Here’s why black women need to stop worrying about clothing sizes

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I don’t know about you, but I would almost rather have a root canal than spend too much time in the fitting room of a department store. In my mind, I’m the size 4 girl who strutted around my college campus in a crop top without a care in the world. But these days, after trying on several pairs of ill-fitting jeans, reality hits me in the face. It reminds me that I am, in fact, a middle-aged woman who left the size four section two children ago.

Although no one can actually see the size of the clothes we wear, that small number on the label has the power to seriously worry some people. These days, sizes 14 and up are considered plus sizes by industry standards. But statistics show that these standards do not always reflect reality. According Fashionable Business, nearly 70% of women in the United States wear a size 14 or larger. And a study of International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, found that the average height of African American women was between 18 and 20 years old. But you often struggle to find a store with a selection of clothes in these sizes. And what’s worse, the standards have changed over time. What was considered a women’s size 12 back in 1958 is now a size 6.

According to Jessica Murphy of True Fit, a platform that helps shoppers find the right size with different brands, designers have developed their own sets of sizing guidelines that can contribute to a lot of confusion and frustration in the cabin. fitting. time is that (brands) have evolved their size to represent who they believe is their primary customer,” she says. “That’s why we have so much inconsistency.

In a study 2018 titled “Sized Out: Women, Clothing Size, and Inequality,” Katelynn Bishop, Kjerstin Gruys, and Maddie Evans examined the impact of dress size standards on women’s daily lives. And the results confirmed that this Wild West of dress sizes makes some women feel good, while others feel ashamed.

Here is a quote from the abstract of the study:

“Our results indicate that the instability of these unregulated norms allows some women—particularly those whose bodies are located closest to the boundaries between size categories—to claim conformity to body ideals and access certain associated psychological, social, and material privileges.However, while individual women may benefit by distancing themselves from stigmatized size categories, this model renders acceptance of women’s bodies tenuous while simultaneously reinforcing hierarchies among women based on body size and shape.

Today, I prefer to order my clothes online and try them on at home. That way, at least I don’t have to do the tearful walk of shame to the front of the store when things go wrong.