What’s in a Number?

Today I’m standing tall on my soapbox to vent about a negative trend where women are concerned – that trend being to fudge numbers and letters relating to our size and the clothes that we wear.

My frustration recently reached a new peak when I went to Victoria Secret to purchase a gift for a bride-to-be. I scoured the racks and shelves for some lovely little lace-diddy in her size, I found none. I inquired as to where all the 34A’s were, and was gleefully informed by an annoying overly-enthusiastic yet robotic sales girl that they no longer make lingerie sets in 34A, the smallest offering would be 32B. I immediately pounced back with “why is Victoria Secret discriminating against us A’s?” (Note, they still offer bras in A cup sizes, just not lingerie.)

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Her reply was to look me up and down and state with misplaced joy “well first of all, clearly you’re a 32C…” at which point my how stupid are you laugh cut her off and I corrected her with my proper size (like the bride, a 34A). She then asked when was the last time I was measured, and also added that even if I was a 34A, I could just as easily wear a 32B. I informed her that if you wrapped a tape measure around my ribs under my breasts it measures 34 inches, and therefore a 32 would not fit. She shot back that the larger cup size would take up the slack.  Evidently this is now a widely accepted sales approach to bras.  The question I have is WHY?  What’s wrong with being an A cup?

After a few more irritating back-and-forths with this mannequin I departed in a huff. On my way home I stewed over the fact that sizes have been rapidly getting smaller in clothes while clearly bra sizes are increasing. There appears to be a desire among designers and clothing manufacturers (and evidently the shopping public as well) to create the illusion that you’re smaller than you are (i.e., fitting into a size 6 dress when you’re really a 10). Simultaneously you can now wear a C cup bra when you’re really an A or B.

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A few months ago I went into a White House Black Market store and tried on a little black dress. I have worn a size 4 ever since I my 20’s. Their size 4 dress was too large. I tried a 2, also too large. Then a 0 still swam in the breast area, but was tad tight in the hips. When the sales lady suggested a 00, I almost screamed aloud “who the F*** is a size 00?!”

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I remember in the 80’s I wore a size 7 jeans because they fit me. Now a 7 swims on me and it’s not because I lost any weight. Quite the opposite, especially since I am a trainer and have gained a lot of muscle weight and size. But clearly whomever’s making these jeans has changed their “recipe” so that women can feel “better” about their sizes.

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I also remember that back then (when I was a rocker chick), all my band mates and male buddies described their perfect woman as being tiny waisted with very big breasts. With that still being the idea of sexy, it’s no wonder that breast implants are the norm while starving yourself of carbs. Thus, I understand that as a business Victoria’s Secret is undoubtedly looking at sales and seeing a reduction in movement of their A Cup inventories, I still wonder which executive had the gall to suggest that a 32B would be sufficient replacement for a 34A (and same goes for 36A has to wear a 34B)? Sorry young ladies who are the ultra-rare 32A – you’ll just have to shop elsewhere.

In summation of my tirade I leave you with this: just like I tell my clients that scale weight is not indicative of their fitness or body fat levels, the size of dresses or bras that you wear do not make YOU. Wearing a bra that is smaller in inches but bigger in cup size is simply playing with numbers to play with your head. Do you really feel that much better about yourself by changing to a B cup?  Better to change your perspective and be happy with where you are or make healthy changes to your body from within (nutrition and exercise).

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