Last weekend, we were treated to some wild and woolly weather, up here on Beastly Bodmin Moor. While the predicted weather (Hurricane Bertha) mostly passed us by, we are 600 feet above sea level and it did get rather blustery. So blustery, in fact, that my usual dog-walking attire (for which read “usual attire for pretty much anything and everything during the day”, ie a full skirt or frock) wasn’t going to be a good idea on the Daily Rampage over the moor. I’d tried hanging out some washing and my skirt ended up over my head, which meant I couldn’t see much and the pegs weren’t colour coordinated, thus not getting my day off to the best of starts. Goodness only knows what would have happened if I’d had that happen whilst walking Alfred; I could have fallen down a mine shaft or tripped over a sheep, not to mention traumatizing anybody who actually witnessed said sight. No, it would never do. There was really only one option open to me; search for the pair of emergency trousers that lurk somewhere at the back of the airing cupboard for days when a skirt really doesn’t work. Those days are rare and the trousers last saw the light of day back in November 2010.
Before your world disintegrates at the idea of Miss Wednesday wearing trousers, let me reassure you that they are not polyester hideosities or trendy, skinny jeans but a pair of cream-coloured, non-stretch, classic Marks and Spencer, slightly tapered jeans, of a fair vintage.* Going by the label in them, I’d say that they dated from 2000 at the very latest, because they have both the “St Michael” brand and the “Marks & Spencer” brand labelling, indicating the time when the brand was transitioning from the former to the latter. That isn’t as interesting, however, as the size label. I bought them back in about 2008 from a charity shop and they were labelled by that emporium as “Size 12”, so bearing in mind that they are very definitely non-stretch, I wasn’t surprised that the waist was snug. Last Monday, I checked the label inside and saw the legend, “Size 14”. It then gave me more information: “28 inch waist”. What?! Seriously? Size 14 clearly labelled as being for a 28″ waist?! Halleluyah! Nobody ever believes me when I tell them about ‘vanity sizing’, they just think I’m a sizeist old harridan.**
There we have it in black and white. Back in the late 1990s/early 2000s, a size 14 was meant for a 28″ waist. These days, I find people get slightly huffy when they discover that my Medium/Size 12 skirts have a 28″ waist and they need to buy a Large/Size 14 to get a 30″ waist. (Dress sizing is different as I allow more generous waists for ease of fit and access.)
I checked Marks & Spencer’s up to date size guide and find that their current guide says that a Medium/Size 12 has a 29″ waist and a Medium/Size 14 has a 31″ waist. So in 14 years or so, their Size 14 waist has expanded by 3 whole inches. Which clearly explains why when people tell me they are one size, my head is bellows, “Delusional!” And why most of my garments, which are almost all made to measure these days, are labelled “Bespoke”. Yeah, I cater for vanity, too. Oh, the irony…
* Both the Vicar and Mr March assumed I was wearing jodhpurs as I was also wearing leather riding boots and leading a huge hound, who is often ‘mistaken’ for a pony. Mr March’s eyes lit up at the ‘jodhpurs’. Ridiculous. We’ve been married nearly 10 years; I won’t be wearing those again in a hurry.
** Guilty as charged. I am a sizeist old harridan. But should you wish for more proof that I am not just making it up about the sizing thing, have a read of this, which I posted on the Wednesday March Facebook page a while back. I’ve also had genuine 1950s cocktail dresses in my shop, the erstwhile March Hare, and the size 16s fit today’s size 6. If you can find one.