Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

Are you obsessed with the sizes of your clothing? Do you refuse to buy an item if it is a larger size than you normally wear? A recent article on the Weight Watchers website (posted by a fellow member of the “Let’s Fashion Talk” forum) describes this phenomenon. Many women have a specific size in mind when shopping for clothing, and they are extremely hesitant to buy anything larger than that “magic” size.

Some highlights of the article include:

* There is no standard sizing convention among women’s clothing manufacturers. Often, the more high-end the designer, the smaller the size. Even within a single brand, there are disparities.
* “Vanity sizing,” in which measurements run larger than standard, is used by the majority of manufacturers today. One exception is the dress-pattern market, in which the measurements for the McCall’s size 8 correspond to the current 0 or 00 on the Banana Republic website!
* Vanity sizing is driven entirely by marketing psychology. Women like to fit into a smaller size and single digits sound better than double digits.
* The average American woman is 5’4.5” and wears a size 12 top and a size 14 bottom.
* The dream size for most women on the Weight Watchers plan hovers between an 8 and a 10.

I love clothes… and I hate clothes. Whether I love or hate clothes at any given point in time is very closely aligned with my body image.

If I’m feeling okay (I almost wrote “good,” but sadly “okay” is about as good as it gets for me…) about my body, I embrace the clothes in my closet and the process of shopping for new clothes. Conversely, if I am feeling fat and unattractive, I don’t even want to wear anything besides the workout clothes I wear when working from home each day.
Searching for a Feeling

I have a closet full of clothes, yet I generally only wear a small fraction of them. I have a tendency to be a compulsive shopper (see my post titled “Overspending” in my sister blog, “The Healing Project”) and I’ve come to decipher the reasons why I shop for articles of clothing I don’t even need. I’ve learned that I’m searching more for a feeling than for a pair of pants or a blouse. Subconsciously, I believe that if I can find the “right” pair of pants, I will magically be able to relax and stop hating my thighs so much.