Clothing sizes are a mystery

No two clothing companies use the same size chart, which is seriously annoying. Company A considers one set of measurements to be a size 16, Company B considers that a 1X, and Company C thinks it’s 18/20. Or yanno, a lot higher than that. Makes it very confusing to shop, especially if you’re doing what I’m doing right now and shopping on Ebay where you can’t try on things before you buy them.

When I started on Noom back in January, I was wearing a 4X or 30/32 or sometimes 34 because I liked things to be loose and kind of baggy. Those clothes are long since packed up and taken to Hangers for Hope, a local thrift store in town. Yesterday I bought in an actual store a top that’s a 2X and two that are 1X, all of which fit.

My 3X shorts and skort fell off until I put darts in them to hold them up (or switched to 2X). But the 3XP skirt from Talbots which is made on a completely different scale of measurements is just now fitting me properly and I adore it. I want to wear it forever except I don’t want to be this size forever.

One closet now has Things I Can Actually Wear Now in a variety of sizes because they came from different places. The other closet has Things I Will Hopefully Wear Soon, also in a variety of sizes from a whole bunch of different places. Some of them I can actually wear if I have to, though they will look better in a little while.

But it boggles my mind to look at this really cute 14/16 top I bought on a major sale and realize that I can put it on my body now and not look like a sausage. I can’t remember the last time I wore that size, and was surprised when it arrived in the mail yesterday to realize that I can put it on now. I’m still fat, it’s not supposed to happen this fast.

As of yesterday, I’ve lost 55 lbs in the last 28 weeks, which averages out exactly at 2 lbs/week. Of course, I spent 2 months in there going up and down the same 3 lbs so it’s not that the loss has been steady. But I didn’t stop working the program and my body responded.

I just don’t know what size I really am. Does it matter? Probably not except to me. I want to have pretty clothes that make me feel pretty and I don’t know where to find them now. I’ve basically downsized myself out of the physical and online stores where I’ve shopped for the past 7 years. And as more move to online only shopping, I’m scrambling to figure out where I can go.

Hence shopping on Ebay and also Poshmark, which to my surprise is turning into a decent place to find clothes in excellent condition even if I’m not looking at the Louboutin shoes that the TV commercials feature. I think the mail carrier must hate me because I get so much stuff, some for now some for soon. I even ordered myself some of those round plastic disks that I can write on to divide up the clothes by size so I can figure out what’s already there. It’s not that it’s excessive, it’s just so confusing.

Don’t get me started on being a short person trying to find clothes that fit properly in a world that thinks petite sizing means chopping off some inches from the bottom. Uh, no.

Three Months Later

I now have three months of Noom under my belt – but that belt fits differently now. I weigh every day but on the first day of each month, I also take measurements. It’s a non-scale way to measure change.

And as of today, I’ve lost 36.6 lbs and 13.5 inches. I’m down two sizes in clothes. Even jewelry fits differently; necklaces are longer, bracelets actually dangle instead of strangle. Shoes will be next.

My closet is mostly purged of things that are too big and I’ve added clothes that fit or will soon be wearable from eBay and strategic purchases before we were in Stay-Home mode. I even have some Lands End pants from my working days that now fit.

Right now under the stress of COVID-19 and restricted movements, the only thing I can really control is what I put in my mouth. I am so very grateful that Noom has given me tools to change how I eat and how I relate to food. It’s not a diet, it’s a new way of eating. And it works. Who knew?

I went shopping

My clothes are starting to fall off, which is a good problem but honestly, I have to have something to wear. Most of the smaller things in the closet are for warmer weather which will get here eventually, but I haven’t really wanted to try on sleeveless dresses when I’m cold. But yanno, I need something to wear.

In the back of the closet was a beautiful gored black knit skirt from Coldwater Creek. I loved it too much to give it away even when it sadly became too tight to wear. But guess what? I wore it to work this week! With an aqua knit top from Kohls and a multi-colored kimono as a jacket. Got lots of compliments, felt confident, and kept looking at myself in the bathroom mirror just to be sure I didn’t look fat.

Then I finally did try on the sleeveless dresses, purchased in Connecticut and not worn much here, and guess what? They FIT! I was ready to wear them outside when I remembered it wasn’t sleeveless dress weather and all the little knit bolero jacket things I had were TOO BIG and looked silly.

Yesterday I went to a few discount stores looking for things in sizes I don’t wear now so I can maybe have something to wear when I get into them. If that makes sense. For not much money, I picked up 3 tops. Didn’t try anything on, because hey, they were too small. That was the idea. But when I got home, well, I had to try them on anyway.

And guess what? TWO OF THEM FIT NOW!!

Alright, they will look better with a little more weight gone, but still. I’ve been the same size for so long, and have worn clothes purposely loose because anything clingy made me just feel so fat, that I have no idea what size I really am. It doesn’t help that each of the items I bought was made by a different company and in a different style; you have to actually try on clothes to know if they fit and who wants to do that?

Obviously I am getting there.

The Green Dress

In the back of my closet I have some clothes leftover from a smaller life, things that meet the Vickie test of “would I buy it again?”  At this point the only things left are out of season clothes, having already tried on and am wearing or gave away winter things.

One of those favorite clothes is an emerald green 2-part dress, a simple tank dress with a cute little short-sleeved jacket with some embroidery in matching fabric.  I loved that dress and wore it often because 1) it was cute, 2) it was comfortable and breathable, and 3) I look fabulous in that color.  I bought it 6 years ago when I was at my lowest weight, some 30 lbs lower than where I am now, and even wore it when my WW leader and I were on local TV filming a July 4th segment on tips for watching your food while at holiday picnics and parties.

It fits.

I have no idea how this happened.  I mean, I’m still 30 lbs over that 2004 weight – but my body shape has been shifting a lot in the months since my surgery.  I haven’t really lost any weight in the last month but it’s fallen off anyway – I’ve lost 2″ in my hips in the last MONTH.  Believe me, I’m not complaining, but my brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around the fact that my body doesn’t look the way my brain thinks it does after years at the high end of the plus sizes.

People who are very large need to lose a LOT of weight before anyone notices, and that’s hard.  We wear those X sizes (1X-5X or more) and each covers 2 dress sizes if they actually made dresses for people who wear a straight 30 (they don’t).  So you can easily wear the same thing through a 35-45lb loss, assuming it was a bit on the snug side in the first place.  Most of my big clothes were relatively shapeless anyway, since I didn’t want to flaunt my original shape.

I don’t really want to wear shapeless now even though I know I’m still very fluffy and have a long ways to go.  Others may, and do, see me as obese (which I am), but they don’t have the perspective of knowing the amount of weight already lost, the distance already come.

But I’m having trouble knowing how to dress and where to shop.  I need to be careful with my money and not go crazy buying clothes that won’t last me as long as those X sizes.  I’m tired of shopping in fat lady stores and really really want to find some nice petite plus pants, which is almost impossible.  I may go out today and try a few places for one or two pieces since my other pants look like clown pants and are now too long as well as too big.

It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong.  But there is a lot of adjusting to do.  I’m doing the “inside work” as well as the food/body work – but it also requires work to get the eyes to understand what they actually see.  In the meantime, I have a lovely green dress that I won’t be able to wear to the family wedding in June.  Guess I will need to go shopping 🙂

NSV: The State of my Clothes

I was grumbling yesterday to my friend Phyllis about how my pants were all too long and I had to shorten them to keep them from dragging through wet puddles of snow or rain.  Hemming is not my favorite thing to do and I was not amused at the idea of shortening them all.  But then I remembered that I had pairs of pants the next size down, pants that I didn’t expect to wear until maybe February.  Just to see how far away it might be before I can really wear them, I tried them on.

And they fit.

Well, that explains a lot and means I have a whole bunch of pants that I will soon be able to pack up and drop off at Goodwill.  But it also means I have no pants left in the closet to get back down into as things progress.  Which means I’ll have to go shopping for pants, something I despise because it’s so hard.

I stopped off at Dress Barn Woman this afternoon to take a look at their clothes and left knowing that I now have another place to shop.  The clothes are more upscale and appropriate for me, rather than some of the poorly constructed stuff I’ve seen at Avenue.  Maybe not poorly constructed, but definitely box shape.  My body isn’t a box and I want clothes that let me dress in a way that works.

I bought a couple of sweaters on eBay this weekend, getting some great buys on things down a size.  Things I think I can wear are turning out to be more shapeless than I realized, definitely indicating they are way too big even though I want them to fit.  I would be better served to weed them out of the drawers and rotate a few different things that actually work than thinking I had clothes that fit that really don’t anymore.  I hope that makes sense.

I also ordered a new winter parka down 2 sizes from the one I wore last year, on sale for 50% off.  65 lbs later, it looks ridiculous – and when I wore it this week, all the cold air swept up from underneath and I almost froze.   I’m not silly enough to buy a new coat for every size but I need to be realistic about what will keep me warm up here where winter is serious business for the next 4 months.

The smaller I get, the more options will be available for picking up low-cost transitional things.  I just wish my feet would consider getting narrower.  Those 4E shoes are really hard to find!