Friday, May 11, 2007

Size Conspiracy

There is a conspiracy within the apparel industry to encourage women to purchase more clothes based on the false assumption that they fit into a smaller size. I know how big I am now. I also know how big I was in 1992 when I was 14. They are not the same. So there is no reason why I should fit into the same "size" of clothes as I did when I was 14. I ordered a pair of pants and shorts from JCrew online in the size I normally wear. When I received them, I was disappointed to discover that I could fit another person in my pants. It annoyed me on a couple of levels. First, I was all excited to have a new pair of pants and shorts for summer and now I don't. Second, I have to go to the store to return/exchange them. Third, my confidence in the apparel industry has been shaken and I am less likely to shop at JCrew because their sizes are incorrect (not to mention that the store is completely over-priced. It does not fall into the high fashion category and yet they have high fashion prices. Lame).

I hate shopping, as we all know. But I most definitely hate trying things on. Most of the time I end up exasperated and completely at my wit's end after only a matter of minutes because the clothes are made for people who have no curves or their curves are in strange places or the shirts are cut too low or see through, which means layering and in 85 degree weather with 90% humidity, layering is a death sentence. I admit that at times I am pleasantly surprised to find that the size I picked up is too big and I must go for a smaller size. But then I think to myself, "Self, don't fall for this ploy. You know you aren't a size 4. Your right leg isn't even a size 4." No matter, I have to go with whatever the store says is my "size."

It's actually pretty clever. The American population is getting bigger... and not necessarily in number. We eat too much of the wrong things and don't exercise enough. We don't get enough sleep and we work too hard. So parts of our body start expanding and spreading. Women, and I make a gross generalization here, don't usually like to buy things when they feel they are fat. They know what size they wear and will not wear a size bigger, so if they don't fit into that size, then they walk away. But if it's a smaller size, they are encouraged and want to spend more. So why not make a size 10 a size 8? Doesn't hurt anyone really. It only makes women feel thinner and more beautiful, which means they will spend more money and the fashion industry wins. So why is this a bad thing?

On the surface, it isn't really. Who wouldn't like to find out that they have gone down a pant size, especially since it seems everyone is trying something to lose a few pounds before ______ (fill in the blank)? But in reality, we are just covering up the real problem - We are getting bigger and wider. So rather then encouraging people to be a healthy weight and size, we change the size of their clothes to make them think there is no problem. Certainly, this doesn't affect the girl who is a size 0 or 2, but what about the girl who was a 16 and suddenly she finds she can fit into a 12. The size of our clothes has little to do with our general health, but it has a lot to do with our self-perception.

Is the fashion industry really the culprit or is it more complicated than that? Perhaps MacDonald's is behind it all or maybe Wal-Mart since we seem to blame them for many of our societal ills. Perhaps the big guys at Mickey D's are paying off the fashion industry to change their sizes so as not to discourage people from gorging themselves on trans fats and mutated foodstuffs. I have no idea. I just want to be able to fit into the size I am supposed to without having the place I shop at dictate what size I might be at that particular moment. Grrr... my frustration with shopping continues.


Rachel said...

I thought I was losing my mind! I'm glad to hear that someone else suspects this pant size switcharoo that's been going on.
I love your blogs, nikki. :)

Lindsey said...

I completely agree!! I've always been annoyed by this, although at times it has made me feel better about myself. Who knows why, really. With online shopping so easy now days, it's even more annoying because you're a different size at every store. And who can keep track of all of that? Thanks for your thoughts! I love reading your "musings!!"