My sponsor has a 30 year sobriety anniversary coming up, and she has planned a show. Meaning that all of the girls she sponsors are going to have to perform some bit of ridiculousness on a stage in front of lots of people, and we have to wear a costume.
Let’s ignore the ridiculousness of requiring us to buy some costume that we are only gong to wear one fucking time to become some singing dancing trained puppies. Let’s also ignore the fact that I have no idea where I am going to come up with the money to buy some shit I am only going to wear once, including shoes since I have no shoes that even remotely look like they could have existed in the 50s, which is the chosen theme (white shirts, black ankle length or cuffed jeans). Let’s talk about the real bullshit going on here.
My recovery sister has volunteered to grab me some clothes that fit the costume description. That would be absolutely lovely, except for one thing: I can’t fucking tell her what size to buy for me.
In Chico’s clothes, I’m a zero or a one in pants. In some brands of jeans and pants, I am a 6. In other brands of pants, I might be an 8. In anything that is sized using Italian standards, I wear a 46 (which is roughly equivalent to an American 10). In H&M alone, I can fit into pants that are either size 8, size 10, or size 12. If it has letter sizes, I can be anything from a Gap XS to a XL in pants from the junior’s department at department stores, some women’s L in random stores here and there. And heaven help us if it’s premium denim. I have Paige jeans in a 30 that fit perfectly in the ass and gap at the waist, Helmut Lang jeans in a size 29 that fit perfectly, AG jeans that are a perfect fit in a 30, and in Balmain I wear anything from a 31 in their main line to a 30 in their bridge line, and both fit the ass but gap at the waist requiring a visit to a tailor. Let’s also throw in the fact that my Joe’s Jeans were a 30 and were so loose that I could go pee without unbuttoning them–they just slid down with almost no effort on my part. Hell, even standard denim is a nightmare, as both of my pairs of H&M skinny jeans are completely different sizes and fit pretty much the same. And my St. John knit pants? Size small, perfect fit in the ass and almost tight in the waist, which is pretty much backwards from EVERY OTHER BRAND ON THE FUCKING PLANET.
Shirts are their own nightmare. I have some shirts in my wardrobe that are size small and fit only a wee bit snug in the chest but are loose below the boobs. At the same time, I have some XL shirts that are entirely too tight. While all of this sizing nonsense is going on, let’s note that I have shirts in size M that look like a fucking circus tent on me and a 2X shirt that fits perfectly. In H&M alone, I have mediums that are too tight and larges that look like a bedsheet hanging off my shoulders. I have a top that my mother gave me that came from a plus size ladies store that fits me perfectly, a size small JCrew tshirt that fits just right, and a size 8 Cavalli that is a bit loose in the bust and perfect in the waist. Let’s add in that one random Lauren Ralph Lauren linen button down shirt in a size small that is superhuge on me, and the St. John top in a petite large (petite being for women under 5’4″ when I am 5’7″, for the record) that actually fit me and matched with the size small pants discussed above–just to emphasize the absolute meaninglessness of ladies’ clothing sizes.
Women’s clothing sizes have as much to do with anything rational as Jupiter’s 6th ring has to do with a bag of flour.
Now, let’s assume that I want to go do some vintage clothes shopping. Here’s where it gets really fun. Today’s size 0 woman would be a size 8 in clothes from the 50s. Marilyn Monroe was like a size 14 in the sizes of her day, but she would probably be a 6 or 8 or so in today’s sizes–unless it comes in waist sizes like premium denim does in which case she could be anything from a 28 inch waist to a 32.
I don’t understand it.
Which is why I do most of my shopping these days through my favorite European brand clearinghouse or through etsy. At least the Europeans stay reasonably consistent to European sizes (unless they’re fast fashion like H&M or Zara or something), so I can order based on my European size and be reasonably assured it will fit or will only need a minor modification in the waist. Etsy is great because I can have a conversation with the designer and make sure I’m ordering the correct size.
The only problem with that strategy is that, as much as I love my sponsor (and I do love her), I am not spending Eurpoean brand or Etsy level money on some shit that I will only use one fucking time to do my fucking trained dog and pony act. White shirts are awful on me, they completely wash me out and make me look like a ghoul or cadaver or something, and ankle length jeans/pants have no place in my wardrobe. I also don’t have any actual use for pants that can be cuffed to ankle length, because I like my pants with a skinny leg or an exaggerated wide leg, neither of which would fit my sponsor’s requirement.
Ultimately, I love my sponsor and will do my best to do this silly show, because 30 years sober is a big fucking deal. I just have to figure out a few things first. Like how I’m going to pay for the costume. And what fucking size I am. Because women’s clothing sizes make no sense and it makes bullshit out of clothes shopping.