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Monday, August 24, 2009

Size Inflation and Pregnancy Fashions

I went shopping the other day at the Melbourne Square Mall and had an interesting experience that I'd like to share.

As most of you know, I'm not much of a clothes horse. I rarely shop retail clothing stores but instead, love to visit the resale shops.

There are two problems with shopping at resale shops. #1.) Major sticker shocker when you walk into the Mall and attempt to buy retail. $29.95? Are you kidding? I bought a similar shirt for $2.99 just last week!

The second problem was what happened at the Mall.

I needed a pair of nice, fancy, sleek white pants. And so, I decided to visit several of the Mall's stores. I went to the Misses department, pulled off several Size 4 pant variations and ran to the fitting room.

What's going on here? $80?!?! After recovering from sticker shock, I then slid on the pants and found I was swimming, drowning...inside each pair! What was wrong here? I spoke to the clerk and she said eyeing me up and down while tapping her index finger to her lip "I'd guess you are a Misses Size double zero---but we don't carry anything that small. Sorry!"

"No, No" I thought. Something is very wrong here. First of all, who has ever even heard of a size "double zero"? Not me. And next, I know what size I wear and I know I wear a Misses size 4.

But sure enough I had the same problem at every store. I drowned in the clothes and was turned away due to lack of "double zero" inventory.

I was advised to visit the Juniors department. "Yes, that should work" I thought. "After all, I'm basically the same size as I was in high school----hmmm that's about a size 5 or 7 in Juniors as I recall."

And so, I pulled several size 5's and 7's off the rack and ran to the fitting room.

What's going on here? Not again! Again, I was swimming in every pair of pants I tried on. It wasn't until I tried on Size 3 in Juniors that I found a pair of pants that fit.

Me? Size 3? No way.

Yes way.

But it wasn't that I was thinner than in my high school days. What had changed was the sizing of ladies clothing---more propaganda! Yes, propaganda. Who would you rather buy from? A clothes designer who says you are a size 7 or a designer who says you are size 11?

Because I haven't done any significant retail clothes shopping for years, this 'sizing inflation' caught me very much by surprise. And then it hit me....

The ladies clothes sizes have changed due to the obesity epidemic!

Since I couldn't find a nice pair of size 3 white pants anywhere in the Mall, I decided I would at least try to find a new blouse. Again, another eye-opening experience.

As I looked at each of the racks of blouses, I couldn't help but notice how large the "Pregnancy Department" had become. Racks and racks of pregnancy outfits.

But, I was wrong. This was NOT the pregnancy department. But the blouses were definitely of pregnancy design. The latest, newest fashion for women: Pregnancy Style....oops, sorry, the clerk told me they are rightfully called "BabyDoll" design blouses. Funny, they sure look like pregnancy blouses to me.

There were the empire waist line blouses that hung like a tent from the breasts down. Yes, they were cute---some very cute---but the idea of wearing what was clearly a pregnancy-style blouse....I mean BabyDoll design.....didn't interest me. And then there were the pregnancy blouses that were tight at the hips but with much extra fabric around the middle area to allow room for the unborn baby. I didn't stick around long enough to learn what this blouse design was called. If anyone knows, enlighten me please!

Anyway, I wanted no part of these pregnancy fashions for a number of reasons--one reason being that I've learned the hard way that my body seems to expand to fill the material allotted to it. I have a theory that fat follows the path of least resistance---that if I wear a pregnancy blouse then it is just matter of time before I have a pregnancy body shape.

Of course I'm joking.

But then again maybe I'm not joking....

Because like I said prior, I've learned the hard way that wearing expandable clothes, like sweats for example, most of the time doesn't give me any 'feedback' that my body composition is changing. I finally get that feedback when I can't fit into the sweats any longer---far far down the road of obesity.

But I digress from my Mall story...

While touring the racks of clothes clearly copied from the latest Pregnancy-R-Us magazines, it hit me....again.

These ladies blouse designs are designed and manufactured with the V.A.T.s in mind---ie: to cover the V.A.T.

Yep, today's V.A.T. was yesteryears unborn baby....

It was about then that I had a deja vu memory of an experience I had about 2 years ago with a male friend. He had been following my food plan and had dropped his weight (and his V.A.T.) down to that of his high school football days. It was now time for him to purchase new jeans and so we went to The Gap. As you may know, male clothes are sized by the inch size---waist and length. So at least he didn't have some of the major problems in the fitting room like I had. But, nonetheless, all the jeans he tried on were simply too baggy in the rump area. He tried on every variation of jean The Gap had to offer---but the same problem. They fit in they waist, they fit in the length but they were really baggy on the backside.

It was then that I found several jeans that looked like they would fit him. I handed them to my male friend and he came out with a big smile. The jeans fit great and they looked great! "Get me some more variations just like these to try on!" he beamed.

When I went back to the rack I began pulling more jeans off the shelf. That's when the store clerk looked at me and said "You do realize those are ladies jeans you are giving him, right?".

I was shocked. No, I didn't know that.

I guess she saw the disappointment in my face because she leaned over and whispered "The guys that are in shape come in here and buy ladies jeans all the time...don't worry about it."

My male friend found four pairs of jeans that day---and he loved them all because they were trendy, attractive and tight in the tush department. But I couldn't let him plop down his plastic payment without first telling him he was buying girlie jeans.

He bought them anyway...and continues to proudly wear his girlie girl jeans to this day.

Once remembering my Gap buying experience, I couldn't help but recall one more past incident regarding clothing fashions with another male friend.

In this case I couldn't help but notice that every time I saw my male friend he was always wearing his shirts hanging out. The first few times I saw this I thought he was simply dressing casual. But then he came by for a more formal event and there he stood again----with his shirt tails hanging out.

"Why do you dress this way...with your shirt tails hanging out?" I finally had to ask. His answer was that it was the "male fashion" these days not to wear shirts tucked in but to wear all shirts hanging out.

I was shocked by his response because this particular fella had a Greek god physique. I asked him to tuck in his shirt to see what he looked like. In short, "mighty fine".

It was then I realized that male fashions have changed. Has anyone noticed that fads typically last a year or two at most but the male Hawaiian shirt fad is here to stay? And this is what my friend was noticing---that all his male friends were wearing their shirts hanging out.

I reminded my Greek god friend that this 'hanging out fashion' as he put it, probably wasn't a fashion fad after all but instead, a male response to conceal the unborn baby...I mean V.A.T. I am not saying that I wish that men with large V.A.T.s wear their polo shirts tucked in. Heavens no! I have witnessed that sight on a couple occasions and without hesitation I am the first to thank men for investing in their latest Hawaiian shirt fashions.

Now, back to the story: From that day forward my Greek god continued to wear his shirts tucked in. And, of course, for the few months we dated I made sure to thank him each day for his 'mighty fine' favor.

So, what is the purpose of today's blog?

The first purpose is to point out that the obesity resulting from "Limit-Age Syndrome" is so epidemic and serious that it has permanently changed the fashion and sizing industry.

The second purpose is to burst any of my reader's 'denial' bubbles. Because if you think for moment that you have the same body composition as years ago simply because you are wearing the same size fashions as you did years ago, are very sadly mistaken. Aka: Size inflation. In other words, the fashion industry is helping us remain in our state of V.A.T. denial. And by remaining locked in the "denial" stage of the "grief cycle", we are unable to move forward towards the "acceptance" stage whereby we are finally able to take action against our personal, familial and national obesity epidemic.

And the third and final purpose of this blog is to warn you of your own future fashion fate. Because if you, like our patients, decide to follow our food plan and lose your unsightly and unhealthy V.A.T., you too will be forced through the same fate as described above---ie: forced to buy your clothes in the teen's department.
As for me, I'm going to return to shopping at my favorite resale shop. Because at my resale shop I know I will experience no sticker price shock, and, at least for now, I will see no pregnancy fashions and I will be able to purchase a realistic, non-inflated size 5/7 Juniors pair of pants....hopefully in a nice, crisp, white linen fabric.

I love you all. Stay tuned...