Disclaimer: This blog post discusses sizes, past and present (I learned posting at WeAretheRealDeal that it’s best to include a disclaimer like this when discussing sizes!). The numbers I’m sharing might trigger someone, so please realize that I’m only comparing myself to myself — not judging you or anyone else.
One of my best friends is getting married this coming October (yay!), and I was so honored she asked me to be in her wedding. Last week, I had to turn in some measurements for the bridesmaid’s dresses.
I’m super-excited about the wedding and the dress (it’s gorgeous and it’s going to be flattering on every body type) — but I was dreading getting measured because, though I only have two pre-pregnancy pounds to lose (yup, I gained one last week, though it could be period weight, who knows), my pre-pregnancy pants/jeans do not fit … which means without even seeing a measuring tape, I knew I had quite a few inches left to lose.
When I saw the actual measurements spelled out, I have to admit, it was quite shocking. I was wearing jeans so the measurements weren’t 100% accurate, but still … they alerted me I had about three inches to lose off my waist and about five off my hips to return to my pre-pregnancy size (OK, probably in actuality two or three inches off my hips because I had gained some before I was pregnant … but still!).
Before I opened the sizing chart she sent me Saturday, I had been forewarned that everyone in the bridal party was measuring 2-4 sizes bigger in this dress than their street size because of the tight-on-the-hips lining underneath.
[I understood this — I was a solid size 6 at my wedding and in pretty much the best shape of my life … yet my wedding gown was a 10. (In fact, I remember the assistant asking me, “What size in street clothes?” I proudly said, “Six.” And she handed me a 10, explaining this typical bridal sizing differential — and it fit PERFECTLY … no alterations necessary). I digress.]
Anyway, in this dress, I guessed I’d measure a 14 and bit my tongue.
I was wrong. I measured a 16. Now, this is NOT said to frown on anyone who is a 16 … and for some, a size 16 is their goal size and that is totally fine. It’s just that the biggest size I’ve ever bought was a 14, and I can still wear most of the dresses that are size 8s in my closet, depending on the cut/material, even now. So you can see why seeing “16” just hit me hard.
My friend kindly assured me I could, like some of the other girls in the bridal party, choose to order a size down, knowing 1) I just had a baby four months ago and am still losing weight 2) the wedding isn’t until October so I’d have a few months to do alterations and 3) the bust would be swimming on me in that size.
I thought about it long and hard … I even posted on Twitter asking what other people would do in this situation.
Yet this is how I know I’ve made progress. The old me would have flipped out hearing the size; would have probably lived off grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce for two weeks and would have run straight to the gym. Twice.
But the new me is calmer, cooler, more collected. I know it will take time to come off … and it will. I know I’m only four months post-partum (to the day). And I know buying a dress in a smaller size would only set myself up for “failure” …
So, ultimately, I told her to go ahead with the 16.
The truth is, with this dress, no matter what size I get, it will need to be altered in the bust (my bust would measure me at a 10 but there’s no way I would get my waist/hips back to those measurements again without some SERIOUS effort, which I’m not willing to do).
The way I see it, I might as well get the current size I measured at and alter it down — rather that than feel uncomfortable in a possibly too-tight dress. I know no one looks at the bridesmaids — as well they shouldn’t! Still, call me vain, but I still want to feel nice for my friend’s special day and would rather not look like a stuffed sausage.
I share this story today because, at 31, I finally feel like I KNOW myself. I know what triggers me, what makes me tick. I know how I would have reacted and how I do react.
That’s powerful stuff!
That knowledge can be applied to so many situations in life — this might have been a triggering situation two years ago; now I can honestly look at myself and say, “It is what it is.”
Anyone know of a great tailor in Kalamazoo? Come September, I just might need one!