I’m not beyond admitting that I’ve tacked on a pound or two. Age, menopause, and a relaxed lifestyle have conspired with gravity to humiliate me….but I can’t discount the role spandex has played in this.

I remember watching old shows on television and loving the 50’s styles. Full skirts with crinolines, pencil skirts with high heels, and slim leg pants! They looked so feminine, so I was thrilled when several years ago these fashions reappeared. (everything really is a cycle)

I was excited to go shopping…ok, I’m always excited to go shopping, it’s my ‘thing’ (much to my husbands chagrin) but this time I was really excited because I could now wear the fashions I’d adored.    Or so I thought…..

Time changes everything…..who knew that time would make me well, ‘insulated’?

First thing I tried on was a pencil skirt.  I took a few sizes into the fitting room. I may not fit in to a size 6 anymore but mercifully most fabrics are now blended with some form of spandex for those of us who need ‘forgiveness’.  The first 2 sizes barely made it past my knees so I rifled past the next couple of skirts and grabbed the biggest size. It fit! Ok, I had to do some major yanking to get it there, thanks to the flexibility of spandex, but it fit. (I won’t disclose the size) I tucked in my shirt, smoothed out the skirt and secured a leather belt around my waist, then faced the mirror. I looked like a knockwurst with a rubber band around my middle. I don’t understand it! This style looked fabulous forty years ago – it was a classic – what happened? I look at the label in one of the skirts and note that that it’s a blend of fibers with only 5% spandex. Ok, there’s the problem

I peel off the skirt, pull on my leggings and leave the fitting room, morosely handing my selection of skirts to the attendant (a sixteenish, size 0,,, really?) who smiles and cheerfully asks if any were the ‘one’. I shake my head no (knockwurst can’t speak) and trudge back into the store.

As I rifle through the racks of clothing (I feel it’s my responsibility to buy something,,,,,my husband will wonder what’s wrong if I don’t) I find myself constantly coming back to my old favourites, leggings. Out of curiosity I reach inside a pair to read the label; 70% nylon and 30 % spandex. Ok, it’s not me, it’s the spandex! Those skirts didn’t have enough spandex. (someone should complain to the manufacturer – this is misleading)

As I continue to scour the racks for anything interesting a nagging thought keeps coming to me. When did I last try on my jeans, my NON SPANDEX jeans, the regular kind. I can’t remember. I do remember that sense of relief when I pulled on my first pair of spandex leggings though – I remember I could breathe for the first time in a long time. I left the store and drove home, determined to face my demon.  After parking the car, I put away my purchases (yes, I did manage to find something to buy, after all) then headed for my closet. It took some rifling but I finally found my old blue jeans. (why did I keep them?) I peeled off my leggings and pulled on the old jeans (God, I’d forgotten how stiff denim was) but they only made it part way up my thighs. I faced the mirror, and in doing so faced the truth…..spandex had tricked me into a false sense of security! All these years I was so sure my figure hadn’t changed…..the leggings slid on without effort, but the reality was I had changed, and spandex (now my nemesis) had camouflaged my expansion! I felt betrayed.

The reality is society is growing and manufacturers are clever enough to know how to keep up with our girth. Lycra in our socks and underwear, and spandex in pretty much everything else ensures a comfy fit, but where does it end? If we keep this up how big can we get (how stretchy is this stuff anyway?) before we explode into a big lycra/spandex mess?

I, for one, move for warning labels in all clothing containing any form of elastic. It used to be that we knew we were gaining weight by the ‘fit’ of our clothes but clearly that’s no longer the case. Clothing manufacturers have conspired against us to ensure we keep purchasing. Spandex is a killer – spread the word.

full figure

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