Why Do We Get So Hung Up On the Size of Our Clothes?

I’m in my friend’s wedding this Labor Day weekend, and it’s the first time I’ve ever been a bridesmaid! I’m pretty excited, not that the women who work at the bridal shop where we’re getting the bridesmaid dresses would know it. The deadline for us to get our measurements to them is April 12—and I finally made an appointment to come in to get sized up tomorrow, April 10. If you knew me, this would probably surprise you; I’m big on planning things in advance. But here’s the thing: I was hoping to drop a few pounds before getting my measurements taken and having to commit to a dress size. Now, I know this is ridiculous. The size of my dress says absolutely nothing about me as a person, and it’s not as if I was going to magically lose 10 pounds by waiting an extra week. If anything, I probably just stressed my friend (the bride-to-be) out by letting this come down to the wire. But I know I’m not the only one one who’s suffered from a clothing size-related confidence crisis.

We’ve all had those moments when having to go up a size at the department store—or realizing that the jeans sitting in your dresser no longer fit—puts a damper on your entire day. Which is why I loved reading about Alissa Benishai in a recent New York Times article. This anecdote from the story definitely hit close to home:

After nine weeks of Bikram yoga teacher training in 2008, Ms. Benishai returned to Manhattan thinner than she thought she had ever been — a size 4, she said. Yet shopping with her mother for new workout clothes, she got stuck in a size 6 purple-and-black sports bra in Lululemon.

“And the saleswoman is so sweet, like: ‘How can I help you? Do you need a bigger size? Maybe a size 12,’ and she’s dangling it over the door,” said Ms. Benishai, who is, she admitted, “super sensitive” about her weight. She added: “It’s the worst feeling in the world. When something doesn’t fit me, I get upset and frustrated and I throw it on the floor like a toddler.”

Alissa got upset, sure—and then she founded Phat Buddha, a workout apparel company that actually sells one-size-fits-all sports bras, tanks, and leggings. (When I once got mad about a Bloomingdale’s saleswoman who oh-so-bluntly pointed out that my chest wasn’t big enough to fill out a dress, all I did was stomp out of the store like a three-year-old.) Phat Buddha gear only comes in one size, and all of the pieces are super-stretchy, so you can wear them no matter what your frame—without falling into the trap of basing even a small part of your self-worth on whether you’re a small, medium, or large. The company is making serious waves in the active wear industry—so much so that Bloomingdale’s sells the clothes and chic fitness studios across the country put their logos on the gear and then push it to their respective cult followings.

Yes, in an ideal world, we would all be overflowing with so much body confidence that we wouldn’t ever let the size labels on our clothes bring us down. But until we get to that point, I think this is a kind of genius alternative to getting bummed out when nothing at the chic upscale yoga store fits like you want it to. Here are some of my favorite pieces (I think I might treat myself to one after I go in to get my measurements taken tomorrow—because putting on something that makes me feel cute always boosts my mood when I’m in a confidence slump):

8506641_fpxPhat Buddha Greenwich Sports Bra – II, $59

 

8506646_fpxPhat Buddha Lafayette Cut Out Tank, $49

 

8490339_fpxPhat Budda Theater District Leggings, $42

What tricks do you use for a mental pick-me-up when your clothing size has you feeling blah? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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