Yesterday, after leaving our car at Lei's Auto & Collision Service Center to be inspected (great place, by the way, and very reasonable prices), I walked to the Ann Taylor Loft on 36th. I was in desperate need of a dress to wear to a wedding on Saturday, as well as in need of clothes in general. I rarely go shopping, and when I do it tends to be at Goodwill. So my clothes are... not the nicest. Add to that a little bit of weight loss, which isn't really that much, but enough to make it so that my pants stay up better with a belt. And I never knew this before because I actually never wore a belt for the purpose of holding up my pants, but if you're wearing jeans that are a little too big and then you use a belt to pull them in around your waist... you get this weird pleat and puff look. It's hard to describe except to say that just because the belt brings the waist in, it doesn't bring the rest of the pants in. I'm sure it's subtle and maybe no one else could tell, but it's been driving me crazy for the past several months.
So I decided I would poke around the store and look at more than just dresses. But I realized that I had no idea what size I was, especially in a store that vanity sizes. So instead of looking at the 4's, I thought I'd try the 2's. But there were only a few 2's and as I was pulling a few things together, I started to worry how I would feel if I got to the dressing room and everything was too small. That would be depressing. So I took a combination of 2's and 4's until I had almost too much to carry.
Back I went to the dressing room and tried on something in a 4. And it looked just as ridiculous as when I had tried on J's old pants the night before - ones that were so small on him he questioned whether they even were his, but my putting them on made it entirely clear that they had never been mine. Well, that's how these size four pants looked on me. Okay, so I'm a 2, I thought. Cool.
I pulled out a size 2 skirt and put it on. It hung low on my hips and I thought for a moment that it was supposed to hang there, but the butt area blossomed out far below my actual butt. Hm. Now I was just plain confused. I decided to go with a top. I had pulled a small off the rack - that seemed reasonable, right? - but, when I put it on... HUGE. It was as if I'd cut holes out of a pillow case and tried to pawn it off as a shirt. I was so frustrated, I actually came out of the dressing room and accosted the poor salesperson and demanded to know what was up with their sizing and what size did they expect me to wear?!
Well, she was very kind to me, recognizing that I truly had just climbed out of a fashion hole, and suggested that 2's probably were my size but that I should probably be wearing petite. I though that I had pulled some petites, but I guess I hadn't done it consistently and nothing I'd tried on so far had been petite.
So I dumped everything I'd picked up in the first round and went back for a second try, this time pulling 0's and 2's from the petite section. I couldn't believe the difference when everything fit well, but for some reason my frustration didn't fully subside. I guess I should be happy to see a size 0 label, but come on. I knew a girl in college who wore a 0 and I have NO idea what she could possibly wear in that store today unless they now make size -6 or something.
Happily, I did end up walking out with something to wear to the wedding: a size ZERO dress and an extra small petite cardigan. I also picked up some 2p jeans and a few extra small petite tops.
But I just don't get vanity sizing. It seems like it would work if you pushed people down about half a size smaller than usual, so they think hm, did I lose a couple of pounds? But pushing the sizes so far down that the clothes I'm buying now are smaller sizes that what I bought in junior high? I'm not that gullible. Nor am I that flattered. I just find it weird and frustrating.
And it blows my mind really, that Ann Taylor is essentially saying I'm the smallest size person they can imagine?!