Michelle Elman was initially surprised a size 14 dress she wore three years ago still fit.
Last week, the 23-year-old size 20 blogger posted side-by-side photos of herself wearing the same size 14 dress from two different years. Although her weight differed in the photos, she wanted to make one point clear: numbers don’t mean anything.
“I was going through old photos and I found the photo of me in the same dress [in 2012],” she tells Global News. “I remembered I had just been crying before that photo was taken and found it ironic that people would assume I was happier because I was thinner.”
Her Instagram post, which has now gone viral, shows the body confidence coach based in London, England, wearing the same dress as a size 12 and a size 20.
“A higher dress size doesn’t mean: you are less beautiful … you are less worthy,” she continued. “AND it doesn’t even mean you have a bigger body. You could go up a dress size by simply changing stores… (or countries). You can change dress sizes because of the time of the day or simply due to whether you are on your period or not.”
With over 8,000 likes, Elman adds her Instagram page, in general, is quite positive when it comes to body acceptance.
“I was expecting a positive response but not such a large one. It was one of the highest responses I had gotten until I posted another photo in response to this one and that had twice as many,” she says.
The second photo, which she posted two days later, includes two photos of herself flaunting her current size. The post also included some of the comments she received on her first set of photos, one of them including, “you look good for a size 20.”
“I wanted to do a follow-up post because telling me that, ‘I didn’t look like a size 20,’ isn’t a compliment. Looking thinner isn’t my life goal or the purpose of any of my posts, I am happy with my body as a size 20.”
Learning how to love your body
However, Elman says when she was younger, she did believe being a smaller dress size equalled happiness.
“I also believed that dress size correlated to beauty, which it really doesn’t,” she says.
Numbers shouldn’t matter
There have been countless examples of how inconsistent sizes can be when you go from store to store, Bustle reports, and in the industry, there are almost no regulations for sizing.
And for the most part, the site notes, a majority of apparel is made overseas and large brands don’t design clothes in house.
Writer Nada Farhoud, who did her own experiment on sizing for the Mirror in March, found most major U.K. brands were not consistent when it came to sizes for tops, dresses and pants. In fact, she was able to fit both a size eight and a size 14.
Elman adds, at the end of the day it’s important to be comfortable in the skin you’re in.