Wednesday, 16 November 2011
What's in dress size?
I popped into HandM the other day to buy some socks for my son when I spotted this funky looking mini skirt. Having been quite frugal in the clothes shopping department for a while now, I thought I'd treat myself and invest a whopping £19.99. I grabbed a size 12 and ran into the changing room just to make sure.
I unzipped the skirt, wrapped it around my waist and then burst out laughing when I realised that I would have needed at least another 6 inches of material to be able to close the zip. The skirt was so teeny that I probably would have been just about able to squeeze myself into a size 16. Seeing as I was in a rush, and in all honesty don't really need a faux leather mini skirt, I left it in the changing room and hurried back out to pay for the socks and go home.
In the car on the way home it struck me that this experience, which I find quite amusing today would have been anything but just a few years ago. If the same thing had happened to me back then I would have been completely devastated. It wouldn't have occurred to me to question HandM and wonder if maybe they'd made a mistake with that particular skirt or had just gone completely nuts with their sizing in general. I would have assumed, against all logic, that I had managed to put on 2 dress sizes literally overnight. I would immediately have gone into a spiral of self criticism and disgust for being so 'fat'. I would have reached straight for the diet books, vowing to myself to eat less and lose weight, chastising myself for being so out of control, hating my body. I would have been down in the dumps, irritable, my confidence crushed. And of course, I would have had a mega binge to shut out the horror of being so horribly huge.
And then I thought about all the women to whom this happens every day, about all those young girls out there who shop in places like HandM and allow themselves to be defined by the little numbers on the label. Women and girls who truly believe they are unaccetable: too big, too fat.
I don't think that HandM made a mistake with the skirt, I think that their sizing is just plain crazy and that many women buy a size 16 skirt and then compare themselves miserably to the size zero "celebs" and models parading on television and pasted across the billboards.
Ooooh, I can feel a letter to the people at HandM coming on. Watch this space