Thursday, May 20, 2010
I usually don't search the internet for sites that make me feel insecure about my body. It all started with a curiosity to see what my "real" bra size would be because about 90% of women wear the wrong size. Since the average American woman is a size 14 and wears a 36C, I felt pretty smug about wearing the same bra size as a size 8/10. Then I found the horrid calculator that asked for three numbers: bust, below bust, and just above bust. The third measurement surprised me, since I had only ever seen calculators that asked for the other two. Maybe I shouldn't tell, but in the name of embarrassing myself thoroughly the thing spat out the number 38D. I don't see how on God's green earth that is possible. I am thin enough that my size six walking partner honestly can't tell I'm overweight, so how do I possibly have 38D's? It makes no sense, but it sure explains why they might be heavy and always in the way. And it might explain how my grandma got married with C cups being 5' 1" and 90 pounds.
Then I began to wonder how much else I had "gotten wrong" with clothing sizes, and then I found it - The Amazing Dress Size Calculator. Ha! It starts with seemingly innocent default measurements that appears as follows:
Not only is that just about the perfect woman, she is also perfectly proportioned. Just to give you some reference point, I looked up the measurements on the reliable wikipedia of the Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima - 34-24-35. So what is different between Adriana and this default woman I now dub "Woman Zero"? Well Adriana has two less inches up top and one less on the bottom, so in theory three inches of separation.
Care to guess what size the default "Woman Zero" is? Now don't skim ahead, I really want you to guess. I'll give a hint. Faithful wiki says Adriana wears a size 4. So three extra inches. Would size 6 be a fair guess?
Amazing Dress Size Calculator says no.
Well surely no bigger than a size eight. I mean, after all, size 8 is considered "plus-size" in the modeling world. And there is no way "Woman Zero" with perfect proportions and a 24-inch waist is any larger than a size eight.
Amazing Dress Size Calculator says wrong again. Yes, you heard me right. Instead of being an ordinary calculator where you enter in numbers to yield one correct answer, this clever piece of work gives two answers: tailor (meaning the dress size that fits you perfectly) or squeeze.
I think you know where this is going.
"Woman Zero" is actually a US size 10 by tailor standards, and only a size 8 if she squeezes. How frustrating to think that if we ladies succeeded in getting her measurements, this website says we can't drop below a size 10 (tailor) unless we magically lose inches on our boobs and hips. How can you have a 24-inch waist and be a size ten at the same time?? Not that there is anything wrong with a size ten, but if I had a twenty-four inch waist and worked very hard to get it I would like to think I could do better than a size ten.
Then the site is considerate enough to explain what exactly "tailor" means for "Woman Zero." It means that she has 1 extra inch around the bust, 5 extra inches around the waist, and 4.5 around the hips. "Squeeze" means she has no extra room around the bust, only 4 around the waist, and 3.5 around the hips.
What you do is you enter in your own numbers in the same boxes as "Woman Zero" and different dress sizes immediately appear as soon as you change any of the three measurements. Of course I played around with it and I discovered something dastardly awful.
Of the three measurements, the one that influences dress size the most on this calculator would be breasts. When I entered in Adriana's 34-24-35, it said she was a tailor size 4 and a squeeze size 2. I entered in lots of numbers and basically large-breasted women get penalized. Since I am not a pear-shape I did not play around with hips as much because I already have hips about 35 or 36 inches.
You know what happened next. I couldn't resist. Based on the horrid bra size calculator I know I am supposedly a 38D, which makes my top measurement 39 inches. And my waist is definitely not 24 inches. Now before I spoil the fun and tell you what it told me, let me say that I usually wear size 10 or 8 skirts. Size 12s are too big, and so far size 6 has been out of the question. Lately I have been wearing more size 8's than 10's, but if "Woman Zero" has to squeeze into a size 8 you can guess that I don't have a prayer.
Since I am embarrassing myself thoroughly I'll give you the same information I gave it: 39-31-36. Now who will start the bidding? Does size 10 sound fair?
Let me give you another scenario. 39-24-35 is a size fourteen, in spite of her perfect waist and hips.
Time for guessing is over. I am a tailor size FOURTEEN because I need 1 inch around the bust, 1 around the waist, and SIX AND A HALF around the hips. (I don't even have hips). But no fears, I could squeeze into a size 12 with a half-inch around the bust and waist and make do with only five spare inches around the hips.
I'm sure some of you ladies would like to join the fun. Here's the address to the bra size calculator I used: http://www.85b.org/bra_calc.ph
And let's not forget "The Amazing Dress Size Calculator": http://clairehunter.com/dress-
I wouldn't try it if you can't laugh at it. If you're not brave enough to share the garbage it spews at you in the comments, at least tell me if you think there could be a shred of credibility to this site. When I typed in "dress size calculator" it was one of the first two or three hits, but all of this seems so bogus.
What have I learned today? In theory, I could lose fat everywhere but my breasts, and I would still be a size fourteen. Doesn't that just make you want to vomit?