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I remember living in San Francisco when I was 20 years old. It was sometime in January, but for an East Coast girl like me, it felt like springtime. I had only been in SF for a few weeks and I decided I’d celebrate my first paycheck by slinking over to Urban Outfitters and picking myself up a pair of jeans.
I picked up a pair in my usual size and I don’t even remember what brand it was, but I guess it’s because it really doesn’t matter. I grabbed a few shirts to try on, too, and merrily made my way over into a dressing room. I was so excited to try them on that I immediately threw all my clothes off and began the oh-so-lovely process of fitting a pair of new jeans onto my body.
I pulled and shifted, shifted and pulled until I realized there wasn’t no way and no how these bitches were getting anywhere past my thighs. Awkward. OK, so granted I had gained a little weight that year; there was still no reason for these jeans to be that damn small. I peeked out of my dressing stall and asked one of the staff to please pick me up a size larger because I was in my underwear.
When I received my one size larger jeans, I went at it again. Shifted, pulled, pulled, shifted. Nope. I asked for yet another size up. She came back with a larger size and another even larger size. Cut to me crying on the floor of the Urban Outfitters dressing room because even the extra pair she brought fit me like a sausage casing, the butt of the jeans squishing my cheeks into what resembled a generous cleavage. It was seriously one of the worst nights of my life.
But I wasn’t crying because I may or may not have gained weight. I was weighing myself pretty regularly back then and knew how much I weighed at any given moment. I was crying because I couldn’t bring myself to even utter the size number on those jeans. The mere thought of having to buy clothes in that particular size made me cringe.
For years after that, if a piece of clothing didn’t fit me in the size I wanted to be, I wouldn’t buy it no matter how much I liked it and how great it would look on me if I just tried on in a larger size. Nope. Not doing it.
Now, I’m not sure what really changed. Maybe it’s the older I get, the less fucks I have to give, but I’ve completely stopped giving a shit about “size” and, consequently, much happier with the way I look. Who cares about the size when it’s the fit that matters, anyway? And let’s not forget that size varies by brand anyway, so whatever that number says, really doesn’t mean dick. Why was I letting it define me for so long?
I have friends who share my “size” but our bodies are so different that sharing clothes does not always work. It’s not like shoes. I’m built small, but I’m very curvy and certain clothes do not fit me the same way as they would my differently shaped friends, even if we do wear the same size.
If a piece of clothing looks flattering on you, who cares if it’s a size 2 or a size 12? If it looks good, wear it.
And besides, you can always get it tailored (which I know could be expensive but so totally worth it). Fuck it. Fuck a size.
I haven’t really fluctuated much in weight since I lost that 15 lbs I gained sophomore year, but my closet boasts articles of clothing sized anywhere from a size 2 to a size 8. I think what has helped me the most is accepting my body for what it is. This is what it looks like and there’s only so much I can do with it.
Yes, I’m small, but I’ll never be a size zero. My hips are wide. My waist is high and I have a really short torso. But this is the body I was born with and everyone can deal with it. I also accepted that no matter how much I may admire a style, I can’t make it work for me if it wasn’t created for my body type. I think accepting this sooner than later will do wonders for your quality of life.
I love 1960s mod style, but on me, those dresses will always look like potato sacks that bunch up in the middle. Other fits that look like shit on me include: boyfriend cut jeans, totally boho chic dresses that look like this, baby doll dresses, anything without a cinched waist, and anything with large bold patterns because I’m loud enough as it is. You just got to let some things go, ya know?
On the flip side, I know exactly what’s going to look good on me. Denim brands like Lucky Brand and Diesel leave room for some butt and fit mine just fine. alice + olivia know exactly how to design for a smaller waist. Structured dresses are my friends. I’m also really into either super skinny cut jeans or flares the size of bell-bottoms -– but nothing in between.
Don’t get me wrong, I still look at the size, but now it’s so I know how a brand’s sizing fits my body so that I know what to put down when I shop for that brand online. Other than that, like my weight, I don’t really put that much value in a number that essentially doesn’t mean much.
Are you size-obsessed? Have you ever cried in a fitting room? Let’s get some tissues and talk it out.