The Italian Landscape Jenny skirt by Pinup Girl Clothing is not a new piece to me, technically. I first bought this skirt over two years ago, as my first PUG piece, and it still remains one of my favourite items of clothing of all time. It’s saddened me, therefore, that due to my weight gain in the past year I haven’t been able to wear my Venice Jenny either without some incredibly cinched discomfort and/or some serious muffin top that I’ve had to hide with a thick belt.
It’s such a popular style that when their yearly restock comes during spring/summer it sells out super fast. This year PUG listened to their ardent fans and added pockets to this and every other restocked or new Jenny skirt and dress. So, you know, all things considered, I had to do it–I had to buy the next size up. Doing so would not only mean I could own my favourite print in a pocketed version, practically reason enough, but it would also mean I can comfortably wear it in the next size up without feeling tortured about my weight gain.
The thing is, sometimes I’m able to keep up a sensible food pattern and regular exercise, and sometimes I’m kind of crap at that. When the latter happens, it’s not my favourite place to be in physically and it’s nobody’s fault but my own, but the older I get the less interested I am in shaming myself for it or guilting myself out. Weight gain happens. It’s not the end of the world. I can slim down again if I commit, or I can live my life just as fabulously with a little extra meat on my bones. In honour of that balance, I’ve been sensible in what items I add to my wardrobe so that I have beautiful things that make me feel fabulous regardless of which dress size my form is currently conforming to. Which brings us squarely back to the Italian landscape Jenny. Even though I wanted to buy it to enable me to feel hot and chic in the next size up, actually sizing up was kind of a headache.
Several of my PUG-loving friends, including, Claudia, the lovely owner of incredible UK vintage-style boutique Deadly Is The Female, indulged me in discussing the widespread sizing confusion related to the recent restock of this skirt.
The long story made short is that this stock run of the skirt came in smaller than the typical PUG size charts. A size L is normally for 30-31 inch waists, the XL for 33-34, the 2X for 36-38, and so on. In this run, the XL became sizes only 30-31, the 2X 33-34, etc. I wanted to size up for a 34inch waist, so the size charts told me I would need the 2X to do that from this restock. Okay, no problem, I would size up into the 2X; I’ve become a more solid XL than my old PUG L these days, but it’s just a label, so who cares?
However reports began trickling in that ladies were receiving their supposedly-small-running Venice skirts and finding that they were running larger than the newly updated size chart stated. The XL was actually widely reported as being a 32 waist, not the 30-31 on the size chart. And that’s where I began to worry. I wanted a 33-34 waistband. If the 2X I was supposed to order actually came up larger nearer 35+, it would be too loose on me. Was the 2X going to be huge and the XL too small? Would I have to skip this skirt entirely, or buy larger and have it taken in?
It’s so silly and trivial, but I honestly worried and dithered over what to do. For $98 a skirt plus international delivery, it wasn’t a simple matter that I could order both and return one/both if it didn’t work out for me without it costing me a lot of money and hassle in delivery fees and customs. Sure, I could just write this restock off, but I really didn’t want to. I missed wearing my favourite skirt. Not having access to the larger size was making me feel guilty about not fitting the size I did have, and the shame spiral was beginning to lure me in. I was about ready to feel angry and disappointed with myself when in swooped Claudia Deadly to save the day–and my favoured weekend cake.
Since Deadly Is The Female is a UK store and website, ordering both sizes to compare and potentially return was a much easier and less costly process than ordering from America. Plus, it was a kismet-level, timely moment, as Deadly had only one of each size remaining as of the moment Claudia was due to leave the shop for her honeymoon. She put them both aside for me, left instructions for the staff for my order, and went off to Greece having made this concerned PUG fan very happy, with an additional assurance that she was sure the XL would fit me fine.
She was right. Past iterations of this print have run snug with no stretch, snug with a bit of stretch, and now a little small with much more give. The Deadly size chart for this style is more accurate than the chart on PUG’s own product page, but even so I found the XL still had more give than expected. To test that give, layering up on some fluffy sweaters over a day of substantial bloating, I managed to squeeze this skirt on and still close it measuring at 35.5inches. If you really do have a waist of 35.5 inches, that’s going to feel incredibly snug and likely not comfortable, not unless your waist is squishy and you are comfortable using intense shapewear such as boned cinchers and corsets to cinch down for long periods of time beneath your clothing. So consider that in that scenario, while my skirt can reach 35.5inches around, it’s not really supposed to and you might not feel comfortable in it trying to force the issue. I merely wanted to test the give factor. More practically speaking, I think if you’re 32-34 inches this skirt will work for you in this XL.
All of this sizing confusion, the temptation to feel badly about myself, the wanting what I can’t have and the finding out I could have it after all has really reminded me what a struggle it can be to live inside our own bodies sometimes, even when it comes to seemingly trivial things like clothing it the way you want. It can be frustrating when you’re not even sure of your own sizing, and when you’re tempted to blame yourself guiltily, full of shame, for not fitting into particular size charts or perimeters. Please remember that as annoying as it is to not know what size to order, it’s not your body’s fault and it’s not something you should get down about. I know all these issues are tangled up in much bigger things, all interconnected and dependent upon a dozen different factors within ourselves and without, but it is just clothing. If one particular skirt or top or dress is cut weirdly or sized badly and doesn’t fit you, that is not a poor reflection on you in any way, ever.
Yes, where possible finding a local (or even national, in cases like mine) stockist of your favourite brands will help you ease issues like this, and many stores like Deadly is the Female are more than happy to do everything they can to help. But just remember, at the end of the day, when you’re dealing with sizing and shopping issues, when you’re one inch away from fitting something you love and it makes you want to cry because for god’s sakes, why can’t you just be the right size for once?
Stop. It’s not you.
That’s not what’s happening here. So pause, breathe, wipe your face if you need to. It’s just the dress. Or the skirt. Or whatever. It’s not you. You aren’t trying to find something to fit into, not literally: you’re trying to find something that fits you, your personality and your style and your happiness. You’re looking for something that will make you feel amazing when you put it on, regardless of your size. If something doesn’t fit you, all it means is that it is the wrong size, not you. It’s just an item of clothing. You will find one that will make you feel much calmer, happier and more comfortable. If that means sizing up or buying something else entirely, that’s okay. That’s wonderful. Just remember that your body is a marvel and a magic wand and a shooting star, and breathe. Keep breathing. Because you’re not a size. You’re a blessing.
Secret bonus butt squeeze for anyone who read this far.
A million thanks to Claudia at Deadly Is The Female for being so helpful, kind and downright wonderful all the time, always.