Sizes changed and they forgot to tell us? Are we going to let them get away with this?
|Who Shrunk My Skivvies?
by Marilyn Mackenzie
For women over 40 only. Seriously. If you are not prepared to hear a rant about women’s underwear – the kind that “older” ladies wear – then stop reading now! Go! Hurry!
Okay. Those of you who are left are probably women over 40. Or someone who thinks he/she will read something sexy. The former most probably will identify with my words. The latter will be disappointed.
I have wanted to write about this since May. The words have been forming and festering in my mind since then.
One of the reasons I hesitated about writing this was that I was frantically searching for something my mother wrote about her first (and only, I think) experience with a sports bra. Mom’s writing about squeezing her ample bust into a sports bra – a piece of material that appeared to have been made for someone under 85 pounds – was hilarious. I wanted to read her words again. I wanted to learn from those words. I wanted to mimic her humor. Alas, I cannot find a hard copy of Mother’s sports bra wisdom, nor can I find it saved on her computer. So I am left to tell the story of shrunken skivvies all on my own.
For background’s sake, let it be known that since I was thirteen years old, I have weighed anywhere between 112 and 148 pounds. Except when I was pregnant and the size of three cows, an elephant and the side of a barn all stuffed together in a tent dress. And that was when I was applying for jobs and still had four months to go before my son was due to be born.
Since I’m 5’4”, even 148 pounds doesn’t make me obese. It might make me uncomfortable, but it doesn’t make me obese.
For years, I teetered between 115 and 125. I weighed more in winter, and as spring and summer loomed in the distance, I would diet and lose the extra weight I had gained in winter, so I would look better in a swimsuit. (I didn’t swim, but I did live either on the Gulf Coast of Texas or Florida, and swimsuits were a requirement for every wardrobe.)
I woke up at the age of 35 with two new problems. I had suddenly gained about 20 pounds, and I could no longer read. Seriously. I went to bed one night reading and woke the next morning unable to read anymore. My eye doctor was in walking distance. He was a grandfatherly type, about 65 and ready to retire. While I was freaking out about not being able to read, he handed me a pair of reading glasses. Hmmph. He laughed at my chagrin at getting old.
My regular doctor insisted that I had not really gained those 20 pounds overnight, but had gradually gained them over the year since my last check-up. Perhaps. But why? His only explanation was that my metabolism had change because I was getting old. Old? I was only 35.
I soon accepted the fact that I no longer could squeeze into a size 5 panty. The only good thing about this revelation was that I had to throw out a whole drawer of size 5’s and purchase all new panties – size 6.
I’m 54 now, and although I haven’t noticed how and why it has happened, I now require a size 7 panty. As an older lady, it doesn’t bother me to purchase regular old lady panties – either in nylon or cotton. My belly “pooches” a bit, something that I have inherited from both sides of my family, so buying hip-hugger type panties really isn’t an option. All the sit-ups and crunches in the world don’t seem to phase that pooch, so I’ve resigned myself to having it and covering it up with the “right” clothing purchases.
Last May, my niece got married. Although I decided to wear a dress I had only worn one other time, rather than buying a new one, I did use the wedding as an excuse for purchasing a bunch of new underwear. (Women really do like buying new underwear, don’t we?)
Although I love the look and feel of expensive underwear, I am also frugal (okay, cheap) and used to buying my underwear at discount department stores. Rather than buying a few pairs of “better” drawers even at the discount stores, I usually opt for buying packages of panties. That’s what I did. I bought 3 packages of my regular size 7 panties – bright colored nylon, pastel nylon, and miscellaneous cotton.
The wedding trip was scheduled to last for almost a week, so I was certainly prepared with all of those panties. Even so, I packed some of my older drawers as well. Thankfully.
Imagine my surprise on the first morning at the dude ranch when I opened one package of panties and proceeded to pour myself into them and discovered that they were way too tight. I looked at the package to make sure I had really selected size 7’s. I had. I tore open the second package and tried on panties. They were also too tight. So were the panties in the third package.
I decided to wear one of the new pairs of panties anyway. My son and I joined my sister and her two girls for a sightseeing trip, and I spent the day in agony. The elastic at the waist squeezed me so tight that eating wasn’t something I ever wanted to do again. The leg elastic left red marks imbedded in skin.
The next morning when I awoke, I pulled out my panties. I checked the size tags in each pair. Each one was certainly marked as a size 7. I placed them on the bed, then put my older panties beside them. There was a definite difference. I decided that the panties were just marked wrong. It had not yet crossed my mind that the new panties I purchased were from two different manufacturers.
For the remaining days, I wore older panties when I was doing something that would require walking or doing anything else even remotely physical. I wore the newer panties just for meals, figuring they would keep me from overeating. They certainly did that.
After the flight back to Cincinnati, I stopped in at the discount retailer. A woman in customer service informed me that my panties had not been marked wrong. She said that panties were smaller now because that was the style. Clothing was worn to hug closer, and so were panties.
Really? What brilliant person decided that? I could not imagine that even the young girls who wore tight jeans really wanted their panties to be so tight that they stopped circulation. Where were the press conferences to announce this new change? Why weren’t the packages marked to tell of the newer, tighter fit?
Some man did this to us; I just know it. For guys, it doesn’t matter which clothing manufacturer is used nor whether they are in a high-priced or low-priced store. Sizes don’t change for them. A size 38 is a size 38.
Not so for us. A size 8 dress in an expensive boutique is the equivalent of a size 12 in a cheap discount store. That way, the wealthier of our gender can boast of wearing smaller sizes.
Now we have to put up with having our panty sizes change without any warning? For comfort’s sake, I cut slits in my new panties at the waist and legs. They fit better now, but they look more worn out than their older counterparts.
But I will not let the panty manufacturers win this one. I am not going to buy size 8 panties to be comfortable. Well…at least not until the next out of town wedding I attend.