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I haven’t given an update for some time, but My Friend Shannon is still going strong on her remodeling project.
I received an email from her recently with the intriguing subject, “Women’s clothes are liars!” I thought it was worth sharing:
I have a hard time finding jeans that fit me properly. A few years ago, I discovered that Old Navy jeans are the best fit for my body. They have 3 different styles, The Sweetheart, The Flirt, The Diva. The Flirt fit me the best because it was a low waist, fuller thigh, straight leg. Hate the name, love the fit.
At the time I think I was a size 10 in most all pants. But, of course, in Old Navy jeans, I was a size 8. What really made me mad was that I knew they did it on purpose so women would feel good about being a “smaller size” in their jeans and would keep buying jeans from them. But even knowing that, I still felt good about being in a size 8. UGH!
Fast forward to present day. I went shopping on Labor Day to get some new jeans since my old ones are too big now (Yay!). I now wear a size 2 Diva. Divas are narrower in the hips than The Flirts.
Have I lost weight? Yes. Do I really think I’ve lost enough weight to go from a size 8 Flirt with roomier hip to a size 2 Diva with a narrower hip? Of course not! Women’s clothes lie!!! But I still felt good so I apparently don’t care if they lie to me as long as they tell me what I want to hear.
Despite appearances to the contrary, this is not a conspiracy on the part of Old Navy to deceive customers into thinking they are a smaller size than they really are. It is actually a conspiracy on the part of most women’s clothing manufacturers to deceive customers into thinking they are a smaller size than they really are. It is called “vanity sizing.” But what seems like a harmless marketing ploy may actually be contributing to weight gain and obesity.
[Proof that vanity sizing has gotten out of control: Some women’s clothing comes in a size 0 or 00. What’s next, negative sizes?]
Imagine that Shannon wears a size 6 jeans. The changes in sizing mean that she could actually gain weight, requiring a larger size (say, an 8). But when she goes to buy new jeans she finds that the old size 8 is now called size 6. Of course Shannon is thrilled that she still wears the same size jeans and her fears of gaining weight were unfounded! In this case, Shannon has lost an important cue—needing to buy larger jeans—that she has gained weight. And missing cues like these allow people to gain weight over time without noticing it.
It could be worse. Some pants can make you fat! Many men’s pants include an expandable waist that allow up to 2 inches (or more, in some cases) of “stretch.” It is possible that a man could gain several inches around his waist but still wear the same pants size.
It’s true! Many men’s pants—women’s too, I’m told—have an expandable waist with up to 2–3″ of stretch for “comfort” or to “move with you.” Move with you? Are you James Bond?
What this really means is that these pants allow you to expand your waist and still wear the same size pants. That way you can still tell yourself that you wear the same pants size you did in college.
Read more about this, and other ways we miss signals that we are gaining weight, in my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard today.
Maybe we have been asking the wrong question. Instead of, “Do these pants make me look fat?” we should ask “Will these pants actually make me fat?”
These pants WILL make you fat!
“Comfort” must be pants-code for fat!