The Spandex dilemma: Does size still matter?

In today’s fashion landscape, one may wonder if size truly matters anymore. With the prevalence of spandex in clothing, determining one’s actual size has become a challenging feat. The question arises: what role does spandex play in the ongoing obesity crisis? Does it hinder our ability to make informed choices about our weight and health?

Consider this scenario: you weigh 130 lbs., but the pants you wear contain 2 percent spandex. Does this translate to a 2.6 lb. weight gain when the pants stretch and no longer fit? If the spandex content increases to 5 percent, does your perceived weight gain jump to 6.5 lbs.? And what about yoga pants, boasting 10 to 15 percent spandex – do they imply a potential 19.5 lb. gain when stretched to their limits?

Concerns extend to the next generation as well. Are our children’s futures compromised by spandex-infused clothing, contributing to childhood obesity and diabetes? Many toddlers no longer fit into size 3 or 4, regardless of what labels suggest.

This issue hits close to home for me. I face difficulty finding non-spandex, 100 percent cotton or linen pants, an immediate concern. In my youth, an eating disorder led to significant health problems. To combat this, I adopted a healthier lifestyle, prioritizing nutritious foods, daily moderate exercise, and a focus on clothing fit rather than the scale. This approach enabled me to make conscious choices about my size, reducing the shock of unexpected weight gain.

For instance, after two pregnancies, I realized it was healthier for me to be a size 8 rather than clinging to a size 7. This adjustment allowed me to avoid drastic dietary changes. However, a trip-induced surprise made me scrutinize clothing labels when I discovered 2 percent spandex in my jeans. In response, I modified my diet and exercise routine until my pants fit comfortably. Since then, I’ve been diligent about avoiding spandex-infused clothes and have successfully maintained a size 8 at the age of 62.

Now, my concern revolves around finding spandex-free clothing options. Multiple trips to stores, both physical and online, have left me disheartened – women’s and men’s pants alike feature spandex and elastic waists. I worry about maintaining a healthy weight without stepping on the scale, given my past control issues.

In an era dominated by spandex, the dilemma remains: Does size still matter? As we navigate these clothing choices, it’s essential to prioritize health and well-being, finding alternative methods to monitor our bodies without sacrificing confidence and control.

Janet L. Cray is a patient advocate.


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