Last weekend, Andrew and I were enjoying a nice day out. On our own! As much as we love spending time with the children we love to occasionally get out on our own. So with the grandparents help, we set out for a great day, going to a couple of local markets, getting lunch, window shopping, drinking coffee – that basically sums us up 🙂
We were in a large shopping mall and I said I’d like to look for some new clothes. Andrew had no problem so we went into a well known, pretty expensive clothes shop. I’ll refrain from giving the name (although if you’re very curious just email me). This is the kind of shop I would have bought clothes from when I was younger, before my kids took all my money and my size 6 waist 🙂 Not that I’m complaining. I have learned to accept that having children can change your size and weight.
As I know most people reading this have only seen my head shot on the About Page, I should preface this story by saying that I am now a UK size 12/14 (in the US this is 8/10), I weigh around 11 stone (approx 70kg), and I am in good health. These facts are just that, FACTS. They are not my identity or character. Nor are they something to be ashamed of, or proud of. I have a lot to be thankful for. While there are a few rolls I would rather see ‘roll away’, there’s not an awful lot to sad about. Shopping is generally an enjoyable experience for me.
So back to my shopping trip. I looked at some lovely dresses and blouses and checked the label to find my size. I was confused when the sizes simply went from numbers 0,1,2,3. No measurements or traditional sizes like 12 or 14 or medium/large etc. There was a nice girl on the sales floor, so I asked her. The conversation went like this.
ME: Excuse me, I’m a little confused which size I need. I’m normally between a 12 and 14, which size would be best?
SALES LADY: You would need a number 4. We don’t really keep many number 4’s out on the floor, but if you find something you like, let me know and I’ll get you one from out the back.
How would you react to that? Maybe I read too much into things (I do blog for a living, so it’s part of the job sometimes) but there was something about this conversation that unsettled me. We did not hang about to look for clothes. As nice as that sales clerk was, in my ears all I heard her say was ‘we keep the fat girl clothes in the back’. It seemed as if it was so unusual to have someone of my size come in they had no need to keep them out on the shop floor. Or is it that the small clothes look better and appeal to people, which is better for sales? Maybe it’s just clever marketing.
The fact of the matter is, I am the UK average when it comes to weight and waist size. Average is just middle of the road, not peculiar, not unusual. This experience didn’t make me feel bad about myself, it made me angry with this shop and their insulting marketing.
As a society, it’s about time we focused more on good health than small dress sizes. When we start treating the average as abnormal we are projecting an unrealistic ideal for our youth to live up to.
I wish I had something more profound to say here, but I don’t. It’s just left me speechless. Which, as you know, is unusual for me 😉
Needless to say, I did continue shopping across the street at Coast. They had the big girl sizes out on the shop floor 🙂