Woman trying to close jeans button with difficult from fat

The other day I asked my Facebook friends if (clothing) size matters.

I asked them because I had just had an awful incident involving a skirt.

It was full and floral. A little bit retro, too. And just the thing I needed in my wardrobe.

And while the store didn’t carry the skirt in my regular missy size — which is extra large, though sometimes after a carb free week, a generous large will do — it did have larger sizes  1x-3x on the rack.

Which meant the skirt was sure to fit.

Except it didn’t and I was horrified.

The clerk told me the skirt is sized oddly, which made me feel a little better because that meant I was not at fault for its failure to fit.

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But I also started wondering: If one of the larger sizes had fit — say a 2X or 3X —  would I have even bought the skirt?

I know that size is just a number, at least I know that intellectually speaking.

But at the same time, society, reinforced by the fashion and advertising industries, tells us that the most valued women are thin. The message is so loud and clear that for some of us, buying a piece of clothing in a larger size feels simply awful; in some cases, it even plays with our sense of self worth.

I asked my friends on Facebook what they’d do: if they’d rather wear something tight than go up a size.

Here’s the way that conversation went:

Debora: Definitely go up a size.
Lona:  Yeah, you can always snip out the incriminating label!
Rachel (who happens to own a women’s clothing store): There’s a difference between form-fitting and the wrong size.
Lisa: Go up a size. Tight clothes make you look fatter.
Rachel: Form-fitting can be more slimming if done right. I’ve seen many women wear very flowy pieces that make them look larger.
Margaret: SOOOOO true!!! I used to wear flowy, boxy clothes …  But what I was doing with that approach was losing my tight waist. I own my curves now and find that it is a MUCH more flattering strategy.
Nancy P:  Up a size… My “women of a certain age” figure looks much better with some camouflage.
Julie Ann: Depends on the fabric and silhouette.
Sally: Up a size. But like Julie Ann said, it depends on the fabric and silhouette. A sweater shouldn’t be baggy unless it was intended to be worn baggy. I think the biggest thing is to flatter your figure whether or not you’re thin. A size too big makes heavy people (like me) look even heavier.
K: No option #3, such as lose a few pounds?
Jamila Wear clothing that fits, no matter the size.
Lona: Besides, sizing of clothes has no universal standard. It’s all relative!
Mark: You should wear clothes that fit. Period. That is the single most important thing you can do to look good in what you wear. …  If you need to have clothes tailored to properly fit, then you should have clothes tailored. If money is an issue — and when is money not an issue for everyone? — then start figuring tailoring costs into your pre-purchasing budget .
Elio:  Definitely stop eating so I don’t have to go up a size. I want to be buried wearing 30w pants, as I do now. Well, maybe 31w  but if I’m wearing 32w don’t come to the funeral.
Becca: You don’t mean that about the funeral 🙁
Elio:  I’m joking, as I usually do.
Lori: You’re asking a woman currently stuffed into a pair of jeans like a pork sausage.
Becca: Up a size. Comfort matters. Plus it looks better loose than tight.
Jessica: Look like a stuffed sausage or ignore the number and have a good fit? Hum…. good fit
Tina: Up two sizes. As Lincoln said (kind of): Better to go up a size and be thought fat than to wear tight clothes and remove all doubt.
Rachel: Most women here are saying to go up a size, but my evidence says we do otherwise on average. I hate to say this, but my stock room is a graveyard of busted dress zippers because many women would rather break a zipper than ask for ask for a more appropriate size. Our egos are fragile, and thinness has been prized in our society for so long that we are intimidated by a number on a label. Not to mention, manufacturers play with our feelings by cutting proportions too small for the average body.
Georgea (me): I agree 100%
Chrissy: … the people saying they’d rather go a size up are lying to us and themselves! No way. They will try another brand in their size that fits better.

Now, after all of this I’ve decided a few things. I’ve decided that my Facebook friends are funny and clever and unwilling to tie their self worth to the size of their clothing.

Still, I think many, many women — including, sometimes, myself — are not comfortable going up a size or two or three. And I grew up with a mom whose shopping motto was: better too big than too small.

I see women every day who are sacrificing zippers and seams and, in some cases, I’m quite convinced, their circulation, by wearing clothing so tight it’s practically a tourniquet.

Now, how about you?

What would you do — buy something too tight or go up a size?


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