Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Clothing Size Conundrum

My four year old daughter has finally discovered one of the puzzles of femininity: odd clothing sizes.

This is driving her slightly crazy already. The crux of the issue for her right now centers around two pairs of pajamas, her favorite winter pj's. There are the Elmo footie pajamas from Christmas before last, size 4T. And then there are the snowman footie pajamas, from this Christmas, size 5T.

It drives her batty that she can wear them both. They both fit. The 4T is smaller and tighter than it was last year (she can remember when the Elmo pjs were slightly loose and they aren't any more) and the 5T is still loose and a bit long in the leg, but they both work just fine. Tonight she launched into the topic again while standing on tiptoe by the bathroom sink and drinking her little paper cup of water.

S: Mommy, why do I have pajamas that are four and pajamas that are five?

M: Because we got the 4s last year when you were smaller. And we got the 5s this year because you've grown.

S: Why don't I wear pajamas that are size 4 and a half?

M: (as patiently as possible) Because they don't make four and a half.

S: Why not? I'm four and a half!

M: Yes, but they don't make clothes in half sizes. Shoes, but not clothes.

S: (stubbornly) Shoes are clothes.

M: Well, sort of. Like clothes for your feet.

S: Pajamas aren't clothes either!

M: Yes they are. They're....

S & M: (in unison) Night clothes!

M: Right.

S: But why do my 4s still fit?

M: They just do. You still wear some of your 4s.

S: Why don't ALL my 4s fit still?

M: (sighing) Because different companies make the clothes, and they all make them differently. Each one has a different idea about how big most four year olds are. So some make the clothes bigger, and some a little smaller.

....Warning...not the time to discuss that our cheap-one-temperature-only clothes dryer tends to shrink things too....

S: So why did you get me 5s?

M: Because you were starting to outgrow the 4s. It's better to buy clothes a little bit too big, because then you can still grow into them. They last longer.

Sigh. Poor girl. She doesn't know that this is just the beginning. Wait till she figures out that clothing size will not always correspond to her age! And that the clothing company's idea of what sizes fit certain women will always be bizarre and somehow just a little bit disconnected from reality. Wait till she discovers juniors, petites, misses, women's, plus, maternity and the seventeen other different words one can find to describe various cuts and sizes of womens' clothing. Wait until she's standing in the fitting room of a shopping mall department store one day, staring at the price tag of a petite blouse and trying to figure out why it costs twelve dollars more than the larger misses size blouse, because someone out there decided that it's a specialty size, even though it actually took less material to make.

Perhaps she should learn to sew? (And I should too!)

Ah just wait, my beautiful little girl. The fun is only beginning!


Erin said...

Ah, the joys and mysteries of clothing sizes... :-P I've been lucky in that my mom and I are pretty much the same size and so can share our clothes; saves us both some trouble!

Beth said...

That is lucky! :-) I used to share clothes with my sisters and I miss that.

I actually hope that S. ends up taller than her short mom, although I'm sure somewhere along the way we'll share clothing!