While all clothes shopping can be a stressful experience, jeans seem to be the one that most people really hate. So that being said, I’ve also got some stuff to say about pants (and why sizes are stupid).
Eating disorders are often fueled by numbers, and pants sizes are no exception. Even in recovery, numbers can be something that people pay too much attention to, which can be triggering.
Like I stated above, jeans are one of those items that can stress people out in the fitting room. Even I’ve had moments where this is tricky, but it’s important to remember that sizes are arbitrary.
A few months back I went to the mall with my mom one day and knew I needed to buy a pair of jeans. I ended up heading into the Gap and I literally just grabbed some jeans in a range that I figured would fit me (these specific jeans were in European sizes) and headed into the dressing room.
I tried on a few pairs, picked the ones that fit, and bought them. I personally liked the fact that these jeans were in European sizes because that pretty much means nothing to me and was just a random number thrown on the sticker. I basically shrugged and said “okay, sure, whatever that means.”
The jeans were super comfy, super stretchy, and super soft. Basically everything you could ever want in a pair of pants. I was super happy with them, and I told my dietitian about how they were so great and my favorite pair and she looked at me like I was crazy and said “why the heck did you only buy one pair?”
So that was my goal a few weeks ago: get my butt back to the Gap and buy another pair of jeans.
This time, however, things went a little different. I went with Logan to a Gap Factory not far from our apartment, and the selection of jeans they had wasn’t as expansive as the first store I went to. Also, this store had the sizes listed in US sizes AND EU sizes, so I found out what size I was currently wearing.
The size I was wearing was higher than I expected, and while I felt that little pang of judgement in my head, I was able to be pretty rational in the sense that I can fit into ten different sizes at ten different stores.
When people get stressed out about the size they wear, I like to remind them that while men’s sizes are based off of their actual measurements (inseam, waist, chest radius, etc), women’s sizes are based off of nothing.
Yes, you heard right. When women’s clothes were first mass produced, they said “let’s throw these numbers on here and call it a day.” That’s why now when we go to one store, we’re a different size than we are in a different store: because sizes actually mean nothing.
I tried on the two pairs of pants that I had grabbed from the shelves and they both fit. I decided to go with the size that felt comfiest–which mind you, was a different size than the jeans I was wearing that day.
When I walked out of the dressing room I said to Logan: “So, this pair that I currently own is size X. I just tried on a size Y and size Z…and they were all pretty comfy.”
I tried on three different sizes at one store and they all fit me. So, to me, this means that while the number on the pants might seem really different, they’re not that different if they all fit my body.
Having this experience made me realize even more so how arbitrary sizing really is. I’m trying to think of sizes right now as something that will tell me what is going to be comfiest for me. Looking at the number on pants should tell us “hey, these pants will probably fit,” or “hey, these pants might not fit.”
The point of shopping for clothes is to find stuff that we feel good in. I’d rather wear a larger size and be comfy than squeeze into a smaller size and have a miserable day.
I had ANOTHER weird experience with sizes recently when I went to buy my bridesmaid dress for a friend’s wedding happening later this year. I went over the summer with the other bridesmaids and tried on the two sizes that normally fit me. The woman at David’s Bridal told us that their sizes run rather small so we might want to go up a size.
I tried on a few dresses and she was right, I needed a bigger size. I wasn’t too bothered by it, but it was one of those things my ED tried to file away for a later time. You know, one of those “I can handle this right now but if shit ever hits the fan I know this will pop into my head.”
I talked about another comment that was made to me on this day in this blog, and looking back now, this comment is a lot less painful. It’s actually just kind of stupid, rude, but something I can roll my eyes at and ignore.
ANYWAY. I went back recently to buy the dress, and I decided to try on some other sizes. I needed a bigger size than last time, and while I could look at that as a sign that I’ve gained weight and need to restrict, I looked at it as “okay, this is what is comfiest for me right now.”
So my point here is that in the last month, I’ve fit into 5 different sizes in only two different stores. At one store I fit into an X, Y, and a Z, but at David’s Bridal I also fit into X, Y, Z and then A and B as well. What the heck?!
Some sizes fit better than others, but seeing first hand how *crazy* sizing is for women, I can’t help but laugh. This really shows me how meaningless sizes are.
And the same goes for bras, and pants, and dresses, and shirts. There’s nothing worse than putting on a piece of clothing and feeling so uncomfortable, so one of my new goals is to continue wearing sizes that FIT, regardless of the number and regardless of the moralization of the size.
After all, it’s pretty clear that they don’t mean much.