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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