If your closet is anything like mine, you have clothes of all different sizes. I've got smalls, mediums, larges, extra larges, etc. And although my sizing exists on a spectrum, I am almost always a 12 or 14.
The funny thing is, if I fit into a piece of clothing or need to size down to a size below these numbers, I instantly feel happy and proud of myself. If I have to size up, I feel less than, and often times ashamed. For the longest time I would refuse to size up out of pride. Even if the smaller size didn't fit well, I'd convince myself that I was going to "loose the weight" to fit into said item (this is the WORST). And if I did muster up the courage to buy the larger size, I'd cut the tags off, and feel disgusted with myself every time I wore the piece (I even did this when my size range was between size 7-9 back in college).
About 6 months ago I purchased a size 14 top, and it was too small. When I realized it didn't fit, I nearly broke down into tears. I felt so humiliated. I knew that if I wanted the shirt to fit I would need to order a size 16, and I refused to do that because that would be "accepting" that I was a size 16 (this is what I call size-up scaries).
The opposite happened when I tried on this blue gingham dress. I ordered a size 12 Tall, and it was HUGE. I found myself getting really happy and excited that I needed to exchange the dress for 1 or 2 sizes down....but why? I hadn't lost any weight (I've actually gained a few lbs lately due to non-stop vacations and treat-yoself days, whatever). I hadn't accomplished some big feat or changed the world...I just happened to need a smaller dress size.
So it got me thinking, why do we let something as small as a number on a tag effect us so much?