Clothing conundrum- I have no idea what size I am!

It surely can't just be me who has no idea of my size.  I think it's a combination of factors from self-image to dodgy sizing by manufacturers which mean I much prefer shopping for clothing for anyone but myself!

madmumof7 trying on clothes despite body image issues
Trying a jumper on.....
 Yesterday I went out with my friend who was shopping for an outfit for a Christmas party. I know her, and her wardrobe very well so had no trouble and lots of fun picking things up and knowing whether they would suit her taste, her body shape and the occasion. I didn't look at the size - in my experience that's a load of rubbish anyway depending on what shop or manufacturer added the label.

I easily picked out a dress for each of my daughters. One said age 5 but fit my 8 year old like a glove. The other said 12-13 but I knew it would fit my skinny 14 year old.

In one well known High Street store known for its bargain prices I can be anything from a size 6 to a size 20. And sadly but predictably I feel happier buying the things which have a size 6 label sewn in even when its blatantly obvious they are the same size as a 10/12 in another shop.

Luckily I buy a lot in charity shops where a lot of people donate because the size 12 they bought without trying on turns out to be a completely different size. Yesterday I bought two jumpers in a charity shop - one a 10, one a 14 - both the same size really. You can see me modelling one in the pictures. Is it the 10 or the 14? My friend took photos so I could see whether the jumpers fit - I don't trust mirrors!

I have an odd body shape - typical diabetic barrel shaped with skinny legs and arms and a big round stomach which makes me permanently look heavily pregnant. This makes shopping awkward.  I am very aware of the tummy and avoid clingy things when I can. Although after a carb lunch and a can of Coke Zero even the loose fitting tops become clingy!

I have no arse and thanks to a good surgeon, average sized boobs (after cutting down the JJ's which gave me migraine, back and neck ache)

I buy knickers in a size 6-8, jeans range from 6-14 depending on style, tops from 10-18. Dresses - small to large, coats aged 15 to size 18. Only my shoes remain a fairly constant size 5 which is why I have so many because they are easy to buy!
madmumof7 in Salvation Army charity shop
Does my tum look big in this....

In my dreams I am an average sized blonde, petite even at 5ft 3inches. I imagine myself a little like the blonde woman in flowing white clothes from the shampoo adverts. Only shorter.

On my iPhone BMI app I am not overweight. OK at the top end of the "right" weight at 24.4 but still a healthy weight according to the NHS calculator.

In the mirror generally I am obese with all my faults magnified - knobbly knees, flat bum, giant belly, double chins..... we all have those mirrors at home don't we?  I hear myself asking - do I look fat in this?

My husband is a star - always complementary, always telling me I am beautiful. I love him for his caring dishonesty.

I once asked him how he would describe me if he didn't know me. Y'know, if he'd seen me in a pub and wanted to tell his friends. Blonde. Short. Those are easy. Average sized? skinny, fat, chubby? I have no idea! He tactfully changed the subject!

I sound like I think about this a lot - I don't. Well, not so much any more anyway. My youthful insecurities have been replaced by a general contentment. I'm 45 and I've had 7 kids - I could look a lot worse! Maybe it's because Christmas is approaching where you tend to buy a new outfit or two for parties. Looking at clothes wondering what size I am.........