Well, when I was a lot smaller than now, I still wore an XL in some things. It all depends on the cut. Was she maybe more broad shouldered than you?
My coworker and I weigh the same, have the same height, but it's obvious when you look at us we have different bone structure.
That being said, I know what you mean. When I had gotten down to 180 before, I was a size 8/10 and when my "normal" sized friends asked to exchange clothes, I was always like, ha, my stuff would swallow you. It was hard to see myself as smaller and I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I never saw that change in the mirror.
Maybe you just get used to seeing yourself a certain way and it takes a different perspective to snap out of it. I can attest to that. At 180 I still thought I looked 220. I knew I didn't really, but that mental image was hard to put away.
I don't even know what normal size is really. I have a size I want to be. I was happy in a size 10. I felt confident and ecstatic, but a lot of people would say a size 10 is far from normal. I don't even think if I get back to 180 I'll be a size 10 again. For some reason, I've shrank 2 inches in five years.
On the opposite spectrum, my cousin has an overactive metabolism and she weighs 110 lbs at 6 feet, after 3 kids. And the girl eats. The girl eats more than I do! I hated shopping with her and she always underestimated my size. Of course, I guess she wasn't at a normal size either since she wore a 0.
It's an interesting conundrum. I've always been overweight, that 8/10 was the smallest size I've ever seen. At the time, I still thought I looked horrible, but looking back at pictures now, I can't believe I was ever that small. Hopefully, I'll get to have a repeat.
Grats on the L fitting btw.