Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shifting Sizes

I recently have had the opportunity to do a little clothes and shoe shopping. I had heard that some clothing makers have started to make women’s clothing larger, so that women can wear a smaller size than they ‘really’ are (at least according to the old sizes). I find this fascinating and a little frustrating. I’m not necessarily a stable size, so it isn’t that big of a deal to me. I always have to try everything on anyway. Although, I must admit, it is confusing if you don’t have a clue where to start.

The real shock came, however, when I went to try on shoes. I was looking for some new fall boots. I was a size 7.5 for most of my teenage and adult life. About 3 years ago I slipped over the line into an 8. I haven’t bought a 7.5 in about 2 years. I always start trying on shoes at size 8 and usually that’s what I end up with. Very predictable. Having a consistent size, makes shoe buying so much easier than clothes shopping!

So imagine my surprise when I tried on the size 8 boots from six different designers and found them enormously large. I felt a little silly, but asked my salesperson to bring me 7.5s in the 6 styles I had selected. He brought them. They were still far too big!! I was really, really confused. I ended up buying size 7 boots! I haven’t been a size 7 since I was about 14 years old. What the heck is going on?

The salesperson told me that he’d heard that shoe designers were following the clothing designers in trying to boost women’s feelings about themselves by making the shoes bigger so that women can buy smaller sizes.

OK. It’s gone too far! What is up with that? Are we really so attached to sizes in clothing and shoes that we need to manipulate them to influence our moods and even our self esteem? I’m sad to say, as a recovered bulimic, that I know how seriously we can become addicted to numbers on the scale or the clothing tag. A sad commentary on how easily we get off track when assessing our value as women and as human beings. There was a time in my life when the number on the scale determined my entire day’s mood. I’m not alone in having an unhealthy, obsessive relationship to physical aspects of ourselves. Its fine to care about our appearance, but it is very sad when how we look, or what size we wear becomes so important that we do dangerous or manipulative things to achieve our desired outcome.

We need a serious reality check about where our self esteem comes from. In this era of teenage girls wanting plastic surgery, Botox and breast implants, something has gone terribly wrong. This latest ‘trend’ in shifting sizes is yet another indicator that we are off track in assessing our self esteem and our value as human beings. We are creating an ever ‘sicker’ society obsessed with external beauty and not nearly concerned enough about the beauty and depth of the inner self and soul.

On top of all that, it took me a lot longer to buy my boots that day, because I had to go through two sizes that I’ve worn for 30 years to find that my feet have shrunk to my 14 year old shoe size! It’s annoying!

I proudly claim my size 8 feet! I am not feeling better because I wear a size 7 in my new boots. I think it’s silly!

Let’s be real and focus on the things in life that matter. Clothing size and shoe size should be waaaay down on that list!

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