Thursday, July 19, 2007


Something happened recently that reminded me, I never did write about the YouTube video A Fat Rant, which is so fabulous, as I once promised to do. The trigger was, I started to get a new-to-me catalog (they're like bunnies, aren't they?), this one called Title Nine, and rather amusingly, this one is an athletically themed catalog.

I flash back to ninth grade, and Female Team Sports. The disastrous trifecta of basketball, volleyball, and field hockey ... the much more palatable three and a half years of dance class that followed ... I'm not any good at dance, either, but it was almost enjoyable, featured good music, and was generally much less dangerous.

So the Title Nine catalog was an extremely ironic one for me to receive, and I browsed it with mild amusement until I noticed something that disturbed me greatly. For some clothing items, the size XL was "translated" as 10-12.

Say what?

In America today, that's utterly ridiculous. I would call 10-12 Medium, don't you think? I expect XL to be 16-18, or 18-20. Now, some of their clothing is numerically sized, and some gives the XL with a single number, say 16, instead of a range (how confusing is their system if you can call it that, by the way? I'm not sure I could figure it out even if they hadn't offended me). So, leaving out the items with bra-sizing (or I'll be here all night), an XL can be:


And (of course) some things only go up to L. I think there was one XXL. One.

Basically, even if I wanted to shop with them, which I now would not do for free, it would require far more work than I am interested in doing to figure out what size to order, plus (and now we reach what Monty Python might call the fulcrum of my gist) barely any of it would fit me. And forget about me for a minute, there are a lot of large, strong, athletic women who are going to (surely) need bigger sizes than that (I guess they shop elsewhere, too).

Because these are a lot of small sizes. I fit into some 18s, hardly ever into a 16, and there were very, very few larger than that in the entire catalog. There weren't many of those.

This segues into the Fat Rant video linked above. I started to feel like the woman in the video, who mentions at one point that she can spend an hour in a store looking for her size and all she can find to spend money on is socks and hair clips.

Now, if you haven't watched the video, I highly recommend it. You need time (7:45), and you need sound. I'd like to quote from it, but I end up sounding like an inspirational novel, when it isn't like that at all. Context is key, though, so go watch it, right?

I e-mailed Title Nine to get off their mailing list, by the way. As I told them about their catalog, "any company that calls a size 10-12 an XL is so far out of touch with reality, I won't be wasting my time looking at it."

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Blogger Annalea said...

The Fat Rant was awesome. Thanks so much for posting the link. That's definitely food for thought . . . especially since I've been so disastisfied with my own weight lately.

Hmmm . . . I feel a blog post brewing. ;o) Have a great night!

12:08 AM, July 20, 2007  
Blogger korinthe said...

A little history for ya:

Also known as "How can I possibly be a size Y in a wedding dress? I'm a Z!" Wedding dresses (mainly) still follow the international standard sizes, as do sewing patterns.

Of course, no matter what the manufacturer calls the size, numerical or alphabetical, we *all* have trouble finding clothes that fit well! Knowing your measurements, and trying on multiple sizes if it's a ready-made garment, are just part of life. It's not a conspiracy.

Regarding Title IV's catalog, they are one of the better quality vendors of sports bras for women with ample bosoms. I've never tried their other clothes, but my friends who buy from them have all been pleased with the quality and fit. If your real goal is finding clothing that's comfortable and supportive, and you find it, does it matter where the nominal size is on the continuum? The letter on the label doesn't change anybody's actual body.

9:58 AM, July 20, 2007  
Blogger korinthe said...

A wise knitter takes on the "standard" sizes, and provides a handy calculator (actually, several) for sweater sizing.

10:02 AM, July 20, 2007  
Anonymous MonicaPDX said...

I watched the Fat Rant oh, several months ago now, and loved it. As to the catalog - reminds me of the Coldwater Creek catalog. I love a lot of their stuff, but it's only because I look at it for ideas that I haven't asked to be taken off their mailing list. Every piece of clothing they have only goes up to 2 sizes smaller than I can fit into.

Still, it's ridiculous for them to be sending me their catalog just because they got my name from another catalog's mailing list, when their sizes don't run as large! I know the marketing idea behind it, but if they knew how erroneous their assumptions were about my size (and budget), they'd drop me off their list fast. As it is, without one order in several years, you'd think they'd have made that decision already.

But sizes are purely insane, even if you're going strictly by the measurements. I get really tired of constantly checking the sizing charts to remind myself whether a 3X is an equivalent to a 30 or a 34, and which brand was it whose 2X ran larger than expected? I shop by catalog. I can't afford to be shipping things back if, despite going by the actual inches, the ease a mfr. uses is more or less than expected. I have to scrape the money together to buy the stuff in the first place. With the agoraphobia, you can be sure I'm not going to be getting out to try on a bunch of clothes! And people wonder why I hate shopping for clothes. I've never enjoyed it, even when I was 70's-vintage size 12/13 at 36-24-37-1/2.

As to sizing systems, I'm just waiting for the day they start using negative sizes to make their customers feel better about themselves. [g] "Oh no, ma'am, your bust is 32, that size 1 is way too large. You'll want a -6 blouse!"

8:20 PM, July 20, 2007  
Blogger Kali said...

When I first saw the Fat Rant, I posted it off to several people. Personal size and image are often out of whack, perception-wise. You hit a nerve on this post! I also have issues with clothing. I hate trying things on and end up all mussed, fussed, and sometimes sweaty, to boot! It is a hassle just to find things to try on when what looks like it will fit ranges several sizes and several clothing racks.

I taught my daughter to ignore the labels and just wear what fits. I wish I had internalized that lesson as well as she has.

9:19 AM, July 22, 2007  
Blogger knottykitty said...

I am so with you on this one! I equally hate the catalogs that SAY they carry plus sizes, but a 1x or 2x equals about a store-size 10? Geez. I really have to check out that video!

2:00 PM, July 22, 2007  

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