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A Size 8 in a Size 0 World...

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A Size 8 in a Size 0 World

Since when did size matter so much? Striving for the elusive size 0 is all for nothing

Rita-Wilson-lg.jpg By Rita Wilson

You are holding the September fall-fashion issue — the issue that is so heavy, it lets you believe you are working out with barbells just by reading it. As I write this article, it is late June and I am in a wet bathing suit. (It's probably August when you are reading this, so you're most likely in a bathing suit, too.) Eating a bag of potato chips, I am contemplating a question of the utmost importance: When did small become the new large?

As fall approaches and we are coerced, yet again, into buying heavy wool clothing in the heat of summer, I ponder other pressing questions, like Hillary or Barack, hybrid or electric? And why is there a size 0? Isn't that an oxymoron? Size 0? Does that mean that it doesn't exist? Why not call it size diddly-squat? Speaking of, has anyone out there tried to buy anything in a "size" only to be told, "Oh...sorry, we don't have it in that size." (Whoa, I think I have just been insulted by a waif in leggings.) I have marveled at how the tabloids will denigrate/celebrate a lady for being too thin, then too "fat." Make up your minds, tabloids! I am over trying to keep up with what size is acceptable or "fashionable," or "who wore it best," since no one seems to be able to define exactly what that is. And aren't we, as women, past that? Some magazines make me think women actually care who wore it best. I don't think we do.

There are people out there who are comfortable in their own skin, whatever size it comes in. However, I have noticed a change: sizing that is supposed to run small/medium/large but for some reason runs in sizes 1/2/3/4 in an attempt to make us feel smaller than we are. I have tried to buy a T-shirt in a size 3 (read: large) only to find that I needed a 4. (Read: You must be a porker!) A 3 used to be a medium, 2 was a small, and so on. Now a 3 is a large and a 4 is an extra large. Or is a 3 an extra large and a 4 something only the giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk" would wear? I am still confused — and now wish I had gotten a degree in mathematics.

The fact is, I am comfortable with my size (U.S. 8, Italian 42-44, U.K. 12, medium, 3, et cetera). I like the way I feel, that I am living and enjoying life without starving. In my youth, I never had to watch my weight. Who did? I love sports and find the most enjoyment in anything that takes place outdoors. Especially eating. Then there's genetics. Both my parents are in good shape at 85 and 87 years of age. I have carried two children, though, and the abs aren't what they were (she says, studying a picture of Lisa Rinna), so there is this desire to stave off what a trainer I know once called Creeping Obesity.

Ah, yes, my precious. This is what happens naturally as we age. First it's a gain of one pound one year, then another next year, and before you know it, you have put on 10 pounds. Once you hear about the stealthy menace, Creeping Obesity, you look for it, much like the Scots trying to spot the Loch Ness Monster. So the exercise pumps up and the Cokes go bye-bye, replaced by Coke Zero (Coke Diddly-Squat in my house) and carrot sticks, and you wait. You watch the scale. I lost 13 pounds last year on the Atkins Diet but gained it back. I found that the South Beach Diet (wheat toast! raspberries!) was a little more forgiving. The best thing, though, is to eat a little bit of everything and do anything that gets you moving. Every day. Then you can be whatever size makes you feel good and not freak out that the stalking creature, Creeping Obesity, will attack you.

Certainly, there are times when I wish I were smaller. For instance, when I have to go to some special event and need to find a dress. The most spectacular and special dresses are haute couture. Since ordering one takes months, designers often loan out the runway samples. These dresses are cut in sizes so small (minus 0) that when I have tried them on, the image has been somewhat like that of the ugly stepsisters trying to get into that glass slipper.

But thanks to some wonderful buyers, stores actually carry sizes for us nonzeros. I love that Prada always has a 44 in stock. Miuccia knows that a woman wants to look great and feel comfortable. Prada's gorgeous Empire cuts are classic and divinely comfortable. Alber Elbaz from Lanvin knows a thing or two about sexy ease. His loose waistbands and silky sheaths make me weep into my crème brûlée with happiness. Consuelo Castiglioni of Marni knows about comfort and style. (Show me a woman who doesn't know the wonders of a loose Marni top and I will show you a woman who has not sat in a car for a long period of time.) These designers understand how to make a woman feel comfortable without sacrificing sex appeal. And what is more sexy than a woman enjoying life, having fun, and being comfortable in her own skin? Imagine being with a man who didn't eat or was obsessed with what he wore: "Hey, babe, does my butt look big in these jeans?" I'd say, Throw him to the Loch Ness Monster!

So, at the end of the summer day, I am okay with what size I am. I am striving to be healthy and happy, creating my QOL (Quality of Life), loving my family, watching my kids grow, swimming in the ocean, hiking that trail, eating that tiropita my mom made, and sitting here in my wet bathing suit, wondering what I will buy for fall. What could be better? Maybe if I had that degree in mathematics … 

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