2012-02-10

Size Wise

Most of the time I am smart enough to know that my self worth comes, not from the number on the size label inside my pants, but rather, from the number of cats I adopt... However, that doesn't stop me from having an inner celebration when I can button up a size 6 in the fitting room at the Gap. This is despite the fact that I am well aware that the size 6 has nothing to do with my vegetable consumption or my intense (lies...) work-out schedule, and everything to do with the Gap seducing me into buying a pair of pants...
We are not a number and yet, we can so easily be affected by one. I hate that I care... I really do. I mean, I'm too smart to get caught up in that, right?
And there-in lies one more reason to love the thrift store. It's a place where, at best, size labels are a starting point, not an identity. I've written a post about it before, that because clothes in the thrift store come from all over the world, come from different decades and come from a plethora of stores with completely different sizing standards, size labels have little meaning. I am often a size 8 (an Old Navy size 8 or a Zara size 8? Yeah, this can get confusing...), so at the thrift store I, at the very least, check everything on the racks from Small- Large and from size 4-12... Often items don't even have a size marked anywhere and are just thrown with other clothes based on a educated (or not) guess.
Below are examples of thrift store purchases that have not been altered at all. The proof is in the pudding... (I just googled the origin of that saying, it's not as interesting as I would have anticipated). The thrift store is probably the only place where I hardly look at the size and I base my decision to purchase on fit, not on a number printed on a label... I'm glad I have learned to have an open mind to sizing beyond size 8 in the thrift store. Because without an open mind, my closet would be a sad place lacking that red blazer, the black wool dress, the gold lace skirt and that purple long-sleeve dress... And let's keep my closet a happy place...

s4
s6
s8
s10
s12

52 comments :

Adventures in Dressmaking said...

Wow, that's crazy! Yup, you never know what you're gonna get at the thrift store, and it's great to be open to all sizes!

So many good finds!

Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy said...

Great post, and definitely true. One of my favorite dresses in my closet is a petite 4. At 5'9 I'm neither a 4 nor a "petite". Wardrobe magic!

kelsey said...

right on. i love this post and allll those amazing pieces.

Kendi Lea said...

Sadly the best words I can come up with this morning is 'great post!' because it really is such a great post. Also, cute shoes! Follow me on Instagram?

Katie @ krhtoday.wordpress.com said...

This is an amazing post! What a beautiful way to prove a point!!

Katie said...

Excellent proof that SIZE DOESN'T MATTER. Great thrift finds- especially that gold lace skirt! You are beautiful!

Katie- Hems For Her

Terrie Mathison said...

GREAT post!! It is so true!! Love that purple dress! You look great in all of them!!

Stella said...

Hear, hear! I completely understand where you're coming from. Society embeds these beauty standards upon us, that's why we fixate on those numbers. I think it's even more acute when you are overweight. I used to be a lot heavier, so it causes a bit of anxiety and embarrassing emoness when I don't fit in my regular size.

Also, you're a size 8? So am I...*plots attack*

aislin said...

This post is so helpful! Yay!
Also, can I know where you closet is located so I can come 'borrow' that black dress? Yah, Thanks :)

Frannie Pantz said...

Agreed. I have thrifted pieces from a size 2 (NOT my typical size) to a size 10 and it is amazing. As Aaliyah says, size ain't nothing but a number. Wait a minute . . .

Serene McEntyre said...

Jentine, I really love this post! Because it's just so true! I have a plethora of different sizes in my closet; so when I found a vintage suede skirt in a sz 14, I jumped on it and forgot about the number. Hey, if it fits and looks great, what else matters? I'd rather look FABULOUS in a 10 than a sausage in a 6!! LOVED this! ~Serene

Linda said...

Great post, it's hard not to get all worked up about it, but yes it depends on the retailer the country etc etc. It's a bit of a mind game.

Did you do all these pics for one post?!

Chelsi said...

I really want to switch the letters on the mantel around to read 'MJ', like Michael Jackson. Things just pop out at me sometimes :)

Babes in Thriftland said...

I never look at the tag while thrifting because what you are saying is totally true. I'm usually a 10 but I have bought up to a 14 at the thrift store based on fit. I tend to hold things up and guesstimate (yes that's a word) :)

Les said...

I've been stalking errr following you for a bit now and haven't commented before, but I just love this post! I think everyone can agree that buttoning up a smaller size in the dressing room is a happy thing, even if we don't want to admit that we even care about such things. Thanks for giving me another reason to keep thrifting and paying for dry cleaning! Although, I don't do that quite as often anymore thanks to your post on hand washing!! Thanks again :)

Clothes Karma said...

OMG, this. Why some women won't purchase anything outside their narrow size window is beyond me. I'm anywhere between a size 2 (which I am not) to a size 12 (which I am also not.) The clothes in all your photos look like they fit well.

The Suburb Experiment said...

I know it's not really the point, but you look gorgeous in the photos. My closet is like yours, running the gamut of sizes. Because apparently people in the 80s had very small waists.

Jenn
The Suburb Experiment

Merl the craziest of cat ladies said...

FABULOUS darling, simply faaaabulous. seriously such a well written & much needed post. I think your "size rules" can also be applied to new merchandise as well. Each store/brand has different measurements and instead of getting depressed that you don't fit into your "normal" size, instead check out dat ASS (or BUTT if your mom is reading this) in a pair of jeans that fit, regardless of label size.

You can never tell what someone's size is when they are wearing a perfectly fitting garment, but you can DEFINITELY see when it's the wrong size.

Also.. gimme that mantle.

LK said...

Sizing depends a lot on the era the garment is from. I have a few things from the 50s and they often have a size 8-10 tag (I'm a 0-4 US) if they have a tag at all. In things from the 70s I'm a 7-8. You really have to look at the garment itself to decide if its right for you, not the number on the tag. I do that even in regular stores today. A 6 at one store may be the same as a 0 in another. You never know.

Natasha Fatah said...

I totally hear you, size numbers are so meaningless and we attach so much value to them. I'm wearing a size 2 dress today, but truth is I probably would have been more comfortable in a 4 but I didn't want to try it on, and since I'm a size 2 at H&M, I figure a size 2 at another shop would be fine. What a silly mistake, after all these years in retail.

xoxo
www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

amber said...

YES. Thank you. One of my fave thrifted skirts is a petite x-large, neither of which are words I would use to describe myself...

D said...

i hate that i care too. sometimes it stops me from shopping. i feel like a hog when i walk into a zara. i too, do an inner celebration when i button up a six in gap.

Natalya's Closet said...

OMG I love this post!! There is sooo much truth to what you wrote! And it IS so easy to get caught up in size numbers. Thank you for writing about this. You are beautiful inside and out! XOXO, www.NatalyasCloset.com

hannahstiff said...

Thank you for this post. I've been struggling with the numbers game, too. Before having a baby I was a happy six. Now I feel like I'm pushing it to get back to post-baby size when I should just be celebrating having a healthy baby. This post truly made my day. Thanks, lovely lady! XO
4scarlet.com

lazymazei said...

great post and right one the money! while part of me just loves vanity sizing, it is only a short lived love since I am well aware that the "size 4" i fit into at Old Navy and/or Gap are not really accurate.

www.lazymazei.blogspot.com

Twelveblue said...

I think you look beautiful in any size!

megannielsen said...

I am SO glad you posted this!! It really is astounding to me how much range there is in sizes these days - My closet is full of different sized garments, and it blows my mind how inconsistent sizing is across brands. And yet, somehow, i still get excited about the smaller numbers... even though i know they are meaningless. isn't that silly?
Anyway, thanks for this post, so well put :) xoxo

:) Jen said...

Beautiful post.

:) Jen

Lily said...

So true and so right on about the the mental games the apparel world plays on all of us. Do they do the same to men? I must admit I have bought a skirt partly based on the size 2 label. Oh the self loathing....lol. thanks for a great post. Love the last dress. I want it!!!!

Lily said...

So true and so right on about the the mental games the apparel world plays on all of us. Do they do the same to men? I must admit I have bought a skirt partly based on the size 2 label. Oh the self loathing....lol. thanks for a great post. Love the last dress. I want it!!!!

Christen said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who still struggles with not wanting to care but caring anyway. Like you, I find that I care much more in mall-type stores. In thrift or vintage stores, I understand that the sizes have no meaning. One of the many things I love about shopping second-hand!

Katherine said...

Thanks for the wonderful post! I think so many of us get wrapped up in a number that we forget to value how the clothes make us feel when they fit beautifully. I've been so inspired by your blog, and now, I only buy my clothes at the thrift store!

Brenna said...

Spot on! I think stores ban together and change the sizes so women will be excited about a smaller size! Quite annoying. I too love the freedom of thrifting, where sizes don't matter! Thanks for posting!!

Jess said...

So true! I kept your post in mind today when I found a skirt at a thrift store that was a size higher than I usually go. It fits perfectly!

Anonymous said...

I used to get so angry that for Gap clothing I had to try on one size up, e.g., a medium when I normally where a small or even extra small. But now, it's all about how the clothes make me feel, not the size they are. Well said, you!

Terri said...

Ha, all of the sudden I'm telling myself that I'm the same size as Jentine! But, you're right. I find that I even will shop larger women's sizes if I'm after a flowy shape. I don't skip any aisle when I'm thrifting.

Lindsey N. said...

Good for you for being so self-aware! I love all of these pieces and it's great that you were able to look past the number!

XOXO, Lindsey

Veronica said...

Seriously a true story - I just bought this beautiful, vintage, wool pencil skirt. Size 18. Me, normally size 8. Perhaps crazy stalkerish, but my first thought was your other post about sizing. It is impossible to go by the number on the tag at the thrift store.

Chandra said...

I am always telling my friends to not look at the size, but look at how it fits you and is it flattering on you. Great post!

contrary kiwi said...

I'm very pleased that I don't put any stock by size, because at a giant 5'0" and a US size 8, I could feel positively huge compared to the same height but size 00 bloggers I read. Fortunately, I pay attention to fit, not number.

With your clothes, I focus more on how jealous I am that you can opshop all of this amazing stuff and then make it look even more amazing. *pout*

idreamoffrance said...

I loved your photo progression -- so true, sizing is so variable, it shouldn't "mean" anything. Also, I just adore your wallpaper! Looks so right with your fireplace and mantel.

Anonymous said...

You look fabulous in everything that you wear! What a refreshing and honest post.

hannah, heart city said...

yup, love this about thrifting! makes you judge the piece on the actual fit! it's made me better about buying new clothes too. the number sizing is so arbitrary. feeding on womens' insecurities.. ah well, who needs that. all your thirfted outfits look great. love the gold and purple especially.

midwest indie said...

I love that you posted this. I work in retail and being around clothes all the time makes you learn 2 things. 1. Sizes have no real value (I can wear between a 4 and a 12 also) and 2. Sadly women everywhere put far too much value in that little number. It's also given me a Timm Gunn stance on life, what it is I "make it work".

midwest indie said...

I love that you posted this. I work in retail and being around clothes all the time makes you learn 2 things. 1. Sizes have no real value (I can wear between a 4 and a 12 also) and 2. Sadly women everywhere put far too much value in that little number. It's also given me a Timm Gunn stance on life, what it is I "make it work".

Annie said...

This should be published in any magazine any woman could possibly stumble upon. The only numbers that mean anything are cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar (and other numbers depending on the situation, but most definitely not the number on the inside of an article of clothing).

Shug in Boots said...

love love love that wallpaper and those empty frames on your mantle! and the red blazer!

newpetite said...

You are right! Its better not to look at the sizing!Gorgeous collection you have there!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that the legs are back on show! : )

heidikins said...

Yes! This! Thank you! I have items in my closet ranging from size 2 to a size 12 and, frankly, they all fit my neither 2 or 12 size body. It's all so completely relative, and why stay confined to a very limited size 8?

xox

Jennifer said...

I am a different size at every store, I swear, it is so confusing and makes it a lot longer to shop, but at least it doesn't make me dwell on the number too much lol

xo Jennifer

http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks, great post. We grew up with the belief that if you were over Size 10/12, you were a big girl and there was no such thing as a size 0 in those days around here. Actually most of the styling ladies were size 8 or 10. I have stuffed myself in several outfits over the years just because I would not allow myself to purchase over size 12. Thankfully I saw the light a few years ago and have from size 4 to 14 in my closet right now but everything fits great. That is the one fashion lesson I have tried to teach my 18 year old daughter....Don't go by tag sizes, go by how it feels on you. Whenever we go shopping, she takes 3 different sizes in with her and goes with what looks and feels best.