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Sunday, November 17, 2013


When did manufacturers and retailers come up with "classic" versus "modern" sizes for women's clothing?  And who dreamed this up anyway?  

I just opened a current Neiman Marcus catalog and the first item is a very expensive woman's sweater. The sizes are listed as MODERN sizes ranging from XS which is a 2 up to XXL which is a 12. When did XXL become a 12 ??? Further in the catalog is a dress with CLASSIC sizes, ranging from XS or size 2-4 up to XL which is listed as being size 14-16. 

Fast forward in the catalog to an Eileen Fisher cardigan. We all know that Eileen Fisher's clothing runs large, but they must just invent their own sizing because their XL is a size 18 even though it would probably fit you if you normally wear a size 20, but their women's plus size 1X is size 14-16???? Crazy enough for you or are their invented sizes used to make people who don't fit into their XL feel better about themselves by dropping the numerical size down in their next size up?  Well, hell, if I can fit into their XL or 18, I guess I should just move up to a plus size 1X so I'm technically wearing a smaller size at 14 - 16!

One of the really disturbing points about this new sizing is for the younger woman and her self-image.  For decades, if not centuries, women have squeezed themselves into clothing and shoes based on size.   We've all seen those shoe cartoons where the very large woman is trying to cram herself into a shoe that wouldn't fit a seven year old child!  

No one wants to wear a larger size at forty than they did at 20, even though life gets in the way, like having children.  Under the new sizing formula, someone who has traditionally worn a size 12 and a medium or large for example, will suddenly find themself just one step away from the plus size or the fat lady department (which is how I jokingly refer to it as I ride the escalator down to the basement of Bloomingdale's to shop)!  

I stopped shopping at Coldwater Creek a few years ago.  Be it a sweater or blouse or jeans, every single item they sell only fits me if I go up a size.  Excuse me, but what is up with that??  So keep your clothing, Coldwater Creek.  You're not going to make me feel worse about buying that cute little cardigan of yours!.  I'll go back to Talbot's where my size is usually still my size. 

It used to be that I could order a white shirt from Ralph Lauren or Talbot's and it would fit exactly like the one I bought last year.  Not anymore!  Although last year's shirts still fit great, with the new ones, the sleeves may be too short or the neck opening too wide.  Lauren changed their sleeve width a couple of years ago which drove me crazy!

Do the manufacturers and retailers have any real understanding of just how hard it is to know your size in their clothing???  I've reach the point where if I want to buy a sweater from J. Jill for example, I'll order the same sweater in two different sizes, fully planning to return the one that doesn't fit.  And in some case, neither fits and I have to order a size smaller!  Have to admit, that feels good for a change.

Following the new modern sizing, I'd have to wear an XXXXXL.  Pretty insulting if you ask me.  Forget the fact that women should have standardized sizes like men's clothing which is a whole nother bailiwick.  I guess the next stop for me is to order my granny panties from Omar the Tent Maker!

Friday, November 1, 2013


My husband and I had dinner with our son Robert and his wife Stacey last night.  We invited them out to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.  Congratulations to the happy couple!

During dessert, I dripped a spot of chocolate on the front of my shirt.  My white shirt, of course.  Which I had just changed into to wear to dinner.

As I was trying to blot the spot with my napkin, my son turned to me and asked, "How many white shirts do you own?"  Thinking quickly, I responded, "Thirty?"  As the three of them laughed, I found myself explaining what white shirts mean to me.  And the more I thought about it, the more eccentric I guess I am, or have become, or always was.  Or is it just a clothing rut?

When I was a young teenager my mother taught me the importance of wearing ironed clothes.  To this day, I really can't wear a shirt right out of the dryer without at least touching it up with an iron.  Even if the shirt is one hundred percent cotton and will turn into a map of wrinkles within minutes of putting it on, I have to start out with a freshly ironed shirt.  This is one of the reasons that I tidy up in the morning in my pajamas; who wants to put on a freshly ironed shirt to wash dishes???

As a teenager, I was really skinny.  In fact, I was underweight at 5' 7" tall and 108 pounds.  I could wear almost anything, and did.  But my favorite go-to outfit was a freshly ironed white oxford shirt with capris and flats.

And here I am now, fifty years later.  Not so skinny, less tall at 5'6" (sorry, not giving you the poundage!) and what's my go-to attire?  You got it....a freshly ironed white oxford shirt with capris and flats.

But let me explain!  I have those hang-around-the-house white shirts.  You know the ones; they've been
kicked around and aren't new enough to really wear to go out.  Then I have the over sized, all cotton oxfords with the button down collars and long tails, better known as boyfriend shirts.  These shirts are perfect with jeans and sneakers for a quick run to the mall or food store, or for curling up with a good book.  Add to the mix the more fitted cotton with spandex shirts.  These are great under sweaters or vests, or any time you want to "up" your style a little bit.

With the advent of wrinkle-resistant cotton, I now own shirts that you can wear all day and they don't wrinkle.  These are great to wear with your dressier slacks and a blazer, sweater or your favorite shawl.  You could go from the mall to a client dinner in one of these and pull it off.  But don't kid yourself, you still need to iron these shirts.  And they do have one problem.  The fabric is woven differently so they don't really breathe and you wouldn't want to wear one of these on a hot day even though they're one hundred percent cotton.  I also own a couple of white on white prints for a dressier look.  Paired with dress slacks they are perfect!

Last but not least, I own three-quarter sleeve white cotton shirts for summer wear as shown on the left.

Am I in a rut?  I don't know.  I do know that I own shirts in lots of other colors,including solids, plaids and stripes.  I'm even wearing a blue striped shirt in my current profile picture.

Back in 2010, I blogged about Yuka, a young hairdresser who works at Vidal Sassoon in Manhattan.  I was really delighted with her outfit.  It was cheery and fun and colorful and upbeat.  She looked young and hip and made me smile when I looked at her.  But would I dress like that?  Not a chance!  I'd feel like I was ready to work in the circus!

Look at photos of stars like Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Diane Keaton and even Taylor Swift on Google.  You'll find photo after photo of celebrities wearing the tried and true white cotton shirt.    Call it my uniform, but they're simply timeless and they work and I love them!

I lamented over one of my favorite white cotton shirts last night that had to be retired a couple of years ago. I owned a Ralph Lauren shirt that was made from the softest cotton imaginable.  After owning it for about ten years, I literally wore it to death, because one of the sleeves simply shredded when I bent my arm while wearing it.

I counted my white shirts this morning and my guesstimate was pretty close.  I do own a wealth of white cotton shirts, twenty-nine to be exact!  But they're as different as the colors of the rainbow to my eyes, despite the fact that some would simply refer to each as a white cotton shirt!