Size is Just a Number

I’m back!!!  No I didn’t fall into a black hole, run away and join a cult or go into hiding in a witness protection scheme!  I just decided to take a bit of time out over the school holidays as juggling 3 children, studying and blogging was stretching me a bit thin and as I couldn’t take some time off from motherhood I decided to take some time off from blogging so I could focus on my girls and my study (plus had no time for shopping, sorry I mean ‘researching’, let alone writing – the sacrifices us mothers have to make).  But now we are settled back into the school routine and the little ankle biter has started nursery I finally have one full day a week (yes one whole day school day – wahoo!) all to myself so I’m back in the blogosphere. 
Finally with a bit of free time on my hands I decided there was only one thing for it and that was to head into town and have a little nosey at what was going on in new season fashion.  I will of course share with you some of my faves from the new season stock arriving in stores but I wanted to return to my blog by firstly talking about what I think is often one of the biggest issues for many of us and that is sizing.

Having been a happy size 8 pre baby number 3, I am now accepting that I am a size 10 and probably won’t see my size 8 days again despite being back at my pre-baby weight.  My rib cage seems to have expanded a little more and my little mum tum seems more determined to stay put, just one of the many joys of child-bearing.  So when I had a hen weekend a couple of weeks ago I did a panic shop online at one of my favourite online stores ASOS.  I spent at least an hour carefully selecting a range of different items from different brands and felt so excited when the delivery arrived thinking that I would be going away with a case full of new clothes.  Sadly that was just a dream.  When I started trying the clothes on I became confused and quickly disheartened.  The outcome was that two size 8 skirts were too small, one size 10 dress was too tight, a size 10 top swamped me and the rest was just generally ill-fitting on me.  So the whole lot went back.  I miraculously found enough clothes in my wardrobe to see me through the weekend (ok so turned out I didn’t actually need anything new anyway once I rummaged in my wardrobe – oops).  

After this very unsuccessful online shopping experience I decided there was only one thing that could restore my shopping spirit and I decided to hit the highstreet.  So there I am, in the first shop like a kid in a sweetshop, drooling over all the lovely new season stock and the gorgeous new autumnal colours.  I headed to the fitting room laden with trousers, dresses, shirts and jumpers in a size 10, feeling excited and optimistic.  So how disappointed was I when I came out of the fitting room completely empty handed?  Gutted!  Now I’d like to say it was all too big, in fact it was all hanging off me……..but sadly no.  Well some of it was a bit generous, but there was some of it that was uncomfotably snug…..and some that was downright bursting at the seams.  So I abandoned the shop convinced that this one store had gone off the rails with their sizing and headed to the next store.  Feeling a little more aprehensive I again loaded up and headed for the dreaded fitted room (does anyone else hate the unforgiving light and rear view mirrors in all fitting rooms?).  But shockingly the outcome was the same!  What was going on?  

By shop 3, feeling deflated and ready to start the next fad diet, I decided to go in more prepared.  If I really liked something then I decided to pick it up in at least 2 sizes, sometimes even 3.  Trying everything on twice (or thrice) was a bit more time consuming but a far more productive exercise.  Yes it was a bit disheartening when I was venturing back into some size 12 trousers but a little less disheartening when I was then teaming it with an XS jumper from the same store.  And going into other stores, following the same tact I found the sizes still varied greatly from one item to the next.  But in trying the same item in various sizes I managed to pick up some great new season purchases (which I will share with you soon) that fit really well.  I came home with clothes ranging from size 8 to size 10 and XS to Lg, but who cares, they all fit and I’m ready to head into Autumn.

This whole exercise, though a little exhausting and deflating, just reconfirmed to me the whole notion that the number on the label (and I mean the size not the price) really is irrelevant.  Whilst you can usually make a pretty good judgement on sizing in your favourite stores (you usually know which stores size generously and which ones are aimed more for the non-food lovers amongst us) never be disheartened if your usual size doesn’t fit.  Just try it in another size and concentrate on the fit not the size.  The only person that ever needs to know what size it is is you and if it really bothers you then just cut the label out and it need never bother you again.  If it looks great and fits great then that is all that people will notice.  Has anyone ever said to you ‘hey that looks great on you, what size is it?’  Just something to think about next time you head into that dreaded fitting room.

Kelly xx

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