Talk about confusing and stressful!!

Okay so this is a slightly 'delicate' matter and it's more for the American ladies who I am hoping can help me?

I went shopping for new knickers (underwear) whilst in the city and decided Kohls would have a good selection. So off I trotted into the ladies underwear department, confident I could find what I needed in 10 minutes maximum.

Well first of all they had a sale on, so needless to say it was all jumbled up on the racks. But the real problems began when I started to look closely at the sizing! All I could see were sizes 2 through 9 and so there I was standing scratching my head thinking 'Is this the skinny womans underwear only and if so where's are the undies for the big butted girls'!?

Well I couldn't see any staff to help me, there didn't seem to be a plus size area and so I started holding some up for comparison. It really didn't help and just confused me more as a 9 looked pretty big to me. So finally I approached a lady and her daughter, explained I was British and asked her what the sizing mean't in relation to normal clothing sizes?

She did a fair job of explaining and so I just took 3 different sizes into the changing room and checked, until I found my size! By now 30 minutes have passed and the Hubster calls me to see where I am. I naturally being British and pretty stressed by now, tell him I am in the fitting room by the ladies pants (because that means knickers to us!), of course this means he goes to the wrong place!

So I come back out needing him to hold some other shopping for me, whilst I try to find the style and size I need in the completely mixed up sale racks. There I am balancing other things, trying to wade through racks and cussing the Hubster vehemently under my breath!

Finally he shows up, at which point we have a whispered heated exchange as to what 'pants' means to us both. He helps me find what I need and we are out of there...FINALLY after about 40 minutes!

So I have to ask....why is the sizing of knickers in stores like Victoria's Secret and other Mall stores the same as clothing (10/12, 14/16 etc) and what the heck is going on with brands like Warners, Vanity Fair and Jockey?!?

Does anyone know how you translate from one to the other?

I tell you ladies, I was wishing dearly for the sanity and organisation of Marks & Spencers knicker department....it was all way too stressful!


Brad said...

There's not only a difference in meaning between Brits and Americans, there's also the difference between wives and husbands!

Mary said...

Sarah, I have no idea why there is no 'one way' of sizing knickers in the US. If you've had good luck at Vickies, though, I'd just order online. Or you could email Jockey and ask about their sizing system. You did have be chuckling about the 'pants misunderstanding'.

Anonymous said...

I dearly hate shopping for underwear. I've been American since birth and it confuses me too, so don't feel too flustered. You met me in person, and I can tell you that at Victoria's Secret I wear XL.

Now to add further to your confusion, underwear sizes don't always equal pants and skirts sizes. Knickers sizes usually have smaller sized numbers than you think they'll be.

At Kohl's, I shopped for knickers not too long ago and I found that most of mine are XL/8 size. HOWEVER - I wear a 12-14 size in pants and skirts. So there you have it. I'm still confused too. LOL

We make absolutely no sense here in the US with most other things so why make sense when it comes to knickers?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I still buy my knicks at M&S. I buy online with my US credit card, ship to my mum's and see sends them on. I'm the same with tights, M&S multi-packs, because they are better quality for the price and there is NO WAY I am using the word 'pantyhose' ;-)

Sherri said...

Sarah, I hope you don't get mad but you had me in stitches!! I have lived all my life in the US and I too have never really understood the sizing of knickers! I usually get knickers that fit and stick with that brand! Good luck-sorry it took you so long to find knickers and the heated conversation with your hubster!

Almost American said...

It doesn't matter what I'm buying - shoes, tights, undies, bras, other clothing items - I never trust the marked sizes. When I finally had to buy underwear here in the US instead of from M&S, I looked for multi-packs that have the translation into inches on them. I know how (hugely) large my hips are in inches, and simply look for underwear that claim they will accomodate my ample behind. I'm happy to be a size 7 in undies right now - sounds so much better than the size 12 or 14 jeans I wear!

I finally got used to buying tights here too. (After 23 years, I would hope so!) I still stock up in the UK, but always at M&S not Ethel Austin although my mother loves their prices. Cheap is cheap!

BTW, much as I love Kohls, I hate them. The store near me is an organizational disaster!

Expatmum said...

I am probably in agreement with Karla - I wear a 6 or 7 (knickers) here and am a size 8 or 10 (usually a 10 on top) in the US. However, the fit is not uniform so I have about 25 pairs in my drawer that I'm not too happy with.

BritGal' Sarah said...

I had my Sorority meeting tonight and I also recounted my knicker shopping hell to them. This resulted in a lengthy discussion and much hilarity about it too!

Then we got on to thongs and that was a whole other hilarious conversation! ;-)

pamokc said...

Here's my rule of thumb:
size 5-6 = smallish
size 6-7 = mediumish
size 8-9 = largish
size 9 = extra largish

and it all depends on the buttage factor and how much you want it covered as well! because all makes will be different. like a 36DD bra by one maker fits different than one by another! grrrr.

this is a good subject for your differences in language and the confusion it causes!

knickers (to us) are those crazy golf pants that stop at the knee (i think you call them plus fours)

pants (to us) are any slacks or trousers, but never underwear. why we call them panties, i don't know, but there is a total difference between panties and pants. two different things.

and tights are not pantyhose here either, as i'm sure you've figured that one out. tights are the thicker variety, as opposed to panty hose, which are ever so similar!

i hope your husband didn't have his knickers in a twist! because we would say it as having your panties in a wad!

pamokc said...

and awww, i just noticed you changed your pic! what a wonderful couple, they are EVER so lovely.

BritGal' Sarah said...

Woohoo Pam - I know have a mediumish butt...LOL! Urgh panties in a wad!! GROSS...LMAO

And btw the same goes for you & John, lovely couple too :-)

Janet said...

I've really gotten a big laugh over this one.

Of course, I'm having the reverse problem. Never in my wildest dreams did I EVER think I'd be buying something called "knickers"!!! I've lived here over 5 years now and FINALLY gave up and bought some UK "pants" a few weeks ago -- up 'til now, I'd been back in the States or in Canada often enough to buy them while I was in North America.

The American sizing IS weird, isn't it, but I guess it's something we Yanks have become used to!