Steve & Barry's Shopping Adventure: That Size Eight Is SOOO Fat.

Yesterday I trekked over the Beverly Connection shopping complex over on La Cienega Blvd and Third. I went to the new Steve and Barry's shop over there. You've never heard of Steve and Barry's? Yeah, me either. At least not until I was sitting in my hairdresser's chair on Saturday, reading "O" magazine while getting some of my hair chopped off. This month's "O" (as in "Oprah") has a spread of Sarah Jessica Parker's new clothing line, Bitten, and it's available at Steve and Barry's.

Now, I'm not, as a whole, a big fan of SJP. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've only seen "Sex and the City" twice in my whole life. I wasn't particularly impressed with the show and I've always wondered how frequently the concept of STDs was discussed. But maybe that's just me and my germ-phobia. Or, HIV phobia, whatever you want to call it.

Anyway, SJP's clothes at Steve and Barry's are pretty cute. And, major shocker here, the prices are dirt cheap. How cheap? Well, right now I'm wearing a pair of jeans I got for $14. Yeah, that cheap. This is not another overpriced celebrity clothing line with logos all on the outside of the clothes. That's quite a relief. We'll see if the jeans fall apart in the washer, but in the meantime, they're pretty fly. And did I mention already that they were $14?

Now, to get to this one pair of jeans, I had to try on at least seven or eight different pairs. You just never know how the sizing is going to work out with a new line of clothing, and there are so many different cuts to choose from. Skinny jean. Boyfriend jean. Low rise, also known as ass-crack jeans. Ultra low rise, also known as "You'd better forget about sitting down" jeans. High waist. Bootcut.

I made it easy on myself and ruled out the ultra low rise and skinny jeans. Both are just ridiculous and I'm sure millions of women the world over can't wait for them to go out of style.

So, I'm in the dressing room, almost finished trying on my armfuls of jeans when I overhear the mother/daughter pair in the dressing room next to mine. This mother says to her daughter, "What size are those?"

The daughter replied back, "An eight. Do they look too tight?"

"No, they look fine but they're an eight. You should be wearing a four, or at the most, a six. What's happening to you? We're going to have to get you to a gym or you need to stop eating or something because you're just blowing up!"

I was absolutely horrified by this conversation and immediately found myself thinking about how if I had a daughter, this is exactly the kind of ridiculousness I'd have to protect her from. I know childhood obesity is a problem in America, but a size eight is fat? Maybe if you're five feet tall or something, but come on, regardless, I was so shocked by this conversation. This mom was single handedly ruining my Steve and Barry's shopping experience. And killing her daughter's self-esteem.

"I mean, don't you know they do vanity sizing all the time and an eight is really a ten? Do you want to be a size ten?"

The daughter mumbled, "No," and tried to protest a little by saying, "But I think these clothes run a little small."

"It doesn't matter. You should be wearing the six, not an eight."

I hung out in my dressing room till they opened the door to theirs. I wanted to get a look at this mom and daughter. The daughter was about 5' 8" or so, and looked totally healthy, totally normal. The mom had that super-skinny tanorexic, LA plastic surgery look to her. She looked mean.

The conversation made me not want to get my jeans at all. It made me think about all the actresses, SJP included, that diet down to nothingness and then become the norm for body size. I'm no advocate for being overweight, especially if it's negatively affecting your health, but I'm not trying to look like I just spend two months on a deserted island. Although, if I did look like that, I'm sure there are those folks who'd say, "Oh wow! You look sooo good!"

So, yeah, you already know I got my jeans. Like I said, $14...I couldn't resist. And I don't care what size they were. I just wanted them to fit and look good on me.

I wish that teenage girl had a mom who felt the same.


Jon said…
That sounds like a sad situation. The tanorexic (sp) mom should be ashamed of herself.
tamigill said…
Hey there, Liz -

This makes me feel so sick. I can't imagine what kinds of issues that young girl is going to grow up with and pass on to her own daughter one day. I'm glad you posted this; it really makes me think (as all of your posts do). My daughter is only 2, and I'm going to be sure to pay attention to what types of values I'm passing along to her.
Anonymous said…
My daughter is 4 and is pretty fit, but her step-brother has a tendency to tell her she's fat. I get LIVID!!! LIVID LIVID!! I've already told his father that if he tells my daughter that she's fat one more time he's never going to be allowed to see his sister again!! Rash yes..but the boy has problems outside of that little comment...and yes to be fair, I've told him numerous times not ever say that to his sister!
I am more afraid of an anorexic bulimic child then an overweight child...and my child is the last thing from overweight...okay yeah this topic is just a touchy one for me...Like you Liz I'm all for healthy weight children...but its like in America today we're either fighting the "TOO SKINNY" image or the "OBESE" image...its hard to find the middle!
Anonymous said…
It saddens me to read this. And yet, it further proves the negative influence the media has not only on our children, but the parents as well. I love your blog! Being a Los Angeles native now living in the Bay Area, blogs like yours keeps me connected in a unique way. It's interesting to see how others view the city.
Chas said…
Where have we gone wrong as a society? Love and compassion have firmly been relegated to the backseat behind image and status. The only things that matter today are things you can see on the outside- looks, bling, cars, etc. If it can't be commodified and sold then its not worth a hill of beans to Americans. Thus you have parents like this with their screwed up priorities. Something has got to give.
Jameil said…
girl i just posted about that. TIRING ME!! there are no steve and barrys here but there are some in norfolk and i'll go hit them up. they opened when i was in college. that's the only reason i'd heard of them. bitten has been in EVERY mag.
That is so abusive. I wish it were possible to (a) smack the mother and (b) take the daughter aside and tell her what you have said here.

When I was 15, I had a friend whose mother was an anorexic face-lifted rodent, while my friend, who took after her father, was big-boned, not fat, just healthy-looking.

Her mother never stopped putting her down for her "hugeness" and kept sending her discards from her own designer wardrobe - in size 2.

I guess there will always be parents who eat their young.
The cure now is NOT to mind you own business. I've learned that unless you're in West Philly or Anacostia or anywhere in Baltimore, no one's going to shoot you and many people need a dose of shame--in public. Whether it be a woman in the posh shop or some idiot acting ghetto
Anonymous said…
interesting... there are no steve and barry locations in chicago. they're all out in farmville... closest one to the city seems to be joliet or naperville.

Liz Dwyer said…
Hi Everyone, I just got back from a wonderful and whirlwind day in Minneapolis. I forgot how humid it is there! Before I go collapse in my bed, let me respond to y'alls comments.

You spelled "tanorexic" correctly. I wonder if that's a regional term...combo of tanning both addict and anorexic. That mom should be ashamed of herself. But, today, I got to thinking and I wondered if I haven't been in a dressing room, trying something on and thought similar things in my head. Hmm.

So glad you left your comment. You made me think about how my boys actually like to step on the scale to see if they weigh more than they did the previous day. When they do, they're excited because it means they're turning into "big boys". I don't think we see a girl's weight going up in the same positive way.

That's really cruel of him to tell her that. How old is he? (Trying to get attention?) What does his dad say? You make me think about how much responsibility fathers, and men in general, have in ending this kind of madness. We do have such extremes in our culture. Eat all we want but stay rail thin. It is hard to find a moderate, healthy balance. But, I think it can be done.

Welcome and thanks for sharing your thoughts! Parents, particularly mothers, have such a huge influence being the first educators of their children. It's such a weighty responsibility to filter out all the negative influence around. And, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog...I feel like I know so many folks who are migrating up to the Bay Area. Do you miss LA?

Where have we gone wrong? Such a big question. Gosh, no tech-house radio stations is a starter. Fix that small problem and world peace could happen... :) Ok, in all seriousness, we are the ultimate materialists, seeing everyone as a commodity. We both know so many "skinny" folks that can't run a mile to save their life but you know they think they look good. Sigh.

I just read the latest Elle on the plane and SJP is on the cover and wearing some of the Bitten clothes in the photoshoot. Cute stuff but again, the sizing is a little hard to figure out. (At least for this booty it was!)

I wish I knew how to work the videocamera on my phone so I could have at least picked up the audio and posted it on YouTube or something. I felt humiliated just hearing it and it wasn't even being said about me, at least not directly. Indirectly though, it was being said about me because it was her indictment of someone like myself, someone who is neither a size four nor a six.

Your friend's mom...that's so cruel. It makes you wonder who hurt the mom so much that she ended up projecting that kind of cruelty back onto your friend.

I hear you. But, it only takes one crazy fool to decide to shoot me or stalk me to my house and burn it down. (I know, I have an overactive imagination.) Then again, we did have that rash of freeway shootings out here last year so you never know. Folks out here are crazy. And the more normal they seem, the crazier they probably are. There are so many crystal meth addicted/coked out people that half the time you don't know what somebody's going to do.

Joliet? Naperville? What??? Nothing out at Old Orchard yet? Nowhere downtown or even in the whole Northside? What is the world coming to!?!
Anonymous said…
I was at S & B's this weekend for the first time. My wife bought a tiny bitten skirt for $10 and I made a mental note to come back for some $13 pants... I hope that the girl can look at herself and know that she's ok the way she is. In order to survive in this world you have to develop your own sense of self worth early on, or you're doomed to a life of self-inflicted misery. Hopefully she has a daddy that tells her she's beautiful!
Liz Dwyer said…
I got a $10 skirt as well! And, I still like it two days later. I've decided that my husband should get all his casual clothes there from now on. He's losing his skepticism now that he's seeing how cute the $14 jeans I have are.

I also hope that girl has a sane father. I figure there must be someone in her life telling her positive things because I didn't hear her verbally agreeing with the mother. She wasn't one of those teens asking for the nose job and liposuction, thank goodness.
1969 said…
Absolutley horrible. That mother needs an azz whooping. Nothing like hearing a "you're not good enough" message from your own mother. **sigh**
Liz Dwyer said…
I agree...there are moments when I find myself thinking, "Shoe, belt, switch...or extension cord." That mom definitely earned herself an extension cord whooping.
LihuaEmilyP said…
I am not unsurprised but I am nauseated.

Truth be told, even five feet tall is fine for a size eight - we shorties (with me at not quite five two) have to buy petite clothing.

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