Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Perfect Size

I've dropped Max off at school and am stuck in the usual morning traffic. I cope by playing music really loudly and letting my mind wander across a wide variety of random topics. This morning, the random topic I'm absorbed with is an order from Old Navy that should be at my door any day now.

I've ordered a couple of pairs of shorts, which is really rare for me. I don't really like shorts, haven't found them flattering since I was a kid, but at the same time, summer is too damn hot for pants and jeans, and I'd like an option besides skirts. I decided this year, without really realizing that I was deciding, to give shorts a chance.

The process has been pure agony. I spent a recent Saturday at various stores, trying different styles on. I hated them all. They all accentuated my thighs, which, trust me, don't need any accentuating. The short pairs are ridiculous, but then, so are the Bermuda styles, each one making my body look odd. The only lesson I take from the experience is that anything from a 5 to 7-inch inseam is what will work best.

I decided to order from Old Navy because I already have one black pair that I bought months ago, as an experiment. I've not worn them out anywhere, just tried them on once, when they arrived. I remember thinking they didn't make my thighs look worse, which is a plus, but that they were snug on my butt. Big surprise. Everything is snug on my butt. Overall, they seemed to work well enough, better than anything else I'd tried on.

Size is a big problem for me. Small waist + big ass = nothing ever looks just right (I'm talking about non-junior clothes, as junior bottoms are a hopeless cause now). Mostly, my waist is a 2 and my thighs/butt are like, I don't know, a 20. I mostly go with size 4's, so my thighs/butt can be comfortable, but this means the waist will be big and gap at the back and will require a belt, cinched tight. Like I said, nothing ever fits just right (and these numbers sound real great until I point out that this time last year, I was a size 0/2. I blame love and happiness, and stress.).

And with Old Navy especially, this is an issue. Their bottoms are total hit-or-miss. I have jeans and pants that are sizes 2 and 4, and all fit me pretty much the same, with minor differences. The 2 may be too loose; a 4 will be tight on my thighs but perfect everywhere else. It's always a crapshoot with them. I don't even bother with their bottoms unless the sale is too good to pass up.

My prior history with them means that when I ordered these two new pairs, I found myself debating what size to get. The black pair are a 4, but sitting at my computer (and not getting up to check), I somehow convince myself that they don't really fit that well; that I've gained enough weight to merit a 6, to have breathing room; that with Old Navy, the same pair of bottoms might require a different size when you pick a different color (that's happened, too, same pants, different sizes depending on the color). I decide to go with the 6 to be safe, as too big can be fixed but too small cannot.

So this morning, stuck in traffic, I'm thinking about all this. About shorts and how foolish I think they look; about a little weight gain that's proving a bit hard to shed (it's more than love and stress, it's also a pesky health matter); about how size 4 feels normal and o.k. to me, but size 6 bums me out; about how I hope these size 6's end up being big on me and therefore the only ones I'll own.

And then, I think of this: "a perfect size 6." This line was in every - every - Sweet Valley High book, used to describe the main protagonists, twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. These girls, the archetypal American girls, the kind all the boys want and the girls want to be, were "a perfect size 6." I laugh. That line is seared in my brain and I'm amused that it pops up now that I'm lamenting size 6. (Another day, we'll cover how reading SVH and V.C. Andrews between the ages of 10 and 13 totally warped me.)

I have nothing against 6, but 2 and 4 are the sizes I'm used to (even that zero was odd, a touch too skinny for my build), the ones I've worn for years. It's what works for me. I don't want that to change.

And then, just as a new topic flits across my brain and draws my attention from this one, I realize something else: size 6 is no longer considered perfect. The twins are from a time that almost seems quaint now, the days before stick-thin images as the feminine ideal bombarded us and anorexia became a goal.

Those twins would be considered fat now.

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Posted by Tere @ 5/25/2011   | |


  • Blogger CJ posted at 5/26/2011 11:21 AM  
    You crack me up! V.C. Andrews....oh, those were the days!
  • Anonymous Anonymous posted at 5/29/2011 9:27 AM  
    In the new version of the series, which came out a few months ago, I'm pretty sure they changed that to a "perfect size 4." Weird that you were thinking about it.
  • Blogger Tere posted at 5/29/2011 5:18 PM  
    wtf, are you serious?? I can't believe it!! That's... terrible.
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