living in a world of small (and I mean small) sizes

living in a world of small (and I mean small) sizes

One of my biggest frustrations living here continues to be the lack of big sizes, and by big, I mean shoes larger than a size 5 and pants and shirts to match. Living in Mexico has been a challenge in many ways, one of which are the clothing sizes.

From what I see on social media, I’m not alone. It is a problem for a majority of folks who arrive here without giving a second thought to buying clothing locally. A large portion of the Mexican population are small, small defined as under 5’ 5”.

That makes buying pants very challenging. Since they are short, finding a pair of shoes larger than a size 6 is also enough to make you want to pull your hair. Another thing you will find here is the tops, for both men and women, are exceptionally large even when the tag reads “c” (chica for small).

That’s because most of the people are disproportionate with short, overweight bodies. Remember a few years back, Mexico took the US’s first place for obesity. What we have here is a large population of short overweight people who all wear size 5 shoes. Yes, that goes for most of the men too.

For the rest of us, the tall average-built Mexicans and us foreigners who haven’t been a size 5 since we were five, we’re out of luck. Unless you live in a large metropolitan place like Mexico City, shopping locally can be frustrating, especially if you’re shopping for shoes.

If you’ve yet to move to Mexico, I would suggest reevaluating your “to go” pile of clothing. Bring the things you treasure most and will wear the most, then buy a backup pair to bring with. You won’t regret it. You can also buy what we refer to as “normal” size clothing items online. That has been my godsend emotional savior here, learning to shop online.

Here, a store that has tallas extras (large or plus sizes)

As the years have past and more and more international people arrive in the country, many shops have begun to stock larger sizes. In the past few years, I’ve been able to walk in and buy a pair of shoes off the shelf — I’m a size 8 shoe and 9 boot by the way — but that does not happen often.

The reason is because although they stock bigger sizes, they may only order 10 pair of size 8 shoes and 1,000 pair of the size 5, because let’s be honest, they know those will sell. On the other side of the same coin, on several occasions, spontaneous window shopping turned out to be a goldmine.

There have been times when I’ve walked past a shoe store to see sale signs. Inside, the sale is on the irregular sizes (that would be the sizes you and I wear), the large sizes of 7 and up and the discounts are steep. I remember once walking out of a shoe store with five new pair of shoes for just over 900 peso!