Monday, July 15, 2013

Weighing in on the clothing size debate

There's been a lot of talk lately about how angry and upset women are getting that popular clothing brands don't carry sizes above a 10 or 12. The latest one I've heard of is a girl getting upset that Lululemon doesn't make pants larger than a size 12 and that their size 12 is actually smaller than women realize.

I've heard much debate and wanted to give my two cents.

First off, I should tell you the story about my own similar problem. Back in the day when I was a 38DD bra size, going shopping was an absolute nightmare. I cried every single time I was in a dressing room. Everyone at my school shopped at LaSenza and could get really cute underthings and all I wanted was to not be stuck in granny bras. You know what I'm talking about. The flesh coloured bras with 4-5 clasps at the back and straps that were as wide as the ones on my backpack.

It might be shallow, but they were the least attractive things I've ever seen. I remember going into Jacob one day and after frantically searching their bras, realized they didn't carry anything larger than a 34C. I was so upset. I mean, they weren't even fancy designed bras, just ones that didn't look so dated. And of course, I went to LaSenza, which luckily had a few in my size, but of course, they all have extra padding for that push-up effect. At 19 years old, and DDs on my chest, I really didn't need any pushing up.

So I can totally appreciate the fact that younger women want to feel attractive and not wear their grandmother's bras. As well, I know how heartbreaking it is when you go into a store that doesn't even make a size large enough for you. But walking out of Jacob that day, I made peace with the fact that I could never shop there. And as you know from an older blog post, I decided to change my body. Because of that change, I've also lost 20lbs (not including the boob tissue from the surgery).

One listener on The Edge radio commented that Lululemon is technically active wear and that (remember, these aren't my words) perhaps these women either don't need fancy expensive clothes to wear while doing yoga, or they should use these sizing limitations as a goal to lose weight in order to fit into those sizes.

This debate can take many sides:
1) Does everyone really need the opportunity to spend $110 on Lululemon pants? When I first started working out post-surgery, I was wearing a sports bra that I had bought from Sears as well as old tank tops and shorts. My comfy pants came from Old Navy... and they were $15.

2) Sometimes we need to get over the fact that a brand isn't made for us. Just like me with Jacob lingerie. It's not the end of the world. There are alternatives.

3) You can't get mad at a company for not catering to every single body type and size. They are running a business, and people come in a bazillion different shapes and sizes. It would be impossible to to make every single human look like a rockstar in one clothing line.

4) The goal is to find a piece of workout clothing that fits you like a champ and stick to it. Lululemon makes many different types of sports bras, but only one style of theirs actually fits me well and stops my boobs from bouncing while running. So I had to make peace with buying one style of bra in a few different colours, because not all of their styles fit. It's the same with other companies.

5) If wearing Lululemon really means that much to you, like it's the end of the world if you can't wear Lululemon pants, then make it a goal to get down to that size. If you take offense to that, then there are probably deeper issues at hand that need to be worked through.

6) Abercrombie and Fitch made some pretty terrible comments regarding who their target market was (only the cool kids in school) and about not making XL sizes. They apologized later for their remarks, but if a company's CEO is a complete asshole, why on earth would you want to support that company in the first place? It's called a boycott, and it's pretty easy to do when their stores wreak of cologne from 50 feet away. How do you not get a headache from just walking in there? (Ditto with Hollister).

Sometimes it's just not worth the energies to fight with these companies. Recognize that we're not all built the same, and that we all can't fit into the same clothing. This isn't Starfleet... Lululemon isn't a uniform that all humans must wear. We should stop letting clothing companies define who the "cool kids" are. Just be yourself, and be happy with yourself. If you're not, then find some help to get to a place and a body size that you're comfortable with.

As the wise Dumbledore once said, "Help with always be given [at Hogwarts] to those who ask for it."