Size Labels on Clothes Make Me Feel Fat & Unattractive

Rant 11

clothing racksLike most women in the general population, I L-O-V-E to shop, and I really love to shop for new clothes. There's nothing quite as satisfying as finding a few classic pieces to add to your wardrobe that make you look and feel like a million bucks.

But as much as I love to hit up my favorite stores in the hopes of picking up some cute new duds, I often find myself entering the store feeling hopeful and excited, but leaving feeling like something just one notch above complete sh&%.

And yes, I know exactly why -- it's because I'm all caught up in what the size label on whatever I'm trying on says and whether it's "telling" me that I'm fat and unattractive or not. Because if that number is anything bigger than the "cutoff" number I have designated in my head as to what is acceptable for me -- I won't buy the outfit, no matter how well it fits or how great it looks.

(Go ahead and call me shallow and/or vain -- I don't care.)

Yes, I know I should stop focusing on that stupid little number, which is completely hidden from anyone's view but my own, but somehow I just can't. Because even if no one else knows I'm wearing something that's a size or two bigger than I wore last year at this same time -- I know that it's a size or two bigger, and all that number does is REMIND me even further that I'm a size or two bigger, which makes me want to sit in a dark room alone and cry (with or without a pint of ice cream to console myself). I mean, in my head I know that sexy is not a number, but in my perception of myself, it kind of is.

God only knows how many perfectly cute outfits I have refused to buy because they weren't the size I wanted them to be. Come to think of it, I've also purchased plenty of slightly hideous pieces that don't look good simply because they happen to be a smaller size that I never dreamed of squeezing into.

Um, doesn't that sound kind of insane? I think it's time to stop the madness, people. But I'm afraid the only way I'm ever going to get past these damn sizing labels is if retailers ditch the numbers altogether.

Why can't they simply name the clothes instead of numbering them?

I'm no marketing professional, but as a woman, I can't help but think that we'd all be more inclined to buy clothes that look and feel good if the label offered us a bit of an ego boost -- regardless of size.

Wait -- hear me out -- because I don't think this is all that crazy.

Instead of 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and so on and so forth, why not start with Beautiful, and then move on to things like Sexy, Intelligent, Gorgeous, Remarkable, Amazing, Strong, Spirited, Attractive, (insert any other complimentary term here)?

Wouldn't you rather swap a Gorgeous for an Amazing than xyz size for a larger xyz size?

I sure would. And I really think I might be on to something here. (Note: If this really does happen, it was MY idea.)

Do sizes deter you from buying clothes?


Image via Kimco Realty/Flickr

clothes, shopping


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nonmember avatar Cass

I have the same feelings about size labels. It's my fault for eating so much and I certainly don't expect the world to change for my insecurities.

CPN322 CPN322

This is interesting to me because over the past couple years I have noticed stores assigning smaller sizes to large cloths(I assume to appease women and some men). All stores size their clothing differently, so you might wear a small in one store but at the same time need a medium at another store. This is not an attack on you, Mary, but I do think you should speak with someone about how you are feeling. The only friend of mine that I have ever known to obsess over the size of a piece of clothing to the extent that you are(not buying a piece of clothing that fits perfectly just because of the tag on the inside) had an eating disorder at one point in her life and is extremely OCD. Not at all saying that you do/have(you appear naturally thin in your picture) I'm just saying that her thought process wasn't healthy and it doesn't seem like yours is either.

Vegeta Vegeta

I think woman's sizes should be like men's sizes, the actual measurements instead of 2 00 14. I know when I buy my work pants I'm a 34/30, but I have no idea when it comes to women's pants (and I HATE trying things on) I have pants that fit me the same in size 5p 8 10 11 12 13 15... Just make a uniform size system.

purpl... purpleflower514

Maybe you should become comfortable in your own skin and then the size won't matter.

jkp-buff jkp-buff

CPN322 is right: stores are assigning smaller sizes to clothes. I hardly ever buy clothes. My size hasn't changed and I have a wide selection of quality classic pieces for both business and casual, so many of my clothes are the same as I had in high school and college 20 years ago. They're all size 10 or 12.

One dating site I tried, I didn't want to post a pic before exchanging messages, so I described myself, including that I was a size 10 or 12. One guy actually messaged me calling me fat (having never seen me, just by the size 10 or 12)!

But I had to replace some clothes that had worn out, and when I tried clothes on... I was a size 6! When I went home, I laid those size 6 pants over my older size 10 or 12 pants, and they were exactly the same size.

nonmember avatar April

I just wish they would make the sizes UNIFORM!!! I can wear a large in one store's shirts, a medium in another and sometimes, in another brand, I can't even fit into an extra large! I wish they would do inches in the legs as well, with pants. I never felt short until I started wearing women's jeans. I'm 5'7 and some jeans are 6 inches too long. In a size "regular". Why do all of them have to be sized differently?

Maggie Kolb

The only problem with your sizing idea is that I am Beautiful,  Sexy, Intelligent, Gorgeous, Remarkable, Amazing, Strong, Spirited, Attractive but all in one size. Because that's how awesome I am.

That's how awesome we all are.  i agree with just making it factual numbers. Waist measurement, and inseam would be ay easier.

Felly... FellyScarlett

Are you kidding me? I'm with purpleflower, you need to get comfortable the way you are or make changes to yourself. You can't expect the whole sizing system to be changed because it makes you feel fat. That's insane.

annis... annismom10

Actually, a special k commercial already went with a similar concept. Had jeans with similar labels. But it's a cute idea

Karma Grant

That's great. Until someone decides they aren't "sexy" (one of your names for a size) because they don't fit into size "sexy".

I do understand your point though as I do it too minus buying something not so flattering just because it's the right number. I am working on myself to try to get back to that number but must remember a few things. 1) size varies not just between designers but even by the same brand. 2) I've battled BDD for as long as I can remember and the number on the tag just makes that even worse. 3) Metabolic changes can wreak havoc on your "size".

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