Friday, July 30, 2010

fitting in.

At Citiwear the other day, I pulled a denim blue dress off one of the racks and skeptically read its tag. The "L" must be a mistake, I laughed to Rachel, because there was no way this small garment was made to be large. A trip to the dressing room confirmed our observations: I had trouble fitting into the dress. Returning to the rack, I pulled off other sizes to compare. That's when I realized we were actually the wrong ones. The "medium" dress was smaller and the "small" even smaller than that.

I remember when Citiwear first opened in the Lake Crest Shopping Center near my house. Sandwiched between a Marshall's and Payless, the store was a cross between Limited Too and Forever 21 - the perfect balance of tween and public school fashion trends. Like Forever 21 though, Citiwear's image quickly morphed to market toward a "cooler" crowd, one more urban and hip that you'd find splashed across the screens of VH1 and sprawled across the red carpet at the VMAs. The Citiwear I walked into last week is definitely not the Citiwear I grew up with.

Somewhere along the transition, the strange transformation of "large" clothing happened. But discovering that tiny blue dress I couldn't even fit into properly was a "large" was just too shocking. Are we in the '90s again? Has it become trendy again to wear size zero garments and vie for a gaunt and sallow reflection, a la the supermodels of Vogue?

"A size zero is not something to aspire to," Rachel said, and I agree. Society wants to avoid obesity, but we also want to avoid anorexia. So where's the happy medium? Everybody has different body types, shapes and sizes so it's hard to find one type that you can classify as "average." I'm 5'2", which is far from considered "average," yet amongst my cousins, I'm one of the taller ones, despite being the youngest.

The matter of ethnicity also comes into play. The Chinese women I see in magazines and on screens are generally thin and dainty. Growing up, I always felt like I needed to look like that too in order to "fit in" - which is the ironic part. We all feel like we need to "fit in" by looking like models and actresses, yet if we all don't look like those people, then does that mean none of us fit in? And by none of us fitting in, don't we just create our own average? Who really defines the standard of beauty we see? Hollywood? Fashion editors? Movie producers? What is REALLY "average" and how do we all "fit in" to that standard?

1 comment:

  1. I remember we used to actually be able to shop at Citiwear...what happened to it? I'm not any bigger than I was before!! I hate shopping for these reasons...