Everyone’s thinking about our feels these days.
The dope looking lingerie brand New Moon is serving up fluro bras and panties with complimentary adjectives instead of actual sizes. Want some undies? You can choose from: “gorgeous,” “lovely,” and “beautiful.”
You wouldn’t know what to buy from the feelgood adjectives they use instead of sizes for the stuff. You just have to explore their size chart to figure out if you take a “lovely” or a “gorgeous” or a “beautiful.” That’s their answer to our discomfort with labels.
Like Lonely Girl Lingerie before it, their promotional images are a male gaze-free time featuring happy women of different sizes having fun together, which is a refreshing sight where lingerie is concerned. Most importantly, their casting for these images gets an A+, gender diversity, check, body diversity, check, not making it seem as though their models have Barbie legs, check. Though unfortunately, their sizes only go up to the 14-16 range. But what’s the implication of banishing numbers and words that mean things about size? That there’s something inherently offensive about the numbers for us.
Similarly, the activewear brand Manifesta peddling body positivity has replaced the numerical system to clue all the unique female snowflakes in on where they belong with names like “rose” and “dahlia.” Based on customer feedback that the sizing was confusing, each harmless little flower name now comes with a qualifier (formerly XL, for example.) As in, formerly in a cruel world where we could handle the truth about our bralettes, our dimensions weren’t described as sonnets.
It’s an interesting move to shield us from numbers that can be justifiably loaded, discouraging, and uncomfortable for some shoppers depending on wherever each woman is along her exciting walk of life. In fact, women have told us that even the letter “L,” for large, makes them want to rip the label from their shirt. It might be a very cozy way to shop for women who hold onto the fact that Nicole Richie once laughed at a size 14 camo gear on The Simple Life. Maybe it’s just like Billy Shakespeare said, something something that which would be called “lovely” or “rose,” would be sweeter.
I could also see the value in providing women with the chart with their dimensions so that when they (hopefully with Ray Romano in Vinyl,) take the skivvies off, they’re the only ones who know what size they are according to that brand. This way, smaller or lager, it’s her prerogative to share what she is. And if someone else can’t peep a tag, they’re just going to have to DEAL with the fact that she’s a “gorgeous.”
For others, it might be a big ole spoonful of patronizing. Even in a highly categorized existence, women who know they’re a 2X, XS, or a 16 in most brands are doing just fine with that knowledge, thanks. And as long as the larger version of a “Love Your Curves” top isn’t a separate tab on a site that obviously has their respective hearts or business plans in the right place, customers might appreciate the ease of locating her threads by the number. (Luckily Neon Moon pieces that fit ranges.)
Of course, sizing is totally screwy and far from standard, but rather than protect us from one brand’s reality of what we fit into, the real charge is to accept that women, like apartments, chocolate bars on Halloween, and egos at Coachella, come in different sizes. And a numerical value can be necessary. At least the numbers are better than a separate category for “plus.” All this flowery flattery obviously equates to a numerical value for every pair of panties. The dimensions might be less wrapped in stigma because less people talk about them, even though rappers DO spell out the exact right measurements we should aim for if you’re dying to please them.
But the real trouble is heaping so much anxiety around the sizes, not the numbers or medium tags themselves. Sure, not every woman is ready to “own” her label as it’s decided by most brands. The reason these creative ideas exist is because size is such a major thang still. But it’s tired routines designed to make women shrink themselves in certain areas and augment themselves in others that’s the hurdle to get over.
We all know vanity sizing exists, so no one really knows what end is up or who thinks they’re a 12 and who thinks they’re a 10. Universal Standard even starts with “small” at a larger size, offering women who are larger the same label gradient as their fellow squad members who shop at mainstream stores, and that’s flattering. But as anyone will tell you, the number 16 would be innocuous if not for size discrimination. There’s nothing un-lovely about it. It’s just the stigma. And if brands and people started recognizing all of the different sizes, and we let go of the idea that if you’re a size 18 you might as well forget the idea of “self-love,” then we’d be getting somewhere.
How do you think sizes should be labeled?