Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fashion by Numbers

I am a size Large. My closet is chock-full of size L clothing. My butt prefers size L pants and my boobs rest most comfortably in size L tops. Yes my New Year Resolution is to travel downwards slowly to a size M. But in the meantime -- and before my neighborhood Goodwill store wonders how it died and went to heaven -- I continue to purchase size L clothing.

So you can imagine my recent surprise when I went to my neighborhood Target and found myself unable to fit into a size L top. It was a top by one of those fancy designers who slum at Tar-jay when not appearing in Vogue. My first thought was that maybe all the roti and curry I had eaten during my daughter's recent visit had finally caught up with me. So I tried on an XL in the same line. It got past my head but the girls refused to let it go lower. In the end I purchased an XXL.

But to my surprise, when I got it home, it turned out to be no bigger than the other size L clothing in my wardrobe. On the contrary, it was actually a shade smaller. In other words, this Manhattan designer's size XXL was the regular world's size L. No doubt his L may actually be an S in the real world!

All of which made me flash immediately to Jennifer Love Hewitt who recently caused a stir on the internet when she was photographed wearing a black bikini while on vacation with her fiance. Where I come from, with a body like that, Ms. Love would have attracted compliments like "banging". Instead she found herself ridiculed as "fat". That was bad enough. What to me was ten times worse was when she defended herself by claiming to be a size 2.

I am not saying that Ms. Love might not be in possession of a collection of size 2 clothing. Like most women I know, she probably owns clothing ranging from size 2 to __ [insert upper limit here]. I felt that she should simply have said something along the lines of "I am a normal woman with a normal woman's dimensions". Instead she claimed to be a size 2.

Which all brings to mind the host of criticisms that have been repeatedly leveled against the fashion industry for its continued use of size zero models, and its implicit endorsement of size zero as the ideal weight. Recently  the British Fashion Council faced criticism for not having implemented adequate measures against the toxic ideals created by this industry. No doubt next month's fashion show will continue to feature size zero models stalking [and sometimes falling off] the catwalk. And perhaps the token plus-sized model on each season of Tyra Bank's ANTM will continue to shrink before our very eyes. I wonder if this past season's token left the show a size 2?

Please don't misunderstand me. I am as fond of finding past season marked-down fashion bargains as the next person. And, come December, I look forward to donating all of my size L's to Goodwill and replacing them with size M's from Macys. 

But we as consumers need to not buy into the more deleterious aspects of this industry -- you know, like the bingeing and purging that often accompany the relentless pursuit of a size zero. Or claiming to be a size 2 when our butts publicly declare otherwise. 


MK said...

nice blog. look forward to your future pieces!

miko said...

lol... this was a good one! she ain't no size 2