Recently I received a question that was more than a bit forward, “what size bra do you wear?” Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t think this is an average question that many women ask each other. Though admittedly I am a bit of a personal style blogger, which might make it so that some feel more free to ask such questions, but still I think it is a bit odd.
First off, what difference is it going to make to anyone, knowing what size bra I wear if you don’t know any of my other measurements? Any size bra is going to fit radically different on someone who measures 30 inches around their chest than someone who measures 40 inches around their chest. Not to mention the possible variations once we start getting into measuring across the bust, which is something that many transgender people do not get to worry over.
Secondly, and what I think is the real problem with the “what size do you wear” question, is that what do those darn numbers mean anyway? I have been asked numerous times what size I am. As if there is some sort of universal sizing system that everyone is automatically and immediately going to understand, and applies equally well to all garments. I did a little bit of writing for another site and the owner of that site specifically asked for me to include what size I am. Thus I included the following information: tops – size XL, L, M, S. Pants – 32, 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, M, S, XS. Skirts – M, S, 8, 6, 4, 2. Dresses – 12, 10, 8, 6. And that is if you are not including petite sizes, junior sizes, or leg inseam.
I don’t think the owner of that blog was all that happy with me. I think they wanted a nice simple number like 3.1415…. wait, no that isn’t a simple number at all, in fact it’s completely irrational. Sorry I had to fit in my dorky love of math with it being so close to Pi day and all!
What I really prefer to do when asked what size I am, is to say that I wear the size”that fits.” I think the problem with that is that I might be seen as a bit too snarky. And that is unfortunate as I am genuinely trying to help people. I know that when I first started wearing female clothes I was quite concerned with what my size was. Ohhh, I am a size 8…… ohhh…… now I can fit into a size 6. But then I went to Loft one day and low and behold fit into a size 2! Hmmm…. vanity sizing much Loft?
At some point it occurred to me that the most these numbers could possibly be is a starting point. I once walked into 7 for All Mankind and while looking at some jeans the sales associate asked what size they could help me find. I mentioned that I honestly have no idea as I had never tried on their clothes before. The helpful woman looked me up and down and guessed a size 27. Amazingly, she nailed it. Talk about a helpful person!
Barring such amazing assistance, what I normally do is to take my typical size item, a larger one, and a smaller one into the dressing room. I will then begin trying on the items to determine which one actually fits. Normally this process results in me finding one that fits nicely. Occasionally though I will need to ask the sales associate, or my wife, to even go grab another size. On more than one occasion though I actually can’t find any sizes that work well. The small is too small, and the medium is too big. If that is the case, then I need to just walk away empty-handed.
I know that these numbers cause many people high levels of stress, but we all need to get away from the worry and concern over these mostly meaningless numbers. Don’t get so caught up that you end up crying because of a number on a tag, or that you need to buy an item because you amazingly fit into a size you never have before. Work hard to wear what fits, what flatters, and what feels good.
Love your body!
Love well-fitting clothes!
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Hi, I’m Nadine Spirit and I have been a lifelong gender non-conformer. I have always understood that I am a bit different than most but it was not until sometime in my thirties that I came to understand that I am transgender. While I spend most of my time presenting as a male I am always presenting in a gender non-conforming manner.
I started my blog, Unordinary Style, with the idea of being able to show a stylish side to those who identify as transgender. Since that time my blog has evolved into showing my personal style, discussing a wide variety of transgender topics, as well as posts about my personal life. My personal style continues to evolve as I attempt to continually push myself to pick stuff off of the racks, take it into the dressing room, and try on as much as I can. I am a firm believer in ignoring tag sizes, never paying retail prices, and due to a terrific allergy – that nickel should never be in any jewelry!