Something kind of mind-blowing happened to me the other day. I was folding laundry and I noticed that in one load of my clothes I had a top from Eddie Bauer that was a size Small, a top from Old Navy that was a Medium, a top from H&M that was a Large, and a Fila top that was an XL. That made me very curious, so I went up to my closet to check out some other pieces hanging there. Among the things that fit me today i found a skirt that’s a size 8, shorts that are a size 10, pants that are a size 12, and jeans that are a size 14.
Honestly, I was a little flabbergasted. What an enormous range of sizes that all currently fit one person. Which made me realize that it is utterly ridiculous that we put so much emphasis and power on clothing sizes for which there is clearly no universal standard.
Back in my eating disorder days I remember pining for being able to fit into size 6 jeans. I also remember the day that I fit into them, triumphantly zipped them up…and nothing else changed. The world around me didn’t burst into brilliant technicolor, no woodland animals came bounding up to me to help me get dressed, and the pain and sorrow that I had been feeling didn’t magically disappear as soon as those denim pants were on my body. All that had changed was the number on the tag.
I knew someone who cut the tags out of her clothes as soon as she got them home so that she didn’t have to see the sizes and could therefore get dressed every morning in peace. I also knew several people who shopped exclusively at Chico’s because they do not utilize conventional sizing - they use 1, 2, & 3, which mentally feels a lot more acceptable than being “too high” on the scale from 0-16.
What I realized as I checked my own clothes though, was that it’s all nonsense. Each manufacturer chooses its own sizing range which can vary greatly, even culturally, which I learned when I tried to purchase a dress online that was “Asian sized.” Yes, we need some kind of sizing to use as a guideline as a place to start, but I don’t understand why women’s shirts and pants aren’t presented by measurements the way men’s clothing is. It would be so much easier, physically, mentally, and spiritually, to be able to go into a store and go straight to what we know will fit us scientifically, rather than having to guess and potentially try on 3 different sizes of the same thing.
My point here is, we assign such power to the size of our clothes and the truth is, most of the time it’s completely arbitrary. I’m thinking that it might make more sense for us to realize that the size inside our jeans is just a relatively random number and it has absolutely nothing to do with our self-worth, our inherent value as a person, or our happiness. We can choose to take the power out of that tiny little piece of fabric and put it back where it belongs: in our minds, in our bodies - whatever “size” they are - and in our bright, beautiful, strong, and loving spirits.
If age is just a number, then so is our dress size. And neither one of those matters when we’re choosing the happiest life we can have