It must have been a rather vindictive male who created the clothing size system for women in France. The North American system is so much kinder when we can start with a size 4 rather than a size 36 which is the French equivalent. Many of us aren’t size 4 and the size of thesedouble digits quickly increase.
However, as you can see on the chart below, the French cap the largest size at size 44 which is equivalent to our size 12! In fact, Susie Gershman in her memoir C’est La Vie mentions that “stores got much more stock in sizes 38 and 40, but few pieces in the larger sizes. In fact, they might have only one size 46 and when it was gone, it was gone.” She also explains that if there is an occasional larger size, they have been bought from Italy.
This author further explains, “Although a size 46 is not really the equivalent of an America 16 (it’s closer to a 14), like the size 16 in the United States, it is the end of the line.”
She had a rather embarrassing situation when she was in a store and asked the sales lady if she had an item in a size 46 or 48. “Her eyes grew wide and she truly gasped aloud. “Mon dieu, madame!” she murmured, too horrified to hide her reaction.”
It is already difficult being bombarded by the media to convince us that we need to be thin. What would it be like to live in a society that is so openly opposed to women carrying extra weight on them? Oddly, It actually appears that this attitude helps the French women to control their weight.
These past two years I have been struggling with weight gain ever since I had a hysterectomy. However, as a size 12 in Canada, I am not regarded as overweight. Is that because we can quite easily buy clothing in much larger sizes? Having this variety of sizes may be altering our perception of our actual size. In France, I would see that I am on the “last” size available to purchase clothing made in France! Apparently, the next book I need to read is French Women Don’t Get Fat!!