The opposite of vanity sizing
Any woman will tell you clothes sizing is an emotive minefield. However well cut and flattering an item is, if it's a size bigger than you'd like, it either won't be purchased or will lurk evilly in the back of a wardrobe.
I have even been known to splurge on clothes on trips to America just because the sizing looks a lot smaller (a US 12 is a UK 16, for example) or in other countries where the sizing is on a completely different scheme that has no meaning to me.*
I'd been kidding myself I've been size 16 forever, despite much of my wardrobe cutting me in half in the middle**. It wasn't until some trousers got loose or started to fall down that I went through my wardrobe and realised just how many size 18s had snuck in; at least five pairs of jeans, two pairs of work trousers and four skirts. Honest to God, I had not a single recollection of having gone up a size.
Now I'm delighted to report that most of my size 16s are loose or falling off. I'm not a full size down to confidently buy size 14s off the shelf in just any shop, though. I started by ordering a size 14 pair of trousers from a catalogue that is known for coming up large, and lo and behold they fit.
Also I know I can fit into size 16 from pretty much anywhere now without trying it on.
However, there was this one pair of size 16 work trousers that made me doubt I'd made any progress at all. I bought them in H&M confident that I'd mastered size 16, even from cheap shops that come up small. But oh no, as soon as I got home it was a case of Mr Muffin-Top, meet Ms Camel-Toe.
I took them back the next day, but this seriously dented my confidence. All this weight gone and I still can't fit into size 16?
It was just that pair of trousers and just that shop, though. With my refund money I went to New Look, another young person's cheap shop that has a reputation for smaller sizes, and bought a much smarter pair of work trousers in size 16 that fit like a dream and really flatter me.
Of course, this morning I ran for the train and it was all I could do to stop them falling down round my ankles! So now, I think I'll be size 14 all the way. And if certain shops have "anti-vanity sizing" that makes me feel fatter than I am, well I'll just take my business elsewhere, thank you very much!
* Not Italy though. If you're feeling fat, never shop in Italy. The sizes seem to go from microscopic to teeny-tiny, the latter labelled XXXL.
** Since I started only wearing clothes than fit I have no symptoms of IBS - could it have been tight clothes rather than food sensitivities?