A fight in the fitting room

It’s a Friday afternoon, and I’m perusing the mall looking for the perfect outfit for an upcoming professional event. I walk from store to store trying on multiple dresses, skirts and blouses and nothing fits properly. I find myself picking up plus-sized garments that halfway fit my body. By the end of the day, I am emotional and overwhelmed. I leave the mall with nothing for the event, and my self-esteem was left on the rack with dresses that didn’t fit. Here’s the kicker: in every store, I am a different size.

I am rather average in size, but when I go to department stores geared toward young adults, more times than not I can barely fit their clothing because the sizes are sized too small.

Over the years, I have been relatively the same size, but when I shop at the same stores, the same sizes I used to buy no longer fit me.

For example, I have a pair of American Eagle artist jeans from 2010 in a size four. These jeans still fit me well. During my senior year of high school in 2014, I lost about 40 pounds. I wore a size six in their jeans. I’m a senior at FMU now, and if I buy their jeans, I wear a size 12.

If I am staying the same size, then why must I continue to buy different sizes of clothing? American Eagle used to be one of my favorite stores, and now, I can hardly wear their clothes. When I do wear their clothes, I feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in the way their clothes fit.

This inconsistency makes it hard for women to be confident in their appearances – especially when so much emphasis is placed into women’s clothing sizes.

I also find myself frustrated with the majority of young adult stores because their models, for the most part, represent only a fraction of the population who are slender and curve-less.

According to WebMD, the average body size, is a height of 5 feet 4 inches with a 34-35-inch waist and a 12-14 dress size. This size has grown over the past 50 years. Then, the average waist size was 24-25 inches and dress size was a size eight.

For the majority of women who do not fit the ideal 5-foot-10, size zero models shown in advertisements, it is disheartening to see models who don’t resemble the average body size and shape.

I am a size 10-12 in most clothing stores, and it is increasingly hard to find these sizes. In some stores, I even have to shop in the plus-sized section. Being that my size is considered in the middle of the average body size, I find it hard to believe stores are marketing this size as a plus size. Every time I go shopping, I feel disgusted with size on my clothing and the way I feel in clothes that don’t fit my curvy body.

I know it is nearly impossible to find a standard sizing system; however, there has to be a middle ground between sizing. Also, there should be a variety in who models for popular stores: models who actually represent the population, not just a select few.

Until that day comes, don’t feel disheartened by the number on your clothing tags. All body shapes and sizes are beautiful. Numbers do not define beauty.