Shopping Tip: Ignore the Clothing Size Tag

Shopping Tip: Ignore the Clothing Size Tag

Welcome to the weekend ladies! I got a tiny wake up call this week. As I got dressed for my day, I found things that fit me last season don’t fit as well now. The size tags still read medium but they fit like extra small! How’d that happen? Eating my body weight in potato chips over the past year hasn’t helped but I’m shocked they all showed up this week!

I knew my weight was up and assumed a tunic top would hide it. Many may but this one wouldn’t button up. My back is now broader, my tummy is definitely thicker but my arms and thighs are also larger. To be honest, even my shoes are snugger! I decided to wear this tunic, open and layered long necklaces to distract the eye. Because I love it, I will keep it in my guestroom closet until it fits me better.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing Standout Shirt from Soft Surroundings

Even though we know one brand’s small is equal to another brand’s large, many women won’t wear a size out of their comfort zone…pun intended. Ignore the size on a label and buy what flatters the body you have now. If you get nuts about the number on the tag, cut it out when you get home. I usually do anyway because I hate how scratchy they are.

If your weight fluctuates don’t see it as a failure. It’s part of life. We don’t need to wear tight clothes to remind us to not overeat. We need to wear clothes that fit so we continue to feel good about ourselves.

Remember size tags are a suggestion! Try everything on and don’t take the number personally. Be honest with yourself and buy what fits you… now. Your confidence will thank you.

Do you let the number on a size tag affect whether you buy a garment?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Affiliate links within this post may generate income for AWSL.




  1. Karen
    February 10, 2018 / 4:25 am

    Perfect timing, given it is mid winter and most us are feeling some version of this!

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:05 am

      I feel like a bear in hibernation except I won’t be sleeping it off 🙂

  2. February 10, 2018 / 4:39 am

    I love your tunic shirt!! Are they still available? And yes I used to fret over my clothes size. I still do but if I like something I’ll get it anyway. I like layering. even in the summertime. Nothing worse than going to a restaurant in the summertime and it’s freezing. I certainly can’t enjoy my meal. Tunic shirts provide a panache. You can wear a long necklace like you are. I just started following you and I do like your suggestions.

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:07 am

      Yes it’s available. There’s a link below a few of my pictures labeled tunic. I’m wearing a M in the photo. Welcome Marisa

  3. MonicaR
    February 10, 2018 / 5:12 am

    I have had the same problem Jennifer! Sometimes I have to buy a large and immediately cut out the tag. This is such good advice to wear what feels comfortable and looks flattering.I tell myself I’ll wait till I lose 10 pounds but that doesn’t seem to be easy. This outfit looks very nice on you. I may copy it!

    • Hedda
      February 10, 2018 / 5:20 am

      I call labels sticking out of shirts and blouses, ‘Label-itus’. I always cut out labels as soon as I hang new purchases, because, you know, closets can be awfully snobbish. I’m also thinking of establishing a company employing people who follow you home after shopping just to tear open plastic packages and scraping off price tags!

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:08 am

      Copy away! Size tags are guidance systems not judgements.

  4. Hedda
    February 10, 2018 / 5:15 am

    Once, clothes were made in the USA and looked terrific, sizing was sizing. Even in the snotty mall stores, sloppy handiwork is prominent so one must be careful. I am seriously thinking about buying a sewing machine. I notice that fabric stores in my county’s three malls are always busy, and I can’t get into sewing classes because they’re full! My granddaughters deserve nice clothes–is this where feminism and globalism brought us? Back to the home bent over a sewing machine to make our own clothes?

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:20 am

      Interesting observation. I used to sew all my clothes and loved the creative process. High price doesn’t guarantee high quality. It’s a shame.

  5. Roxanne
    February 10, 2018 / 6:29 am

    Jennifer, the sneaky little Tuck Fairy got in your closet! She sneaks in at night and takes up your clothes!!
    I’ve learned size labels mean nothing…sometimes I take 3 different sizes in the dressing room just for starters. And I hate stuff labeled 8-10 or 12-14…I’m a 10-12. Men’s clothing isn’t sized like that. I don’t want to wear too small, but the larger size hangs off my narrow shoulders. And those scratchy labels, don’t get me started!

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:23 am

      Lol!! I wish. Altering shoulders is expensive. You’re better off buying the fit for your shoulder and taking in the body.8-10 is a lazy way to label and they have to make fewer sizes. I doesnt make it easier for us though.

  6. Renée
    February 10, 2018 / 6:59 am

    What’s interesting is that I like the striped tunic so much better open, as you are wearing it, than buttoned, as in the linked photo! So perhaps a drawback in one area, weight gain, has the side benefit of making us creative with our clothes.
    But you’re right: size labels have to be viewed as suggestions, not definitions. I find that this goes both ways, as I will choose sizes that are both too big and too small, and it often takes a saleswoman to suggest the correct size.

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:25 am

      I liked it open too. My necklaces showed better;) Understanding the fit we like is our first step.

  7. Laurel
    February 10, 2018 / 7:06 am

    I love that tunic and have considered buying it more than once. What stops me is the pulling at the bust on the model who doesn’t appear to have a large bust, so I know it would pull on my ‘girls’. And going up a size will make it too large in the shoulders in my experience. This is my issue with many styles that are sized s/m/l. I do think it looks cute worn open as you are here.

    Sizing is so all over the map, even on brands I wear regularly, that I have to try on. Frustrating. And as for labels, like you I cut them out…it’s rare they don’t make me itch. Ironically, I find some of the Eileen Fisher labels the worst. So I have no idea if my EF tops are S, PM, M, etc., anymore.

    As for seasonal weight gain, I know it’s February and this is typically not my best season. Ha! I have a very old pair of pants that I bought at Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton almost 20 years ago. They’re hopelessly outdated, but I save them and try them on every spring to see where I stand. Occasionally I think of donating them, but they’re just a great measure of how much I ate in any given winter. 🙂

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:27 am

      Clever idea Laurel! The gauge that doesn’t change. I sometimes wonder what size my garment is when I want to replace it. That is frustrating. I have several sizes of EF pants from many years ago. The beauty is they all still fit me;)

  8. Arlene
    February 10, 2018 / 7:33 am

    I swear some things shrink hanging in the closet ! I agree about cutting out the size tag. It is just a guideline.

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:29 am

      I know mine do;) Happy weekend Arlene!

  9. February 10, 2018 / 7:41 am

    Jennifer, are your pants year round wear?
    They look to be comfortable and dressy as well..

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:31 am

      They are. I wear these week in and week out all year. Similar to a thick legging but not that snug. More a pant.

  10. Brenda
    February 10, 2018 / 7:45 am

    You look fabulous! Your hair looks really lovely here, too! I always gain over the holidays so I am fighting that as well as being overweight anyway! You are so inspirational. Thank you for sharing!

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 8:32 am

      Thanks for being here Brenda. I prefer to share honestly because I think it helps us all. Happy Weekend!

  11. February 10, 2018 / 8:04 am

    I will confess that I get very unhappy when I can’t fit into a medium! I will buy the large if it fits and I am comfortable, and yes, I cut out the tag as soon as I know I will keep the item! ugh…

  12. Janet
    February 10, 2018 / 8:05 am

    Jennifer you look great in your outfit because it shows the full length of your legs, making you look taller and slimmer. I am tired of extra long tunics that make one’s legs look stumpy, but that is what many manufacturers are offering. if you hadn’t posted about it no one would know you are camouflaging a few extra pounds. You look terrific.

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:47 pm

      Thanks Janet! Proportion at work here;) Have a great weekend.

  13. February 10, 2018 / 8:16 am

    I have to try on clothes…sizing is not universal and we can’t allow the tag to control our self esteem. Vertical stripes are best for me! Thanks Jennifer…

  14. Berylfrey
    February 10, 2018 / 8:32 am

    Clothing has a habit of shrinking in the closet——must be the elves.

  15. Joanna
    February 10, 2018 / 8:50 am

    Well, you look great. If you’ve put on weight you certainly know how to hide it. I try not to beat myself up over a couple of pounds, remembering we have to enjoy life too. But once I hit 140, I’m watching what I eat and upping my walking time till I lose it.
    I have no problem trying on and buying a larger size, as it is only a label. Cut it out if you’re really bothered by it. I know so many women who won’t even try on a larger size in a garment. Do they think the label will make them larger?

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:06 pm

      I’m not sure what their hesitation is. We look larger when we wear tighter clothes. I’m closer to 145 now so not thrilled. 7 pounds has crept up on me.

  16. Karen H.
    February 10, 2018 / 9:07 am

    I love your honesty about weight gain. I’m dealing with that issue as well, especially since retirement. I need a reset. I totally agree with your tip of ignoring labels. I just don’t like sales reps giving me a strange look when they think I should be wearing a small or tighter fit. We know what feels comfortable on us!

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:07 pm

      I never take salespeople’s advice on what does or does not either flatter me or fit me. We all know intuitively.

  17. Joanne
    February 10, 2018 / 9:15 am

    You look adorable in your shirt-jacket. it is such a cute outfit. Thank you for this post, I feel so much better now!

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:08 pm

      Thanks! My pleasure. Have a great weekend.

  18. Connie Miller
    February 10, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Gotta love that guest room closet. I have several visitors hanging in mine.

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:09 pm

      Me too. I don’t let them visit for years but short term until things adjust;)

  19. Eileen
    February 10, 2018 / 12:37 pm

    Jennifer, you look great. Love the way you styled the shirt. And you gave me a great idea for the shirts in the back of my closet (stored there because of a thyroid-idduced weight gain). The necklace is beautiful and really makes the outfit.

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:10 pm

      Thanks Eileen. It’s three necklaces I layered together for more impact.

  20. Allison
    February 10, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    I especially love your comment about your shoes getting tighter. After I had my second child at 42 I noticed my feet, that had returned to my usual 8 1/2 after number 1 five years before, did not shrink!! They remained size 9 even though I attained my thinnest weight in my fifties. My mom on the other hand persisted wearing her 9’s until after her bunion surgery when she was measured and found out a 10 was her best fit…she was told that wearing shoes that did not fit may have contributed to her bunions ( as well as genetics) She came from that generation that felt a small foot size was ‘dainty’ it took major surgery to make her realize the error of her ways. Also I notice that North American shoe sites persist in equating European size 39 with a size 9. It’s really the same as a 8.5 a 40 is a size 9. Although I just exchanged a pair of expensive 9 booties for 9.5 ( FYI Blondo is a snug fit, I should have known better as I own other boots from them that I had to size up. I guess we just have to forget the size and simply purchase what fits.

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      I totally agree. 40 is closer to a nine. Even a 40 1/2 is a 9. My feet go up and down with my weight. I wore a 8 before children then a 9 1/2-10 after.

  21. Ruth
    February 10, 2018 / 1:13 pm

    I always cut the tags out of my tops no matter what the size says. Unless I’m going to wear it inside out who knows anyway! I also have to cut those silly ribbons at the shoulders off that I think are supposed to be used to hang better because they always seem to peek out of neck or arm holes. ????

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 2:46 pm

      I always cut those silly ribbons out too! They’re a dumb idea and seldom help things hand better anyway. Good hangers make all the difference.

  22. Beverly Ward
    February 10, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    I am so glad that you shared this blog post at this point in time…I too have found that my clothing has been pinching in all the wrong places lately!! Your candidness helped me to realize that size truly is “just a suggestion” to be tried on every time I want to purchase clothing. Thanks again for your realistic messages and for your help with the aging process that we are all undergoing with time!

    • Jennifer
      February 10, 2018 / 10:33 pm

      Thank you for being here Beverly. My goal is always to be honest and hope my candidness helps women connect with one another. None of us are alone with our struggles

  23. Kathy
    February 11, 2018 / 12:23 am

    I learned some time ago not to be too concerned about size. As one reader commented, I could take 3 pairs of pants, all the exact same size, make and color, and each one would fit me differently. I have jeans ranging from size 6 to 8 and tops that range from medium all the way to extra large. I cut the tags off, too, not because of the size on the label but because my skin is sensitive and those darn tags scratch and irritate it to no end. If your clothing flatters the body you have and fits you well, who cares what size it is?

    • Jennifer
      February 11, 2018 / 7:16 am

      I totally agree!

  24. Julie,Melbourne,Australia
    February 11, 2018 / 2:03 am

    I really like your outfit and your honesty.You look fine to me.Remember it’s winter in your part of the world. and you were unwell and that’s probably why your weight has changed.
    Isn’t it strange how sizing varies and I’m convinced it’s done to do our heads in.Sizing not only varies in clothing but also underwear,especially bras.It just shows that you have to try on everything.I really like the idea of cutting labels off :I haven’t thought of doing that before.

    • Jennifer
      February 11, 2018 / 7:21 am

      Varying measurements for sizes make it tougher on the consumer. Then there are UK sizes, Italian sizes etc. My bra bands have been shrinking too! I think that’s potato chip related also;)

      • Julie,Melbourne,Australia
        February 11, 2018 / 3:58 pm

        Sounds like you love those potato chips!

  25. February 11, 2018 / 3:31 am

    So true! I have clothes in my wardrobe which vary in size from a UK size 12 to an 18 and they all fit perfectly! Different manufacturers size differently so it’s always worth trying on and knowing what kind of style suits you. I struggle to wear dresses since my bottom half is a different size to my top half too.

    • Jennifer
      February 11, 2018 / 7:23 am

      Dresses are tough for me too. I buy for the top half and slim the skirt part by taking in the seams.

  26. Gerrie
    February 11, 2018 / 5:03 am

    Recently, I lost weight and spent the day visiting different stores that I liked, to see what what my new size would be. I did find a difference sizes in different stores and brands. So much so, that I made a notebook with the different brands and the sizes that fit me best. I also remember my mother telling me that clothes of better quality would run smaller than less expensive brands. I had to laugh because there was an instance where that still seemed to be true. I have to wonder if that “mother knows best” knowledge is still true.

    • Jennifer
      February 11, 2018 / 7:33 am

      I remember when expensive clothes had more generous measurements too! I’m not sure anymore because I don’t buy designer clothes.

  27. February 11, 2018 / 10:01 am

    I think the tunic looks great how you’ve styled it here. And yes, ignore size and focus on fit!

  28. Jessica Conick
    February 12, 2018 / 11:07 am

    Great message and you still look amazing in this! I love the new way that you styled it!

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