I’ve done a lot of things in my life where I’m not quite sure if it has made me happy. There’s the 2-hour makeup and hair routine I once deemed necessary, the mindless social scrolling: on my commute, after dinner, before bed, whilst in bed and again in the morning. Plus, the over fixation to stick to a dress size. I gave up weighing myself years ago when my scales kept running back-and-forth. But dress size, there’s no escaping.
Most of us don’t know our true fit
Vanity sizing (defined by Oxford dictionary as “assigning smaller sizes to articles of manufactured clothes… to encourage sales”) means most of us fluctuate between numbers. We can go up or down based on where we shop. The idea being, if we put on a garment that’s smaller than our usual number, our confidence will boost and we’ll gallop to the tills.
The body confidence movement has encouraged many of us to ditch our body goals, and I’m glad to see IG captions talking about starting 2020 with no weight loss resolutions or dieting plans. Focus resides over health and wellbeing. I haven’t given myself any physical aspirations this year either. Maybe just one: A more flexible right shoulder that no longer requires physio.
During the summer before college at 16, I piled on weight around my lower body (I’m a classic pear) and had to buy new clothes. This weight gain began to drop around 2017. My sister became two to three sizes smaller than me. Her wardrobe filled with clothes I use to beg to wear suddenly stopped fitting. We once bought a suit outfit together from Topshop; the skirt couldn’t reach past my thighs. I was in denial and took time to accept my changing dress size.
The widening gap between supermodels and average women
A recent study has discovered the average woman’s dress size is increasing as models’ figures are shrinking. Since the mid-nineties, Victoria Secret models have continually got thinner. Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum’s natural curves have been replaced by more sculpted and athletic angels. The now ended catwalk shows gave opportunity for men to ogle at beautiful women in lingerie and provided women a chance to establish how they should look to be at their sexiest. The VS models held a clear definition: This is what being attractive means.
The media splits itself between supporting size inclusivity and highlighting the West’s rising obesity. The conversation from either view focuses on weight. We’re reading and discussing body image on a daily basis, so we’re constantly feeling asked to figure whether we love our own bodies enough. Coincidentally, feeling forced to proudly declare our measurements or run away from them. (Cut labels out of clothes).
To encourage self-love and show size doesn’t matter, people have used influencers and celebrities to define their message. This can backfire though, as demonstrated with Adele who has recently lost weight. The Sun reported on negative online comments branding her ‘too skinny’ and ‘unhealthy’.
It’s about how it looks, not the dress size
There’s something extremely self-satisfying in putting on an item and realising you need it in a smaller size. When I was buying a coat last year, the only two sizes left were in a 6 and a 10. My mum said the 10 fitted me better; I chose to pick up a 6 and said I’d lose a little weight to make it work. My normal size at the time was an 8 and it felt counterintuitive to buy something bigger when I’ve spent years toning up to go smaller.
Most of us prefer to measure ourselves using our clothes. It feels better than anxiously stepping on scales and placing tape measures around our waists. If you have body confidence issues though, what difference does clothe size make? When I complimented a friend on her appearance and strongly argued that she hadn’t gained weight, with the same rapid speed I used to sip my cocktail, she told me her jeans are getting too tight.
Despite many brands swiftly adapting their marketing to align with customers wanting to feel good and not insecure when seeing their campaigns, there’s still a desirable scent swivelling among us, telling us that smaller is better. And perhaps if you’re a millennial who grew up reading about size 0 and low celebrity BMI’s, you know nothing else but to inhale. To the point where you’re not sure whether a smaller dress size would help your happiness, confidence and self-esteem – you just want to reach that new number.