopping. In addition women's sizes are forever changing. I witnessed it first hand when Express changed their sizing when I was in high school.

In high school I bought all my jeans from Express , so I was shocked when I walked into the store and saw that they no longer had my size. I asked the sales woman what happened and she informed that a 14 was now a 12 and that I should try on the 12. She was right I could fit the size 12. At the time I couldn't understand why Express would do change their sizes like that. It seemed that Express did this to make women feel like that were a size smaller. This is really strategic on the part of clothing companies because it is less motivating to go shopping when you feel unhappy with your size.

I recently read that Lane Byrant resized their jeans as well. Their Right Fit jeans come in 2-8 . In this new line the jeans are supposed to fit based on your body type ( moderately curvy, curvy or straight), they claim the number is not important. You're just supposed find the perfect jean for your body type. I must admit this quite innovative for Lane Byrant, I like the idea of being able to find jeans in your body type. Sizes are so arbitrary anyway, they vary by clothing companies.

You have to wonder how the changes that Express and Lane Byrant made impact women psychologically. Some may argue that these changes cause women to become complacent at unhealthy weights. In her article Tiny is the Black Ashton Lattimore argues:

"Rather than attacking the root of the problems for women who feel overweight, and encouraging them to adopt more healthy lifestyles to take more control of their self-image, vanity sizing panders to their insecurities. For women who are truly overweight, allowing them to believe that they’re smaller than they actually are might seem like a benevolent, “feel-good” practice on the part of clothing companies. Instead, it places undue emphasis on the number on the clothing tag rather than the vitality and self-esteem of the woman wearing the clothes. "

I believe that is possible that vanity sizing (enlarging the size and keeping the tag the same) may have some negative affects on woman but because there is so much pressure to be thin society women will not be completely disillusioned.

Knowing that sizes are so arbitrary I am trying to ignore the societal pressures and focus on getting in my healthy weight range. That's kind of complicated too because it depends on your frame size. Click here to figure out how to calculate your healthy weight and frame size. I hope to find my perfect size (i know it's never perfect) based on what weight I feel most comfortable at.

Interested in more informtion about vanity sizing click here.


Share Your thoughts

Do you Measure Your weight loss success by sizes?

What do you think about the Changes Express and Lane Byrant Made?

Don't forget about S.O.S. look for more tips and info to come this week!!!


ul2mate_ivy said...

I admit that I was once obsessed with size. When I was on the border line between a 9 and 10 I would only buy size 9 clothes. It did not matter how cute the outfit was, if I could not fit the size 9 then I did not want it. I've out grown that mentality now (and that size coincidentally.)

Jacqueline said...

Like Ivy, I've outgrown "size" issues. If it fits well and accentuates my positives, then I'm happy. :-)

PBW said...

I'm a size 8 (down from a 16) and I cut the size tag out of my clothes. I want to buy and wear things because they look great on me, not because of a number. For some reason, cutting out the tags helps me do that.

Anonymous said...

I don't get obsessed with store sizes or scale weight too much at all. Like you said, every store is different and then the sizes vary on fabric. I might wear a 6 in Express jeans if they have spandex for stretch. If they are straight denim - not happening! I worry more about my body fat because I think that is a truer reflection of health and fitness than anything else.

Fitness Goddess said...

Thanks for the feedback ladies!

As I mentioned I'm getting out of the size obsession myself.

PBW, congrats on the weight loss. I like the ides of cutting out that tags, great advice!

luvlylayd said...

hmm, i didn't know companies did that. guess ya learn something new everyday. it's a shame though.

though i did know about how sizes range in different stores. some "run large" and others "run small."

Anonymous said...

I will admit that I'm obsessed with my size. Through college I've only gone up two sizes, but I feel so disproportionate. Its like I'm short, and I don't think my body can "handle" the 30 lbs I've gained. I know for a fact I won't be satisfied until I drop at least one size. However, I've been more comfortable in my skin lately because I've learned how to dress better. Finding clothes that fit properly is definitely the key. The clothes in my closest range from S-XL and 5-13 LOL!


cherrineb said...

I do not have a problem with being overweight but being underweight. I have realized that size is a state of mind.

Fitness bench said...

Oooh, you’re such an inspiration. I love this blog!