Guys could care less, but women can be very size-conscious!
By CHUCK McFADDEN
AT ONE POINT during my checkered career in the news and then the public relations business, I spent nine months as the head of media relations for a department store chain. (Four hundred people applied for the job; 399 lucky bastards didnt get it, but thats another story. Youll hear it when I think youre old enough.)
Anyway, I occasionally had to brush up against a truly mysterious world:
In the likely event that you are a male person who doesnt understand anything about those five words, I will now explain, mon ami. They are all part of the nomenclature of how women classify the shape and size of the garments they purchase.
I am at heart a journalist, so ever since my department store days, I have had a quiet voice within me asking:
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THESE THINGS MEAN?
And the whispered answer:
NO. ARE YOU KIDDING?
Once, on the way back from a meeting, I quizzed a savvy vice president of the department store chain about juniors, misses, etc. She started to try to construct a set of definitions for me, but quickly gave up, sighed, and said she didnt know. Shed been in the business 25 years.
We all can pretty well guess what plus sizes are--the woman is a tub.
But what is a junior? Can you wear a junior dress if youre over 23? Do you have to have the same name as your mother?
If youre married, are you entitled to wear a Miss? Is it moral to wear a Miss if youre not a virgin? Why no Ms.?
Petites may be the biggest mystery of all. Every woman wants to be petite, right? So why dont smart marketing types list all womens clothing in some variation of Petite? That may produce something like Petite-Plus, but what the hell. I think were missing a bet here.
The Crucial Sizes of Women
JUNIOR MISS PETITE PLUS
And then there are the names stores come up with for the assortment of female garments they have on offer:
Career Collection What does that mean? You spent some time as a dentist, then went on to work in a shoe store, then tried MacDonalds and wound up doing brain surgery?
Career Casual. You chuck the boss under the chin when you pass him in the hallway? Put your feet up on the desk? Drink at lunch? Act as if every day is Friday? Or do you just wear the Career Casual stuff on Fridays?
And then there are the sizes. If you buy a mans shirt, you will find it marked, say, 15-33. That means the neckband measures 15 inches around and the sleeve length is 33 inches. Straightforward, like we guys are.
But look at a womans shirt. It says 8.
Im told by one who knows that the more expensive the article of clothing is, the smaller the size listed on the tag. Women who want to pay through the nose at an upscale store can brag about being only a size 6, even if they morph into a size 8 if they go to a lesser store. (What size is she really? What is the sound of one hand clapping?)
I believe women regard the size/price tag connection as a little built-in perk, like the walnut trays that fold down from the back of the front seats in a Jaguar.
We men, of course, are much too sensible to go for anything like the nomenclature women are saddled with. But its fun to think what the world would be like if mens clothes started coming at you as womens clothes do.
Since we men are so logical, wed be content with just one category. None of this juniors/misses/petites frippery for us. Nope. One category.
McFadden, who can recall having actually been called a hunk once, would now be a Paunch.
© 2001 by Charles M. McFadden. The drawings are from IMSI's Master/Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. East, San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA.
You can comment on this column or contact Chuck McFadden with an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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