Friday, October 28, 2011


Since I broke my foot I have lost around 12 or 13 pounds. I haven’t been on what I call a “real diet”. I’ve just cut down on portion sizes and cut out sweets and fatty snacks. I’ve actually added more nuts, fruit, and yogurt to my diet after seeing the study on foods that are associated with gaining and losing weight long term in adults. 

I’ve also been gradually increasing my exercise, but I did have a set back one week when my right foot started hurting. I was afraid I may have broken it, but right around the time I was getting ready to call for an appointment with my foot doctor, it stopped hurting. I’m doing one day a week bike riding and one day walking with a friend at the mall and am about ready to add some light weight training. 

So I have been shrinking. I now have five pairs of jeans I can wear: the two new ones I bought plus three I had outgrown. More importantly for my budget, I can now fit into a misses size 16 again instead of a woman’s size 16, a change that not only expands my selection of clothing but also saves me around $5-$10 per item of clothing in the places where I shop. The corduroy 14 wale pants I just bought would have cost $5 more in plus sizes. A pair of ponte knit trousers costs $10 more for plus sizes. A cashmere cardigan costs an extra $20. 

I suppose the rationale for the price difference is that plus sizes use more fabric, but  that doesn’t explain it once you start looking at numbers. A misses size 18 is actually slightly larger than a woman’s (plus) size 16, but costs less. Tall sized pants use more fabric than petite sizes, but don’t cost more. The size difference between a misses size 2 and a misses size 18 is the same as the difference between the misses size 18 and the plus size 24, but the size 2 doesn’t cost any less. 

Besides, the price difference doesn’t hold for men’s clothing. A pair of Land’s End men’s chinos costs the same price whether you buy a waist size 30 or a waist size 46. That 16 inch range is about the same as the difference between a Misses size 12 and a Woman’s size 26 in women’s chino pants, but the woman’s size 26 will cost you $5 more ($10 for some styles). It’s true that a men’s cashmere sweater in Tall sizes costs $20 more than the same sweater in regular length men’s sizes, but it’s strange that men pay a price penalty for being tall whereas women pay a price penalty for being wide.  When you consider that some research shows that height correlates with higher income, there’s a least a possibility that taller men can afford the extra cost. For what Precious Ramotswe would call “traditionally sized women”, that explanation doesn’t work.

So it’s not fair that my reduced size is saving me money, but I’m not sure I could drum up interest in an “Occupy the Garment District” movement. Although if I did, I’d at least have a few things to wear.


  1. In my experience the price non-difference on those men's Land's End slacks are an unusual occurrence. I have a ~50" waist and generally pay $10-15 more for the same clothes than I would if I had, say, a 36" waist. Most of the time once you go over 40", clothes become much more difficult to find (at least in non-specialty stores) and when you do find them, you pay a premium.

  2. I know you said you weren't being serious, but one of the UK fashion bloggers I read actually is sort of leading a campaign on false sizing: She says that inconsistent sizing is psychologically damaging for women and forces them to waste time and money. It really is one of those things we "just accept," but chips away at our positive body image every time we have to deal with it.

  3. My weight fluctuates quite a bit. I've been eating more regularly and more often recently, which has resulted in my losing weight, possibly because I'm getting a bit more variety than usual as well.

    The way I handle it, is I bought a belt. Keeps my pants from falling off.

    I don't buy clothes often, but when I do, the stores I shop at don't really have sizes. Things are placed in bins and you shuffle through them looking for things that don't look too garish and hold them up to see if they'll fit or not. Well, some of the clothes have tags, but the numbers and letters don't mean anything. I'm about average size and weight I guess, but XXL is too small sometimes and M fits sometimes, so I just eyeball it.

  4. I'm behind on replying to comments.
    @Anonymous. I believe you, but my reasons for referring to the Land's End sizing/pricing was that it was one company with different standards for their men's and women's clothes. I'm sure a lot of men have to shop in high priced specialty stores, too.

    @willbikeforchange - Thank you for the link. I don't even have a lot of luck shopping by measurements. According to my waist measurement, I should need to buy pants a size or two larger than I do, in which case I'd have enough room in the hips to store pumpkins. I used to have the same problem buying patterns years ago when I sewed my own clothes. Depending on how much ease you want in your clothes and where the waistline hits you, a size that sounds like it would fit might not. I do agree that for most women, seeing which measurements go with which size would save a lot of time and effort.

    @Pthalo - I'm not surprised you are losing weight eating more regularly and more often. Your shopping experience sounds even more frustrating than the usual.